Frequently Asked Questions

What is the aim of the exercise referral scheme?

Through the ProActive Physical Activity on Referral Scheme, Somerset residents living with health conditions will be given the opportunity to improve their overall health and more specifically, be provided with strategies to manage or improve symptoms as well as achieve specific rehabilitation goals. ProActive uses targeted exercises prescribed by highly qualified Exercise on Referral fitness professionals to help participants achieve this.

Why is an exercise referral scheme important?

The scheme helps people living with health conditions to become more active in a safe and structured environment. Supporting people to become moderately physically active has many benefits for physical and mental health. The health professional knows that the individual exercise referral instructors understand how to prescribe a safe and effective programme of physical activity for you.

What can I expect from the scheme?

To have an induction into the scheme from the qualified exercise referral instructor. They will then invite you into the facility and put together a programme of suitable physical activity. You will have regular sessions and updates throughout your 12-week programme with the instructor. Your sessions will be supervised or with a relevant qualified instructor.

Who can refer into the scheme?

Referrals into the ProActive scheme can be made by healthcare and allied health professionals who possess overall clinical responsibility for the referral. Professionals include: General Practitioners (GPs), Physiotherapists, Podiatrists, Psychiatrists, Registered Nurses, Consultants/Specialists, Occupational Therapists and Dieticians. Referrals can also be made by Specialist Level 4 Fitness Instructors who have completed a programme of rehabilitation with an individual and can use professional judgement regarding suitability for onward exercise referral.

I’m feeling uncertain about Covid-19 transmission, can I be reassured that attending ProActive won’t put me at extra risk?

Following Covid, all facilities are cleaned on a regular basis, equipment is cleaned after each use, machines are more widely spaced and air circulation is good. The physical activity benefits of the scheme can also really help to protect against a poor reaction to Covid, by making the body stronger when dealing with fatigue and helping to improve your breathing and respiratory system, so that it is much more efficient in its job.

What does an exercise referral instructor do?

They are able to put together a programme of physical activity for your specific health needs. You will be under their supervision and progression for the duration of the scheme.

What qualifications will the instructor have to understand my condition?

Each ProActive Provider will have at least one exercise referral instructor who holds a recognised Level 3 GP Referral qualification. They may also have other Specialist Level 4 qualifications for conditions such as stroke, cardiac rehabilitation or cancer rehabilitation, among many others.

How will the instructor know what exercise I should be doing?

There is specific guidance for different types of conditions or rehabilitation and also for the medication you may be taking.

Do I have to be a particular age to be referred?

You will need to be aged 18 years or over. There is no upper limit!

Does the number of conditions make a difference as to whether I can be referred?

No, this should not make a difference, as long as all of your conditions are stable and medicated where necessary.

How long does the scheme last?

The scheme will run for a minimum of 12 weeks and the instructor will be able to let you know what activities are available. This could include gym sessions, swimming and classes.

How do I get myself referred to the scheme?

You can be referred by one of the above healthcare and allied health professionals or a specialist instructor. They will need to complete a referral form which will provide information on your condition(s) and what medication you are taking. You will need to sign this form and give your consent to take part in the scheme.  This form will then be sent to your chosen ProActive Provider.

Can a health coach/social prescriber refer into ProActive?

Under the new scheme, health coaches and social prescribers will need to get the referral form approved by a healthcare and allied health professional who possesses overall clinical responsibility for the referral. In the future, we will accept direct referrals for low risk individuals.

How will I know which centre is best?

The choice of which leisure provider you attend is entirely up to you, so it may be worth visiting the centre and meeting the instructor to find one that works for you. All leisure providers have to complete a robust accreditation process to meet a set of locally tailored operating standards for physical activity on referral schemes, which is overseen by SASP, the lead provider.

How much does it cost?

The cost will vary depending on the ProActive Provider you choose and what they offer as part of their particular scheme.

I’m on a low income, are there any discounts available?

The schemes are discounted by some ProActive Providers that run the centres. Some also offer a concessionary rate or access via pay-as-you-go classes.

Are there particular days and times I can do this?

This depends on which centre or community venue you choose. They will be able to provide this information when you speak to them.

What should I wear?

Loose clothing and some comfortable footwear such as trainers that you feel happy wearing. You may also wish to wear layers, so that you can remove them if you feel warm.

Can I attend with someone who can help me?

This should be fine under the scheme, but please speak to your instructor or ProActive Provider to let them know. They may offer a discounted or free space for your companion/buddy. Our Move More Together project at SASP can link one of our volunteers with you to come along as a buddy/companion. For more information, please visit the Move More Together website or contact Jenny Street, our Volunteer Project Officer on 01823 653990.

What happens if I can’t attend sessions because of holidays or sickness?

Speak to your instructor who will be able to let you know the cancellation policy for that particular ProActive Provider.

What options will I have when I finish the programme?

Your instructor will discuss the options available to you towards the end of your referral period.

Can’t find the answer you’re looking for?

Contact us and one of our team will be in touch.