MAKE A DIFFERENCE | workplace culture / mental health / wellbeing

Decathlon UK And Art-Invest Real Estate Launch Health And Wellbeing Community Fund

Decathlon UK and AIRE have partnered to launch a community fund for physical health and wellbeing.
Two runners in black sports gear run down a road.

A new health and wellbeing community fund has been launched to support active lifestyles in Canada Water, London.

Fitness brand Decathlon UK and Art-Invest Real Estate, owners of the Canada Water Dockside Surrey Quays Road 4.5-acre site, have partnered to support local residents in pursuing active and healthy lifestyles. The fund will sponsor physical activity and local sporting partnerships, with investment replenished each year for the next five years. It will total over £200,000 collectively.

What Is The Health And Wellbeing Community Fund?

The Health and Wellbeing Community Fund itself and the activities chosen to receive the initial support have come as direct recommendations from the Canada Water Dockside consultation. In April & May 2021, local residents were asked for their thoughts on the potential partnership and whether they had any suggestions for sports and activities that require investment.

According to a joint press release, dozens of positive responses and ideas were taken from the consultation and influenced the sports invested in. The initiatives will be available to all local residents regardless of age or ability.

The Canada Water Dockside, which is adjacent to British Land Canada Water Masterplan Area, is undergoing a six-year development plan that will look to provide 10,000 jobs throughout the duration of the project. Local residents can still contact the Canada Water Dockside project team to leave feedback or suggest further sporting activities by email or by phone.

Who Has Launched The Health And Wellbeing Community Fund?

This project doesn’t come as a surprise from Decathlon, whose mission is to make sport accessible to all. It was founded in Lille, France, in 1976 and opened its first UK store in Surrey Quays, London, in 1999. It has 45 stores nationwide.

Delphine Mazillier, Community Impact Manager, Decathlon UK, says: “We’re delighted to be working together with Art-Invest Real Estate to make sport accessible for the many in Canada Water. We want to inspire everyone to lead healthy and physically active lifestyles and the best way to do this is by directly engaging with our local community.

“Through the partnership and community fund, we will be able to support community initiatives and deliver sports activities, where people of all abilities and backgrounds will be made to feel welcome,” she continues. “We offer a unique range of products, services, and activities for over 70 sports so we’re sure there will be something for everyone to enjoy.”

The Canada Water Dockside is the second scheme in London to be managed by Art-Invest Real Estate. It was purchased from Notting Hull Genesis in June 2020. The plan for the site includes mixed-use development comprised of flexible work and community space as well as a vibrant town centre.

Why Is Physical Health And Wellbeing Important?

“We are very excited to establish the Community Fund with our neighbours Decathlon UK, to promote active lifestyles and wellbeing in Canada Water,” explains Luka Vukotic, Development Director for Art-Invest Real Estate. “My early involvement in sports allowed me to see first-hand how access to sporting opportunities can change lives for the better. We really hope the Community Fund unlocks opportunities for local people to try new activities for the first time and to get the most from any sports they already enjoy

“This partnership will look to sponsor initiatives, events, and activities to benefit the community with the hope of creating a lasting legacy,” he continues. “The fund will support people at all life stages—by increasing access to sport, promoting physical activity and optimising the use of existing local facilities.”

The introduction of sponsored sports and physical activity could mean improved lifestyles for the local population. NHS England recommends that adults aged 19-24 should do “some type of physical activity every day.” Exercising once or twice a week reduces the risk of heart disease or stroke. Physical activity is also found to have a positive effect on mental health.