Business Wise – On Exercise

Knees up to Health and Wellbeing in business.


I attended a seminar at B.Braun Medical Ltd where I work managing their Employee Health and Wellbeing programme this week. The subject was Aesculap knee replacements and how technology is increasingly playing a role in a surgeon’s ability to ensure greater success through precision alignment.


It was fascinating. Working for a business that supplies such innovative products to the NHS it was just as interesting to hear about the role of exercise in rehabilitation. Equally so was the dispelling of myths such as  – ‘runners will be more prone to knee injury’.


In fact marathon runners and people that exercise provide themselves with a loading effect on the knee that helps sustain knee health and thus are less prone to knee problems overall. Of course as we age things wear out and that’s fact. But again regular exercise plays a key role in maintaining function of our bodies through our lifespan from the cardio system, muscles, bone strength and joints.


Our bodies, bones, tissues and muscle work in harmony to defy gravity and enable us to move. Our heart (a muscle), responds to physical activity adapting to the load we put on it. Our muscles adapt and increase in relation to our activity levels, weight training and the ‘loading effect’.

Indeed in Space, where gravity is nil, NASA conducted studies to try and maintain strength through exercising 5 hours a week in space but still saw up to a 32% decrease in peak power in the calf muscles. Wow.


This study is particularly interesting in relation to the older population in terms of how we lose strength (muscle atrophy), and indeed what might be the most effective exercise programmes to help maintain strength. Why? Independency, lower admission rate into hospitals and improving overall quality of life.

Back to the knee – post operation. Some trusts are using wearable devices to monitor patients with knee replacements to make sure they exercise. A successful outcome, as often described by B. Braun Medical is ‘ the forgotten joint’. In other words patients carry on as normal with the same functionality as a natural knee joint.

To ensure this outcome exercise plays a key role in loading the knee to ensure functionality. Not only that but confidence in the knee from the patient. We were designed to move. So exercise yet again comes up as the miracle drug.

Of course this is not forgetting the studies into exercise and positive mental health benefits, reducing type 2 diabetes, certain cancers, heart issues, obesity and the plethora of conditions and health problems we could reduce simply by moving. I have covered these in more depth in my previous blog posts.

Exercise therefore can play a vital role in business by creating a sustainable workforce, staff retention, decreased absences and accommodate an ageing workforce that is more than likely going to be in work longer. Reducing the wear and tear through inactivity, but providing a work environment that nurtures movement and promotes health is the same clinical method to managing pre and post operation patients. Whole health.


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So a healthy business needs a thriving workforce see –

Indeed a workforce that is adaptable, engaged, rewarded and provided with opportunities to move more will ensure business function and success. Just like the human body.

Employee Health and wellbeing (H&W) has undoubtedly gained momentum. No longer the elephant in the room, the monthly free fruit or odd exercise class thrown in, but now a function or dedicated role in Business with a pivotal part to play in responding to employees varying needs.

H&W links and transcends business functions. Human resources, Health and safety, pay and benefits, brand building, marketing and the emerging growth of CSR roles. The synergy is clear to see.

It’s a vehicle to aid communication, align departments in big business together or minimise employee absences in smaller businesses that can have huge effects on business operations. Its ‘ethical’ or ‘the right thing to do’ origins have been replaced by the business tangibles. Hard fact ill health costs. For instance mental health lone costs the economy a staggering £70 billion a year. (Source: Public Health England).


H&W is also dynamic and diverse. In the not too distant future workforce demographics will change. It won’t be uncommon to have a young apprentice working alongside a 70 year old. The workforce is an ageing population. How do we cater for the different needs of our employees? Or how do we ensure ‘active ageing’ to support people in work longer through H&W embedded in HR strategy and Occupational Health services.

Workplace environments will have to change, policy will need to be redefined and therefore embedding such things as a proactive H&W strategy now will save £££’s compared to a reactive approach. Physical activity and movement is a compelling business case in itself to manage and reduce risk across multiple factors including long term absences attributed to conditions related to inactivity.

See the workplace health video here

How do we do this? 10 minutes of movement (walking for example) in regular bouts to break up long sitting periods at the desk. Stair use instead of the lifts – active travel – cycle / walking to work where feasible. It fosters the culture that we need to create. See Public Health England’s active 10 campaign ACTIVE 10


With these changes comes opportunities and challenges. A one size fits all H&W approach isn’t the answer. A few sporadic health initiatives here and there are not enough to make a meaningful impact on the metrics used to evaluate its impact.

At Board level H&W is hard tangibles. What is the ROI / Business case and how does this work toward the corporate objectives and vision? This conjures a question. For H&W to even have a chance to succeed it must be at the very top level of an Organisation. It must be credible, recognised and feed into major business growth ambitions.

It is the same as someone going for a few walks to improve fitness levels every so often over a year. It’s not enough. To succeed in fitness the ‘exercise load’ needs to be consistent and regular. H&W strategy needs to be consistent and the load changed. Diversity, variety and underpinned by behavioural change methodology will help engagement.


H&W is no longer a nice to have, but a mechanism to drive growth through a sustainable workforce and influence policy to reflect the changing world around us. The Private sector is arguably better placed at this than the public sector, able to respond and drive innovation through its own product design that can translate to its own in house policy to foster healthy working practices at all levels.

The public sector is in some ways the vehicle that delivers the communication and evidence base for health and wellbeing very well – with little ambition internally of how it implements that agenda to its own workforce. That’s my own opinion. However its private business that has the ability to respond with practice and become a leader in the unprecedented growth of workplace health and wellbeing which increased movement plays a huge part in.



Andrew Picken

Health and Wellbeing Consultant

National Centre for Sports and Exercise Medicine (Sheffield)





Twitter: @AJPConsultant

Facebook: manbeast28 / Healthinbusiness28

Why gyms ‘MISS’ the bigger picture relating to population level health…..

To get with the Groove we need to move………


It could be argued that the sheer choice of gyms available now means that it’s much more accessible than a decade ago where gyms were for those ‘meat head types’. Whilst the market has grown and the number of gyms has driven down prices there is still a huge public health concern. Inactivity.

You see the gym is a good place. Cutting edge equipment, exercise variety, class motivation are just some of the reasons it works – to a degree. But it has also confused the message a little. If you want to exercise you need to pay for a gym, need equipment and the expense of clothing. You need to buy being healthy.



Then there’s the status of being a gym member. The product is the ‘gym’. Go to the gym and you mix in the ‘fittie’ circles. However there is a movement we tend to forget about. A movement that is probably the most natural form of exercise.


Something that seems that miniscule it doesn’t count, but it does and the accumulative total over a year is significant to good health. Public Health England’s ‘ACTIVE 10’ campaign aimed at those short 10 minute burst of movement is testament to this thinking. Big scale public health initiatives aimed at harnessing small changes to the way we live our lives. Sport England are on the case too with their ‘active nation’ agenda.


Not only that but a movement that if captured can make the transition into a mode of transport instead of the car for those short journeys. WALKING. I see countless people walking on a treadmill when it’s beautiful outside. Huh? Harness that 40 minutes on the treadmill into movement and you have gone well over 2 miles.

And not just inactivity per se. But the dosage throughout the day of physical activity is as important as just doing it. Gone are the days  when us ‘fitties’ could get up in the morning before work and grind out a 10k run or gym session and then sit on our backside all day revelling in the fact we had done our exercise.

Oh no. Because regular movement throughout the day is needed to negate the harmful effects of sitting too long which includes bad posture, decreasing concentration, poor circulation and negative effects on the heart. For most of us our working life consists of sitting down.


And let’s not overlook the mental health benefits too of moving outside. Another victory to walking over the gym. Being connected to the environment is part of our DNA our evolution.

In an employment sense regular movement could be part of the solution to tackling the 131 million days lost, or the £9 billion per year spent on sick pay and associated costs (source: Public Health England). MSK (musculoskeletal) and stress rank in the top 3 main causes for lost working days.


“The current scientific evidence shows that when people have occupations in which they are on their feet for more than two hours a day, there seems to be a reduction in the risk of developing key chronic diseases,” John Buckley, professor of applied exercise science at the University of Chester in England and the author of a report about reducing sedentary lifestyles, told the Wall Street Journal.

So this walking lark has an ability to reach far more people than the gym has. I contract with Living streets promoting walking in business and 90% of the reactions are positive. We have simply forgotten how to move. We don’t always need to pay to move. But on the whole people want to be more active. Doing it is the hard bit.



Our urban and rural environment have hills and steps that we can utilise whilst walking. We have designed gym equipment that replicates this in an artificial form – treadmills and staircase exercise machines. We buy ourselves a commodity that is free to use and is right on our doorstep.

To achieve population health movement needs to become as second nature as brushing your teeth. Ask this – why do people brush their teeth? Habit. Prevent decay. A ritual taught from our parents. Physical activity is that important it needs the same attention. We are not talking marathons and gyms here, we are talking habitual exercise.

brush teeth


Of course it’s far more complex than this – infrastructure, built environment, breaking habits, culture change, and multi sector buy in from Business to Local and Central Government. But we would be hard pressed not to ignore the basics, what we teach our children, encouraging movement throughout our social and professional networks. That way the way we approach ‘moving more’ becomes the new brush your teeth habit.


Andrew Picken

Health and Wellbeing Consultant

Contract with;

National Centre for Sports and Exercise Medicine (Sheffield)

B.Braun Medical ltd – Health and wellbeing consultant

Living Streets – Associate consultant – West Yorkshire business





Twitter: @AJPConsultant

Facebook: manbeast28 / Healthinbusiness28

Healthy workforce – Healthy business


It has always been a challenge to articulate the business case at board level for investment in employee Health and wellbeing programmes. Years ago it was an ‘add on’, a nice to have ‘accessory’ made up of discounted gym memberships and if you were lucky the odd exercise session after work thrown in.

Years ago work was by nature physical, even if the working conditions weren’t anywhere near as good as they are now. But as the nature of our work changes so does the business approach to Health and Wellbeing. With a history of little purpose or strategy the once health and wellbeing vision was held by a few enthusiastic employers putting on challenges and leisure opportunities for staff outside of work.



For a large majority of us we are sat down too much. We may drive to work, sit at our desk for 8 hours a day, and drive back. Physical activity has effectively been erased out of our lives. Our job doesn’t require it, our lack of time restricts it, and quite frankly it’s too tiring to think about.

Physical activity means gyms after all. Those artificial environments made up of vests, lycra and strange weight machines which for a lot of us just doesn’t appeal. Exercise is sweat, muscles, marathons and the unachievable. Quite the opposite physical activity is that regular movement throughout the day. Stairs, work and at home. Normal, non – threatening environments. That way physical activity becomes normal.

So Health and wellbeing to business is promoting and improving the physical and mental health of its workforce through creating a collective sense of doing something good. Physical environment and its effects on mood and mental health. Health initiatives that are fun and help absorb the pressures of work and personal lives. The benefits of physical activity and the by product: endorphins that improve mood and stabilise energy levels.

The recognition of personal pressures, family caring responsibilities, personal difficulties all have the potential to snowball and become harder to juggle with work. No one is immune.

But in today’s world Health and Wellbeing isn’t just a ‘nice to have’ in business It now transcends that many policy areas, meets multi departmental objectives and is a catalyst for transformational change it levers reach far further than that accessory tag it once held.



Let me explain. I sometimes like the analogy of business as an engine. Every component has a job to do that is interdependent on the next component. You need fuel as an energy source, a spark and oxygen to create a controlled explosion and compression. Of course there is a lot more to it but you get my point.

Business is the same. Timing, departmental processes, supply chain, procurement, front line service, sales, transaction and after sales. Like an engine the fuel of the business are the sales – input and output. Without fuel there is no energy. Without an engine there is no energy or movement. Employees are the engine of business.


Now without oil to lubricate all those components the engine will grind to a halt. It seizes. It has fuel (sales / product /) but the engine isn’t working in harmony. You have guessed it. Think of Health and wellbeing being the oil of your business. Keeping employees engaged, moving, synergy, and business processes acting out in a smooth and controlled way.


Away from this analogy the business case for an effective H&W Strategy is overwhelming. The NHS has been quite open that it has to get its own house in order in terms of addressing the major challenges of its own workforce in terms of absences. The NHS knows the direct correlation between a healthy force and the end product of quality patient care.


Kevin Fenton, Public Health England National Director for Health and Wellbeing is absolute in the need for public health approaches to be embedded in workplaces. MSK and mental health topping the chart as major workforce issues.



As the penny drops, H&W starts to influence other areas of the business, just like the oil in an engine circulating around the components keeping everything moving. Suddenly the Health and Safety (H&S) agenda is been contributed to by H&W. Encouraging employees to take breaks, giving opportunities for physical activity, creating a captive audience stimulates alertness and impacts on energy levels.

Concentration levels are improved, that lunch time walk could potentially help avoid the afternoon slump that may have resulted in a lack of concentration hence an accident operating a machine. All hypothetical. But scenarios that have historically played out. Suddenly H&W acts as a pro-active approach to H&S as well as opposed to stand alone reactive measures.



As the oil flows around the business it meets the HR Department. Engagement rates in its yearly programme of employee health initiatives contribute to the departments objectives. HR is now not seen as just time, motion, holidays and line management protocol but a diverse and energetic H&W programme has changed the perception of HR internally.

As H&W is the oil it gets to parts of the business other initiatives don’t. How? It’s approachable and fun. If it’s embraced at Director level it sucks in parts of the business other initiatives don’t. It brings external partners into the business that normal processes wouldn’t and allows the business brand to expand into industry circles it wouldn’t operate in during normal business operations. Contacts and networking = fuel (sales).

Then there is recognition. Pay and benefits, the Health and wellbeing Charter and of course Investors in people that H&W helps contribute to. Essentially it adds value across the business whilst making a meaningful impact on employees working lives and individual health outcomes.

Oh and let’s not forget the branding and marketing in a world of digital prowess and social media wonder. An engaged workforce is a happy workforce. May be a little cheesy, but when people feel their workplace offers something different they want to tell the world. It is in its most basic form the ultimate marketing machine. Its self-propelled and reaches audiences that would otherwise cost a huge amount in marketing expertise to reach.



In one workplace we have desk to 5 k run groups. A year ago colleagues used to look a little perplexed coming out of the office to see the car park been used up as a warm up area. Now they don’t bat an eye lid. It’s a culture shift. The H&W programme doesn’t force anyone to get involved but presents an opportunity. And colleagues inspire colleagues. Word of mouth is gospel.

Facebook and twitter go wild as the company is portrayed to the social media world as a great place to work. In social circles it prompts the question from family and friends ‘what does your company do’? The brand gets exposure. It attracts talent. The business becomes a desirable place to work.

I have had people new to the business comment ‘I noticed the run group last night, how do I get involved, I love how you all do this’? Or ‘I love the vibe here and how at my induction we were presented with an over view of all the things we can get involved in’.

In my line of work I have run groups, walking / steps challenges, weekend activity pursuits (low level), pool bikes, yoga, nutrition and resilience training. The H&W programme has its own branding. T-shirts, website logo and merchandise which contribute to its communication efforts. Of course not all business can afford to resource such things, but a H&W programme does not need to cost a lot.

Then there is the ‘working together component’ – synergy. A simple lunch time walking group. But so much more than just the benefit of movement away from long periods sat down. In a big business floor 1 meets floor 2 and so on. As an indirect benefit of H&W comes new friendships and rapport between business colleagues.


Oh, and may be a more obvious one Corporate Social Responsibility. Do not forget the content and individual stories generated from a successful H&W campaign which gives you a constant supply of PR and media friendly literature. Take your pick. Align H&W success with product launches, new services or to bolster your credibility in new areas of business. Even use it as a tool to negate negative media.

Embed yourself in your community where you are based and regionally be seen as the leader in your field – H&W helps achieve this. It is a talking point. Most important for those businesses operating in a predominately business to business environment with little front line customer / community involvement. If you product portfolio evolves into a more customer to customer focus H&W provides an existing platform for which to build n.

So as you can see H&W is far more than just an accessory to business, more a necessity. Of course there is a plethora of information online about ROI, Business case, Absenteeism and presenteeism reduction. I keep up to date with this but this article is more about the whole picture of Health and Wellbeing and its wider contribution to business.

Then there are the more obvious concerns affecting the Western World re diabetes type 2, obesity and CHD amongst others that are attributed to our sedentary lives. An ‘active’ workplace contributes to reducing these risks. H&W culture is ethical. Embedding a clear strategy, direction of travel and implementation will help toward achieving better health of people and ultimately business.


For support, strategy and delivery of Health and wellbeing and CSR for your business contact me.


Andrew Picken is a practicing Health and Wellbeing consultant for private sector business. With over 10 years in Public Health, change for life, the Sheffield wide initiative to become the most active City in the UK by 2020 and regional health programmes I bring credibility and a network of contacts to support H&W programmes in business or communities.

Preventing diabetes. Indivudal vs population based approaches – on emptying an ocean with a teaspoon

Sheffield DPH

PHE and SSHaRR have published the diabetes prevention programme return on investment tool. It’s fantastic. Really like it and good effort to them!

I ran the numbers for my patch –
I hope I have interpreted correctly….and I would be happy to be corrected, just what I had a look at whilst I was having a sandwich at lunch.

DPP and return on investment of services delivered individual by individual

Whilst I’ve suggested in these paramaters that the uptake is 32% of those offered and the DPP is 25% less efficacious than the DPP trials (NNT = 7 over 5yrs), I think that’s also highly optimistic……..

(I retain my concern about all the efficacy / effectiveness real world issues etc)

And before I get started on the very term pre diabetes – see here

So…. If I have interpreted rightly -

we will spend £170k in 1 (or…

View original post 646 more words




Sport England funding has changed tact. For those working in the sphere of grass roots sport development (County Sport Partnerships, National Governing Bodies etc), they now have a different audience to engage. A challenging one.

The audience is the type of people we need to engage in physical activity to change the tide of Western living that for some reason limits our capacity to move more. Indeed Sport England have been tasked with tackling the most inactive in society.

The call out is clear from SE. They want Cities, NGB’s and Organisations working in the field to bring forward projects and ideas –many untested, that have the potential to reach those that are most inactive.

Funding programmes set targets amongst participation in recreational sport (not just talent and skills based), but walking, running and cycling and many more outdoor activities.

SE also recognise the need to remove barriers to physical activity participation. ‘This girl can’ and campaigns to help resonate with people from all walks of life.

An interesting fund is the tackling inactivity round two due out in April.  It will support inactive people who have little income and are therefore economically disadvantaged. This group make up a third of the population in England aged 16 to 74 – 14.6 million people.



As with Active Ageing – which was the first round of the tackling inactivity fund – SE want to be innovative and test out bold ideas.

When they launch the fund, a prospectus will be published with all the information you’ll need and begin inviting applications, which will be assessed, before moving into a more formal stage two assessment.

As SE keep emphasising ‘bold’ in their approach and testing new Ideas, I suspect they will be open to working with non – traditional organisations who they haven’t worked with previously so keep up to date with SE announcements.



Fund: Tackling Inactivity and Economic Disadvantage

Value: £3 million National Lottery

Opening: mid-April 2017

Anticipated size of bids: £2m pot – up to a maximum of £500,000; £1m pot – a range from £10,000 to £100,000.

Full details and prospectus: mid-April 2017

Invitation for applications: mid-April 2017


For more funding information on funding streams across the UK Contact or follow this blog.


For Sport England specific funding contact them directly

2017 funding for sports, community and environment across UK


Andy Picken – Funding News 2017


 It’s a new year – new funding

To conduct a funding search use the £30 online facility I provide to tailor your results. You can do this here:

Below is a round – up of not for profit funding streams available. Follow the URL links to go to the website and view application criteria.


Awards for All

Gives groups grants of between £300 and £10,000 for projects which address the issues, needs and aspirations of local communities and people. They fund a wide range of community projects aimed at developing skills, improving health, revitalising the local environment and enabling people to become more active citizens.


Adint Charitable Trust

The Adint Charitable Trust makes grants of between £250 and £15,000 to registered charities for general charitable purposes, but has a preference for charities working in the fields of education, training, disability, sport and/or recreation.

The average grant award is around £7,000.

Previous awards indicate that charities with a regional or national remit or significance are more likely to receive funding.

The Trust does not maintain a website. Applications should be in writing to the address below and include full details of the charity for which funding is requested.

Requests are considered throughout the year at regular Trustees’ meetings. No acknowledgements are sent out to unsuccessful applicants.

Mr. Douglas Oram FIH MCIPS The Adint Charitable Trust Suite 512 517 Finchley Road London NW3 7BN E-mail:


Department of Transport – Inshore and Inland Rescue Boat

Grant Scheme

Water rescue charities around the UK have recently been awarded £913,000 byMaritime Minister.The grant supports charities running local lifeboat and rescue services, helping thosein danger on and around inland and inshore waterways, including during flooding The money can be used to buy new lifeboats and other equipment such as lifejackets and safety gear.


Macmillan Grants

These are small, mostly one-off payments to help people with costs caused by or related to their cancer.

Everyone’s practical needs are different, so grants are available for a variety of things. Whether you need extra clothing, help paying heating bills or even a relaxing break, you may be entitled to a Macmillan Grant.

How much you receive will vary depending on your circumstances and needs, but the average grant is around £400. A grant from Macmillan would not normally affect the benefits you’re entitled to. It’s an extra help, not a replacement for other forms of support.

Find out more here. Applications can be made at any time.

Tel: 0808 808 00 00 E-mail:


William and Jane Morris Fund

Grants are available for places of worship undertaking restoration projects in the UK.

Grants of between £500 and £3,000 are available. They are limited to churches, chapels and other places of worship in the United Kingdom. Only buildings or monuments erected before 1896 are eligible. Funding is available for smaller programmes of work concerned with the conservation

of decorative or non-structural features, for example stained glass windows, sculpture, furniture, monuments and tombs, and wall paintings.

The annual deadlines for applications are as follows:

31st March, for consideration in May

31st August, for consideration in NovemberTel: 020 7479 7080 E-mail:

Weaver’s Company Benevolent Fund

Grants are available for charities undertaking projects involving young people who are vulnerable or may become involved in crime in the UK.

The Fund aims to help young people at risk of criminal involvement to stay out of trouble and assist in the rehabilitation of offenders, particularly young offenders both in prison and after release.

The Fund has determined two priority groups to support:

 Disadvantaged young people

 Offenders and ex-offenders, particularly those under 30 years of age

The maximum grant is usually £15,000 per annum. Grants are awarded for up to three years.

Priority will be given to smaller organisations which offer direct services. Local organisations such as those working in a village, estate or small town should normally have an income of less than about £100,000. Those working across the UK should normally have an income of not more than about £250,000.


Bright Ideas Fund – Locality

The Community Business Bright Ideas Fund aims to give community groups the support and tools to start setting up their community business. It also aims to give groups the early stage finance needed to carry out consultation with local people and feasibility studies to develop a community business idea the community wants and needs.

A programme of support and grants of up to £20,000 is available to develop your community business idea.

Round 1 of the Bright Ideas Fund is now closed. Round 2 opens in April 2017.

Tel: 0300 020 1864


Westhill Endowment

Westhill provides financial investment and other resources to support religious education projects and faith-motivated activities that enable people to transform their lives and the life of their communities. Grants range up to £20,000.

Not-for-profit organisations, churches and cathedrals, hospitals and hospices, andhigher and further educational institutions both in the UK and overseas are eligible toapply.

Applications can be made at any time.

Tel: 0121 472 8000 E-mail:

Woodward Charitable Trust – Children’s Summer Playschemes

Each year the trustees of the Woodward Charitable Trust set aside funds for charities for summer playschemes for children between the ages of 5-16 years.Most grants awarded are in the range of £500 to £1,000. Around 35 grants are madeeach year.

Preference is given to:

 Small local play-schemes that provide a wide-ranging programme of activities

 Schemes that involve a large number of children

 Schemes catering for those from disadvantaged backgrounds or that have a disability

 Schemes that are inclusive such as projects that work with children from a range of backgrounds, abilities and race

 Schemes where past users are encouraged to come back and help as volunteers

The next deadline is 15th April 2017.

Tel: 020 7410 0330 E-mail:

Yorkshire Building Society Charitable Foundation

The Foundation supports good causes where the Society’s members and staff live and work, helping to demonstrate the value and support that the Society provides to local communities throughout the UK.

Registered charities are eligible to apply. The Foundation’s main areas of focus are as follows:

 Children or adults with special needs or those with physical/mental/communication

disabilities or challenges

 The seriously or terminally ill

 Vulnerable or isolated people, especially the elderly

 Animal welfare.

The maximum donation for member/staff recommended causes is £2,000. Grants ofup to £500 are available to charities that apply to the Foundation for funds directly. The Foundation places an emphasis on smaller donations for specific tangible items rather than donating to general funds or expenses.

Applications can be made at any time.

Tel: 0845 1200 100 E-mail:


For support on funding or bid writing services contact

Finding the Strongmen that appear only at Christmas!



It’s by nature an underground sport that only appears at Christmas (some 6 months after the World’s strongest man final has taken place). It often takes place in a hot and humid Country far away – that baffles me, but everyone talks about it. It’s a come and go kind of sport.

Some of the competitors stand at 6 feet 9 inches tall and most weigh over 20 stones regardless of height. These guys have to be big to shift the enormous weights that fascinate us all and that’s why they are such a draw. I am 6 feet 1 inches and 14 stones but in our meetings dwarfed in size and stature.

But as we only see the strongmen at Christmas on our TV screens have you ever wondered where they disappear to? Well unless you are a fan of the sport and know where to look for them you would assume they train in a cave for 12 months – out of sight, out of mind.

However if you know about Man Beast you will know we drag the guys out of their training caves and bring them to Cities, towns and galas across the UK so you can meet them, see their immense strength in action and get selfies being lifted up by them!

However what’s the attraction? Well I think it has something to do with the everyday objectives that are lifted and pulled. The car we may drive to work or take the kids to schools in gets lifted off the ground in a deadlift event as many times in a set amount of time. Awe inspiring stuff.

The bus we catch into town, weighing up to 20 tonnes is pulled by one strongman across 20 meters in an amazing fete of strength. How can this be possible? Leg power, body weight and upper-body strength is the key.

And this is why the sport has such a growing appeal. Powerlifting is a great sport, but bar bells and dumbbells don’t resonate with people as much as the weight of everyday objects we are used to seeing.


To see that bus being pulled, car being lifted or quad bikes being carried is superhuman. That’s the appeal of the sport. That’s why at my shows spectators want their pictures taken with their heroes.

With this appeal comes a unique opportunity for different sponsors to come on board with Man Beast. Man Beast is the only outfit in the UK that brings the athletes into retail parks, town centres and at events to showcase the sport. Fully isnured and fully equipped we offer a professional service.

Traditionally sponsors have tended to be supplement companies or gyms. But recently it has included Colleges (young person and student appeal or to promote sports courses), and more recently car dealerships.


We did a mock up media stunt for Mitsubishi and their L200 with a two times Guinness World Record Holder on an athletics track in South Yorkshire – SEE HERE.

Our most popular service are vehicle pulling stunts with the Nation’s strongest men. At the request of the MD of Blackpool Transport we took England’s strongest man and Yorkshire’s strongest man to the resort to pull their specially painted bus – SEE HERE

In West Yorkshire we pulled a new community bus through a housing estate to the amazement of onlookers opening their front door to see a 25 stone strongman pulling a bus in front of their house!

We also made it possible for Blackpool Transport’s chosen charity, the guide dog association, to have one of their partially sighted members pull the bus with her dog – SEE HERE

We are also in discussions to pull a 50 tonne steam train in Staffordshire in Autumn 2017 and setting up England’s first National strongman bus pulling competition for summer 2017. Sponsors see opportunity HERE

Man Beast are now an official member of ‘Welcome to Yorkshire’ – the tourism agency for the county. We are the UK’s only strongman roadshow with regular clients such as Matlock Farm Park and Doncaster Lakeside shopping village booking us for 2017. See testimonials HERE

With the potential for such media coverage we tend to generate when we attend events or customer premises we can also help with social media to maximise opportunities.

By visiting our website ‘MANBEAST’ you can read about all we can offer. You can bolt on our social media package to a service where we can set your business up with it, or provide your communications department with the content for you to publicise internally.


Anyway back to the interesting stuff. We can lift, pull, deadlift, provide autographs, selfies, appearances, seminars, workplace challenges, dress up for themed events and much more.

We fit with the construction industry, vehicle accessory and parts suppliers (to endorse or front product campaigns), car dealerships and rental companies, recovery operations and towing companies, tyres (for grip), clothing or any products with a USP around strength, power on longevity.

Contact Andy on 07887400202 or email or see MAN BEAST






handywriterAs we approach Christmas the end of the financial year is looming. Often this means new funding rounds, or funding underspends that need to be allocated, normally before the end of March.

This is a familiar story for those in the voluntary and community sector or public sector. It is quite frustrating to receive a funding call, usually with two days’ notice given to complete a complicated application form and inevitable governance paperwork.

The best strategy is to forward plan and to have some readymade projects on the shelf ready to pick out. That way you just need to flesh it out and tailor it to the fund criteria. Remember you are selling a project to a funder so show your passion.

To conduct a funding search use the £30 online facility I provide to tailor your results. You can do this here:


FREE Tree packs are available in three sizes:

  • Small packs contain 30 saplings for creating and small copse or short hedgerow and is ideal as a starter pack or a small project
  • Medium packs contain 105 saplings for planting either in small groups of trees or as a hedge (approx. 30m)
  • Large packs contain 420 saplings to create a long hedge (approx. 120m) or if

planted as a block of trees, there is sufficient for approximately one acre of land


Trees will be young saplings about 20 – 40cm high, sourced and grown in the UK.

The trees must be planted on a publicly accessible site (exceptions made for schools

and youth clubs), and applicants must have permission to plant from the legal


The next deadline to apply is 6

th January 2017.

Tel: 01476 581 111 Contact Form



Tampon Tax fund for women ran projects – up to £25,000


All details here.


Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) –

Community Buildings Pre-Feasibility Grants


The Community Buildings Pre-Feasibility Grants scheme is aimed at community

groups that have identified a possible community building project and are assessing

the way forward.


  • The funding aims to help local groups decide whether it is feasible to take on the
  • Grants of between £1,000 and £10,000 are available.
  • Town or parish councils, neighbourhood forums, and qualifying community groups can apply.
  • The funding (revenue) can be used for costs associated with assessing the viability of the project.
  • There are no deadlines. However, as this programme is a diminishing fund,
  • expressions of interest should be submitted as quickly as possible.


There is a two stage application process. The first stage is to fill out an Expression of

Interest form. The second stage is to fill out a full application form.

Tel: 0300 020 1864 E-mail:



Sport England has announced that it will launch its new funding programmes in December 2016.


Sport England’s new funding programmes come six months after the launch of its

2016 strategy ‘Towards an Active Nation’ which outlines what it will do to increase the number of people getting active and achieve its vision of everyone in England,

regardless of age, background or ability, feeling able to take part in sport or activity.

Between 2017 and 2021, Sport England says that it will invest £22.5 million through its range of new funding programmes which include:





Clothworkers Foundation – The Foundation offers two grant schemes:


Grants are available to registered charities in the UK for one-off capital projects

(buildings, fittings and vehicles) in one of the following areas:

 Alcohol and substance misuse

 Disabled people

 Disadvantaged minority communities

 Disadvantaged young people

 Domestic and sexual violence

 Elderly people

 Homelessness

 Prisoners and ex-offenders

 Visual impairment

 Main Grants Programme: no maximum project cost or grant amount. The average

grant amount is £25,000

 Small Grants Programme: grants of up to £10,000, the average amount is £7,000.

The total cost of the project must be less than £100,000


You can apply at any time.


EAGA Charitable Trust


The EAGA Charitable Trust supports action projects and research into the causes of

fuel poverty. The main focus is aiding a fuller understanding of the causes and effects of fuel poverty, including health impacts, and more effective means of addressing them.

The priority areas for 2016 are:

 Fuel poverty and health and wellbeing

 Fuel poverty policies and energy systems

 Low carbon policies, behaviours and practices

 Fuel poverty and rural communities


The Trust gives priority to funding proposals that have the potential to inform or

influence national perceptions and policies and have a wide geographic focus.

Grants of between £2,500 and £25,000 and lasting between one and three years are

available to voluntary organisations.

The 2017 deadline will be published in the new year.

Tel: 01539 736477 E-mail:




Help the Homeless


Grants of up to £5,000 are available to small and medium-sized registered charities forcapital costs relating to projects that assist individuals in their return to mainstreamsociety, rather than simply offer shelter or other forms of sustenance.


The next deadline is 15th December 2016.

Details here;


Lloyds Bank Foundation


Charities can apply for grants to support people who are 17 years or older and

experiencing mul-tiple disadvantage at one of the critical points in their life. There are

two programmes:


 Invest – grants of up to £25,000 per year for two or three years, with the

opportunity for continuation funding

 Enable – grants of up to a total of £15,000 over two years to help organisations

deliver their mission more effectively

Applicants must be working with people who are experiencing at least one of the


 Have been abused or are at risk of abuse

 Are victims of sexual exploitation

 Are ex-offenders/those at risk of offending

 Are long term unemployed

 Are leaving care

 Are homeless

 Have learning disabilities

 Have mental health and wellbeing issues

 Have addictions

 Are isolated and vulnerable

 Have severe financial difficulty as a com-pounding disadvantage


The only exceptions are young people who are under 17 years of age and:

 Young parents or looked after children

 Disabled young people moving into inde-pendent living

The next deadlines are: 3rd January and 2nd May 2017 for Invest; bids to Enable are

now accepted on an ongoing basis.


Tel: 0370 411 1223 E-mail:



The Ofenheim Charitable Trust


Provides grants for charitable organisations active in the UK for general charitable purposes.

Funding is at the discretion of the Trustees. Previous grants have been for between

£13,600 and £2,500.

Charitable organisations operating in the UK are eligible to apply.


For further information on how to obtain this grant, please contact:

Ofenheim Charitable Trust

Baker Tilly

The Pinnacle

170 Midsummer Boulevard

Milton Keynes MK9 1BP

Tel: 01908 687800


The Spirit of Women Changemakers Small Grants


The Spirit of Women Changemakers small grants programme will fund activity in the

UK that improves the wellbeing of women and girls who are subjected to harmful

gender norms and stereotypes. They want to support organisations to empower

women and men to create lasting change in their communities and sustainably

improve gender equality. They are inviting applications to fund creative, cultural,

sporting and/or volunteering responses to at least one of their two key impact goals.


These are to:

 Improve women’s body confidence and challenging objectification in all areas of

life, including in personal relationships

 Challenge traditional gendered caring roles and the undervaluing of care

Each project must also meet each of the following requirements:

 The activity will contribute to social cohesion, bringing diverse groups together to

engage in their communities,

 All projects must also undertake to improve (and measure through agreed

indicators) participants’ wellbeing.

 All projects must also challenge perceptions of disability. This can be through the

project activity itself or through ensuring inclusion of disabled people alongside

non-disabled people in the project activity

 Activities must also have a celebratory aspect in the run up to the 2018 centenary

Applications can be made for grants of between £5,000 and £15,000. You may

allocate a proportion of the grant to cover staff costs, capital or support costs

associated with the delivery of the project. The funded activity must be for the benefit

of women in the UK and must be a new project for your organisation. They cannot fund the continuation of existing activity.


Expressions of interest are now open and you can express your interest here.

The first stage of the application will close on 23rd December 2016.


SUEZ Communities Trust Landfill Communities Fund – Smaller

Projects Fund


The Smaller Projects Fund supports community improvement projects that make

physical improvements to community facilities such as village halls, public parks and

sports facilities, and to projects that restore or repair buildings of religious worship or

buildings of architectural or historic interest.


Grants up to a maximum of £20,000 are available. Applications are only accepted

towards projects with a total cost of £20,000 or less.

Applicants are expected to show what other sources of funding have been sought and secured.


Non-profit making organisations such as voluntary organisations, charities, parish

councils, local authorities, community groups and environmental organisations can



Projects can be supported in any of 100 funding zones in England. Funding zones are around qualifying waste processing sites owned by SUEZ UK. The Trust provides a 30 postcode checker so that potential applicants can check the eligibility of the project’s location.


To be eligible for funding project sites must be owned or be leased for the next ten

years by the applicant organisation.


Smaller Projects Funding is available for projects under the following objects:

 Object D – Public Amenities: Funding is available for projects which provide,

maintain or improve an amenity that is used primarily for leisure and recreation

 Object DA – Biodiversity: Funding is available for projects which conserve

biodiversity through the provision, conservation, restoration or enhancement of a

natural habitat or the maintenance or recovery of a species in its natural habitat

 Object E – Historic Buildings, Structures or Sites: Funding is available for

projects which include maintaining, repairing or restoring a building, other structure

or a site of archaeological interest which is a place of religious worship, or a site of

historic or architectural or archaeological interest and is open to the public.

There are three funding rounds year.


The next application deadline is 23rd January 2017 (5pm).

Tel: 01454 262910 E-mail:

Tesco Bags of Help


Groups across the UK are being encouraged to apply now for a grant for local

community projects, thanks to funding from Tesco’s ‘Bags of Help’ scheme.

‘Bags of Help’, a grants scheme funded by Tesco customers through the 5p carrier

charge and administered by Groundwork, provides grants of £5,000, £2,000 and

£1,000 for projects that use or provide access to outdoor spaces in communities.


Grants are available for all manner of groups including voluntary or community

organisations (including registered charities/companies), schools, health bodies (e.g.

CCGs, NHS Hospital Trust, Foundation Trust), Parish/Town Councils, local authorities and social housing providers.


Since October 2016 the scheme has awarded £24million to communities across

England, Wales and Scotland.


For information on how to apply please click here or for further inspiration and help,

check out their Community Project Toolkit.

Tel: 07736132698 E-mail:

Tudor Trust


Grants of up to £10,000 are available to charitable organisations for work in the UK

that aims to build stronger communities and tries to meet the many different needs of

people at the margins of society.


The Trust does not have specific funding programmes, but wants to support smaller

groups, embedded in their communities, which work directly with people who are on

the edges of mainstream society in ways which encourage inclusion, integration and



The Trust is particularly interested in supporting work that develops and promotes the social connections and relationships which make such an important contribution to the well-being and quality of life of individuals, and which strengthens communities.


Grants can be used for:

 Core organisational costs

 Project grants

 Capital grants for buildings or equipment

 Grants to help strengthen the organisation


The Trust is particularly interested in supporting smaller, under-resourced

Organisation’s with an annual turnover of less than £1 million.


Tudor Trust

Grants of up to £10,000 are available to charita-ble organisations for work in the UK

that aims to build stronger communities and tries to meet the many different needs of

people at the margins of society.

The Trust does not have specific funding programmes, but wants to support smaller

groups, embedded in their communities, which work directly with people who are on

the edges of mainstream society in ways which encourage inclusion, integration and


The Trust is particularly interested in supporting work that develops and promotes the social connections and relationships which make such an important contribution to the well-being and quality of life of individuals, and which strengthens communities.


Grants can be used for:

 Core organisational costs

 Project grants

 Capital grants for buildings or equipment

 Grants to help strengthen the organisation


The Trust is particularly interested in supporting smaller, under-resourced

organisations with an annual turnover of less than £1 million.

You can apply at any time.

Tel: 020 7727 8522 E-mail:

Tudor Trust


You can apply at any time.

Tel: 020 7727 8522 E-mail:

For additional funding advice follow my FREE blog

Twitter @handywriter4u, by email


Paid specialist fund searches available.



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