Our compassionate approach to weight
Doncaster's Compassionate Approach to Weight is a new approach to issues of weight and health that is driven primarily by compassion, takes blame away from individuals, and fully acknowledges the mental and financial burden poverty and inequality places on people.
Get Doncaster Moving endorses a Compassionate Approach to weight. This means that we commit to supporting physical activities that allow people of all sizes, abilities, and interests to engage in enjoyable movement, to the degree that they choose.
Through our interventions, we pledge to actively challenge weight stigma wherever possible, and tackle the social and environmental barriers to participation in physical activity, so that all individuals are able to access the health and non-health related benefits of movement.
What is Doncaster's Compassionate Approach to Weight?
Weight is a complex issue. We cannot solve it by telling people to move more and eat better or by putting everyone on a diet. As well as our individual biology, genetics and behaviour, there are many more factors that affect our weight. For example, how much money we have, where we live, our culture and our family. In the decades of trying, nothing has worked in the way we had hoped, including dieting and education. We want to take a different approach. We want to stop blaming individuals and claiming the problem is simply lack of knowledge or willpower. We will support people, value and accept them, and work hard to make their lives fairer.
Our vision is that everybody in Doncaster is fully able to pursue their own health goals and are fully supported to do so by society, without judgement or assumptions. They feel valued as an individual just the way they are. Compassion is at the heart of how we move together towards a healthier society for future generations.
What does Get Doncaster Moving and the Compassionate Approach have in common?
Why is the Compassionate Approach important to Get Doncaster Moving?
Get Doncaster Moving seeks to support healthy and vibrant communities in Doncaster through physical activity and sport. The overarching goals of Get Doncaster Moving and the Compassionate Approach are the same – to reduce inequalities, to increase accessibility, to promote opportunities that improve physical and mental health, and to create better outcomes for individuals and communities.
The Compassionate Approach principles strongly align with the strategic values and ways of working of Get Doncaster Moving. The approach reminds us that an individual's relationship with physical activity is influenced by a wide range of complex factors that are often out of an individual's control. The approach also connects with our values – that we are all responsible for supporting residents to move more, and we do this by connecting with the circumstances and contexts of our residents.
Why is Get Doncaster Moving important to the Compassionate Approach?
The development of the Compassionate Approach will benefit greatly from the valuable learning of Get Doncaster Moving's progress and journey, including learning from community-centred and whole-systems approaches, Frameworks Institute messaging, and from using the COM-B behaviour change model. Get Doncaster Moving's involvement and support in the development of the Compassionate Approach will help to break down barriers and spread our core message.
Two key components of a healthy lifestyle are physical activity and balanced nutrition. Therefore it is essential for Get Doncaster Moving to play an active role in the development of the Compassionate Approach. It is important that we are able to promote healthy lifestyle behaviours to our residents compassionately, in order to combat stigma and barriers to adopting healthy behaviours.
What does Get Doncaster Moving commit to?
Communication: the Compassionate Approach can help to frame Get Doncaster Moving's messages to residents and stakeholders, and Get Doncaster Moving can help to spread the message of the Compassionate Approach.
- We commit to maintaining our compassionate messages through the Get Doncaster Moving campaigns and narrative with stakeholders.
- We strive to embody an anti-stigma non-judgemental approach in order to engage residents in a healthier lifestyle. This includes, combatting weight stigma by ensuring our language aligns with the Compassionate Approach – e.g. not framing physical activity as a means of restriction or punishment.
- We will continue to promote the wide range of benefits that physical activity has and support positive sustainable behaviour change in communities by focusing on joyful movement.
Systems-thinking: Get Doncaster Moving and the Compassionate Approach are aligned in wanting to build up the systematically disadvantaged through strength-based population level interventions and challenging systemic barriers to health.
- We will continue to further the understanding of the wider influences on participation in physical activity, rather than solely individual responsibility, to improve accessibility.
- We will continue working with the most deprived households in Doncaster to combat barriers to participation in physical activity.
- We will promote participant-led movement, goals, and measures of success.
Advocacy: The Compassionate Approach, like Get Doncaster Moving, is innovative and disruptive. Get Doncaster Moving can be an advocate for change in the physical activity landscape, to enable the creation of a more compassionate environment.
- We will work with Public Health colleagues to develop and deliver a workshop to the wider network of Get Doncaster Moving partners, to support them in adopting and implementing the Compassionate Approach.
- We will continue to work towards enabling a more compassionate environment and ways of working to implement projects and services that can help create long-term change.