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The Couch to Fitness group supports people completing the home fitness programme from Our Parks.
The Couch to Fitness group supports people completing the home fitness programme from Our Parks.

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How Facebook Groups have provided much-needed support during lockdown

Digital Marketing Lead Chris Norfield looks at the power of Facebook Groups in providing much-needed connections, support, motivation and prompts for Londoners looking to be more active.  

National lockdowns, regional tiered-restrictions and regularly changing covid-19 guidance have all had a significant impact on how activity deliverers can support people enjoy an active lifestyle.

With in-person delivery stopped or limited in some way, many deliverers have had to find new ways to support their users begin their journey towards greater levels of activity. 

And whilst shifting to delivering activities online can enable people to still access opportunities, we know that people are missing out on important factors like connection with others, peer support, and ongoing motivation and prompts.

These are all vital ingredients in the journey that helps people change their existing behaviours in a positive way.

One way to provide this much-needed support to users, which is proving increasingly popular, is through Facebook Groups which can facilitate peer-to-peer interaction and create space for inspiring user-generated content and peer support.

It is the interactive behaviour that makes Groups such a good option for supporting people who are wanting to become more active, and a single, united purpose shared by all members is vital.

Groups are slightly, but importantly, different to the more traditional Facebook Pages which are typically one-way traffic from an organiser. 

Throughout 2020, we've seen and supported some really good examples where community organisations have used Facebook Groups to support people be more active. 

Here's a few that have stood out to me:

RED January Community 

Now several years old the RED community is a key element of the RED January programme

It's more than just a place to talk about the different activities people are doing, it's become a year round mental health support network for its users.


Couch to 5K UK

The Couch to 5K UK Facebook Group was created in 2019 by amateur runner Sian Gomersall and two friends who had met in another running Group. 

They decided to create a dedicated UK Group for Couch to 5K participants to post about their running journeys and support each other.

As more people tried the Couch to 5K programme during lockdown the Group grew rapidly to 23,000 members. It aims to help support people through the Couch to 5K programme as well as being a place they can continue their running journeys after they graduate.

Sian feels that Facebook works well as a place to create supportive communities as it is easy to invite friends and members can keep up-to-date with the Group via their usual Facebook scrolling.


Couch to Fitness 

The Couch to Fitness group supports people who are taking part in the nine-week at home fitness programme from Our Parks.

More than 5,500 people have joined to share their progress and support others. 

Our Parks instructors regularly host live Q&As and workouts exclusively for group members.


Make Movement Your Mission 

When the first national lockdown was announced exercise training providers Later Life Training took the opportunity to create a Facebook Group providing thrice daily live videos encouraging their users to move more frequently. 

The MMYM Group now boasts over 3,000 members taking part in the 20 minute “Movement Snacks” delivered by Later Life trainers.

The aim was to motivate older people to move more, move better and move more often to benefit their muscles, mind and wellbeing.


Let’s Move (Versus Arthritis) 

Regular features include live Question and Answer sessions with instructor Leon (and his mum!), Versus Arthritis launched the Let’s Move group to support people taking part in their 12 week programme Let's Move with Leon.



To learn more about London Sport's support for deliverers using Facebook Groups and our Digital Behaviour Change work click here.

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London Sport aims to make London the most physically active city in the world.

About London Sport

London Sport aims to make London the most physically active city in the world. Supported by the Mayor of London and Sport England, our target is to get Londoners more physically active.

For more information on London Sport, visit www.londonsport.org

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