Mytime Active at 20: Impacting the Community

Debra Weekes
Debra Weekes - Partnerships Manager

Debra Weekes, Partnerships Manager, Mytime Active, has been with the charitable leisure trust since the very beginning, and is well place to recall the changes and the positive impact that Mytime Active has had on the local community. 

Debra remembers when the leisure contract was outsourced by Bromley Council to what became Mytime Active and how, over the years, they have built trust with both their stakeholders and local residents, especially when it comes to their specialist health programmes.

As Mytime Active celebrates its 20th anniversary, Debra shares her thoughts on the last two decades, and why she is still so committed to making a difference to people’s lives.

Debra says:

“We realised early on that the programmes we inherited from the previous provider needed development to meet the needs of the local community.  For example, we inherited a very small programme of activities for the over 60s and in 2007 there were only three or four activities at a handful of sites – we literally had 79 members over 60, despite Bromley having an ageing population. In 2008 we started a Sport England-funded Active Ageing programme and recruited a Primetime Manager, who researched what activities older people enjoy and created our buddies scheme, where older people volunteer to support our Primetime members. Primetime now offers more than 100 activities a week to more than 2,500 members.
“Since our inception we’ve had amazing exercise specialists working in our health team  and our health programmes, Fresh Start and HeartSmart for people with medical conditions, have thrived.  The fact the team has worked together for a long time and programmes are well established gives a consistency of approach. Our team is trusted in their field and have a place at the table where fitness and sport often aren’t included; highlighted by our relationship with the newly developed Local Care Partnership, One Bromley. We will be supporting One Bromley with the management of a Health Hub in The Glades shopping centre, where we will be offering free Vital 5 lifestyle advice.
“It’s so heart warming to see people that first joined our Fresh Start programme some 15 years ago, who are still members and still finding opportunities to be more active and to socialise with Mytime Active. It’s moments like this when I can really the difference we are making; for the long term...
“During the last 14 years we’ve secured £3.45 million of grant funding to support the development of programmes and events. We do a lot of outreach in the community, including our award-winning ArtsTrain programme for young people whose wellbeing can be improved through creative music.  We are now recognised by Arts Council England as a National Portfolio Organisation - a leader in our area with a responsibility to protect and develop our arts and cultural ecology, alongside the likes of the Royal Opera House and Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. And since 2004 we have managed Team Bromley entries into the London Youth Games, working with schools and sports clubs to put the teams together across many different sports.
“I’ve had the pleasure to work with amazing people over the years, many some of whom are still around, and this has been a real highlight of my career.  These people are experts in their field, great managers and people who have supported my development. My role as Partnerships Manager offers me huge variety.  I’ve worked on so many impactful projects, with lots of great partners; no two years are ever the same. These factors, and knowing the work we do makes a positive difference, is why I’m still around!”
Mytime Active