BH Live, in partnership with Nordic Walking UK and Portsmouth City Council, is celebrating after being awarded £4,200 of National Lottery funding to run a series of low cost Pole Walking sessions across the city.

The weekly walking sessions, which begin next week, are open to all from absolute beginners to experienced walkers. A Pole Walking Rehabilitation session will also run, aimed at people with long term health conditions such as cancer, Parkinson’s disease, fibromyalgia, joint pain and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).

The funding, awarded through Sport England’s small grants programme, will enable BH Live to train its instructors to deliver the sessions. It will also enable the social enterprise to buy specialist Activator Fitness Walking poles which have been designed in consultation with occupational therapists and physiotherapists who specialise in  balance, post-surgical injury and inactivity in older people.

Pole Walking has many benefits. It is a low impact walking exercise and activates 90% of the body’s muscles. It can improve coordination, stamina, balance, intake of oxygen and endurance. It also tones upper arms, shoulders, back muscles and also develops core stability and strength. Furthermore, taking part in regular exercise in a social community environment is proven to improve mental health and wellbeing too.

Rob Cunningham, BH Live’s Divisional General Manager is delighted to have been awarded the funding and explains the impact he hopes it will have on health of the city. He says,

“The Activator Pole Walking sessions are a welcome addition to our activity programme; especially the rehabilitation session for people with long term health conditions. Our aim is to encourage even more people to take part in regular physical activity which will ultimately have a positive impact on their health and wellbeing. We are incredibly grateful to Nordic Walking UK, the council and everyone who plays the National Lottery – their support has helped to make this happen.”

On behalf of Nordic Walking UK, Gill Stewart added,

We are delighted to be working with BH Live on this new scheme. Using Activator poles is a simple and effective way to help people increase mobility and activity levels. It’s a great way to improve balance and posture whilst working all the major muscles.”

Cllr Pitt Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and Sport at Portsmouth City Council said,

“We’re really pleased to have been awarded the funding to enable these Pole Walking sessions which provide all the health and wellbeing benefits of social, regular exercise.  It’s great to be able provide rehabilitation walking sessions as well, for people with long term health conditions.”

Find out more about the sessions, including price and locations, at or telephone 02393 200 401.

National Lottery players raise £30m every week for good causes, funding arts, heritage, sports, voluntary and charity projects around the UK. For more information on good causes go to


Notes to Editors:

Pole Walking sessions in Portsmouth launch on Monday 29 July 2019 and will run on Mondays and Fridays between 2-3pm.

  • Mondays – aimed at people living with long term health conditions – meet at Mountbatten Leisure Centre at 2pm (£3 per person per session)
  • Friday – aimed at absolute beginners and more experienced walkers – meet at Canoe Lake Café, Southsea at 2pm (£2 per person per session)

Cost: Sessions on Monday 29 July and Friday 2 August (launch week) are free of charge.

Sessions after launch week: £3 per person on Mondays and £2 per person on Fridays – no health referral required.

Telephone 02393 200 401 to book onto sessions.


Local residents and employees from BH Live celebrating the new Pole Walking sessions

For more information about BH Live please contact:

Elizabeth Symmons, PR & Corporate Communications Executive E: T: (01202) 055562

About BH Live

BH Live is a leading operator of leisure and event venues; a social enterprise that designs and builds engaging experiences to inspire people and enrich lives.

With more than five million visits a year and £42 million turnover we are changing lives and are at the heart of the UK’s growing social economy.

In 2017/18 we had 4.5 million leisure centre attendances, hosted more than 500 events and sold over half a million cultural, sporting and entertainment event tickets. We also welcomed 59,000 conference and exhibition delegates.

This generated an estimated £53 million in local economic benefit.

For more visit

Get social with us: LinkedIn, Twitter @BHLIVE_UK and Facebook @SocialEnterpriseBHLive

In Portsmouth, BH Live operates the following venues in partnership with Portsmouth City Council:

  • Mountbatten Leisure Centre – Portsmouth’s flagship leisure and event venue with a national-class 50m swimming pool, 150 station gym, eight-court sports hall, squash, spin and dance studios, a cycle velodrome, athletics track, function suites with bars, a café and soft play facility. It is also home to a Clip ‘N Climb leisure attraction which opened in 2018.

For more visit

Get social with us: Twitter and Facebook @mountbattenlc

  • Pyramids Centre – one of Portsmouth’s leading entertainment and leisure venues overlooking Southsea beach and the Solent. It has fun pools, flumes, a wave machine and a three-level soft play adventure world. There is also a multipurpose gym, 70+ weekly group exercise classes and a spa.

It also hosts regular live music events, conferences, exhibitions.

For more visit and

Get social with us: Twitter @PyramidsCentre @PyramidsLive @bhlivetickets

Facebook @Pyramids.Centre @PyramidsLive @bhlivetickets

  • Portsmouth Gymnastics Centre – state-of-the-art gymnastics hall, physiotherapy room and meeting room.

For more visit

Get social with us: Facebook @PortsmouthGymnasticsCentre

  • Portsmouth Tennis Centre – A 10 court tennis facility in the north of Portsmouth consisting of four indoor courts and six floodlit outdoor courts. A comprehensive tennis coaching programme caters for all ages and abilities and is the area’s hub of accessible tennis. The programme runs sessions for tots, juniors, adults and also includes variations of the sport such as cardio tennis and touch tennis.

For more visit

Get social with us: Twitter @PortsTennis and Facebook @PortsmouthTC

  • Eastney Swimming Pool – 20m swimming pool and a spectators’ area.

For more visit

Get social with us: Facebook @EastneyPool

  • Wimbledon Park Sports Centre – 20 station gym, five badminton courts, basketball court and sports hall.

For more visit

Get social with us: Facebook @WimbledonParkSportsCentre

  • Charter Community Sports Centre – 20m swimming pool, 20 station gym, sports hall and an outdoor multi-use games area.

For more visit

Get social with us: Facebook @CharterCommunitySC