ADVENTURER Phileas Fogg went around the world in 80 days but participants in a new fun, physical activity challenge can travel round the United Kingdom in only 20 weeks – all without leaving Royton.
The initiative is funded by Mencap, a charity supporting people with learning disabilities.
It is being delivered locally by KeyRing, a national organisation, with a branch in Oldham, supporting people to live independently in England and Wales.
Leanne Saville is a community support worker for KeyRing and also a qualified personal trainer.
With support from Royton Fitness on Union Street and other health professionals, she is taking adults with learning disabilities and mental health issues on Mencap’s three-stage Round the World Challenge, initially with the UK leg.
“We are trying to get as many people as possible into physical activity and a lot of work is being done around health and well-being,” says Royton-born Leanne.
“The project runs for two years but initially people sign up for 20 weeks.
“They get a passport and a t-shirt and are encouraged to do an hour’s activity every week.
“There’s circuit training, boxing and yoga classes, stretching and relaxation.
“Some have expressed an interest in going to the baths and when it’s nicer weather we can do more outdoor activities.
“An hour’s activity equates to so many miles and people are encouraged to work their way round the UK. Every place they reach they get a postcard.
“The project is set up to go around Europe and the world but initially we are doing the 20-week course for the UK.
“We know some people might not be able to commit to an hour a week; it could be half an hour or an hour a fortnight.”
About 30 people have already signed up for an open day and taster sessions on Wednesday, June 26 from 11am.
A learning disability is a reduced intellectual ability and difficulty with everyday activities – for example household tasks, socialising or managing money – which affects someone for their whole life.
People with a learning disability tend to take longer to learn and may need support to develop new skills, understand complicated information and interact with other people.
People with certain specific conditions can have a learning disability too. For example, people with Down’s syndrome and some people with autism have a learning disability.
• Find out more about Pennine Mencap on their website: www.penninemencap.org