The 12-week Southwark GP Exercise Referral service has been designed to help inactive people that are struggling with their mental and physical health. It does this by encouraging them to get more physically active both within the programme and beyond their participation and they are supported in taking more control over their own health.

There are three levels of support available: Kickstart, Active Boost and Cardiactive. Each offers different levels of support depending on what help you need.

Kickstart is the lowest level of support available and is ideal for people who are confident to exercise safely and independently. This level includes:

  • discounted membership to leisure centres for using the gym, going swimming and attending group fitness classes.
  • access to free or low cost non-gym-based activities that include led walks, cycle training, community dance and fitness courses, seated exercise and park sessions such as walking football.

Eligibility Criteria

Service users must have at least one of these:

  • Obesity BMI 30 + or South Asian 27.5
  • Anxiety +/or depression (able to self-motivate)
  • 5%  + CVD risk over next 10 years using Qrisk 2 (
  • In cancer remission for up to 12 months
  • Asthma
  • Stress
  • Respiratory

What does the Programme involve?

For a 12-week period, clients will be encouraged to build up their weekly activity levels through attending sessions at the centre of their choice.

All clients will take part in an initial assessment at the beginning and a completion assessment end of their 12-week programme. Once they have completed the programme, clients will be encouraged to independently continue with regular physical activity and will be provided with information on local activity opportunities. On completion of the programme, all clients will be entitled to a reduced leisure centre membership.

Clients will be followed up at 9 months from start date on the programme and offered advice and support where needed by an administrator or exercise professional where possible.

Who is Eligible for the Service?

  • all adults aged 18 and over
  • residents of Southwark
  • or registered with a Southwark GP
  • People currently doing less than 150 minutes of exercise each week.

It’s also vital that they have no contra-indications to exercise and they must be clinically stable. Additionally, any patient with a cardiac condition can only be referred to the Cardiactive service.

Who can make an exercise referral?

  • GPs
  • Practice Nurses
  • Specialist Nurses e.g. Health Check Hub, Cardiac Nurses
  • Specialist Cardiac Physiotherapists
  • Cancer Rehabilitation Team (GSTT)
  • Renal Rehabilitation Team

Referrals can be initiated by a mental health professional by telephone or letter to the patient’s GP whose authority is required, and who can then send a referral to the programme.

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