Our Supporters

Jo Pavey - Fitmums & Friends Patron
World, European gold and Commonwealth medallist, five-time Olympic athlete

"Fitmums & Friends is such a fantastic organisation. I truly admire the way it supports people of all abilities to enjoy the benefits of being active and to gain confidence whilst making great friendships. It’s great that its activities range from specialist coaching sessions to walking groups; and its shepherding system which allows people to enjoy running together regardless of ability or experience is brilliant."

"When I first met members of Fitmums & Friends, I was so inspired by their immense energy, enthusiasm and friendliness. I could really see how lives were being changed by the encouragement given to people and by the lovely camaraderie within the organisation. I am so extremely honoured to be asked to be patron of Fitmums & Friends, and I’m so, so excited to be involved with such great people with whom I share a passion for keeping active."

Geoff McDonald
Global consultant, advocate and campaigner - Mental Health, & Co Founder of Minds at Work

"Suicide is the leading cause of death amongst men between the ages of 28 and 45 in the UK. This is a shocking statistic and in many cases is a consequence of stigma and our inability to ask for help if suffering from a common form of mental ill health. This inability to talk seems to be more prevalent in men, and we need to be doing a great deal more to encourage men to feel comfortable to talk about their emotional and mental health."

"The work of Fitmums & Friends in creating Mental Health Champions, and changing systems to ensure conversations about mental health are a natural part of sessions, is fantastic. This is what is needed – helping men and women to feel more comfortable to talk about how they are feeling which in turn acts as a powerful lever in breaking the stigma of mental ill health."

Nell McAndrew

"Sam Barlow and her team of volunteers are incredible. To provide so much motivation and support for so many people is just brilliant. Running and exercise is a great way for people of all ages, men or women, to improve confidence, de-stress, make you feel happier and more positive. Fitmums & Friends is a very special group, changing people’s lives for the better."

Paula Radcliffe

"Staying in shape as a mum is not only beneficial for both mother and child’s health, it is also an excellent way to help mum socially interact with other like minded mothers. Fitmums is an excellent initiative that brings together women to share in the double joys of running and motherhood and support each other while making friendships for life."

Dr Wendy Richardson
Director of Public Health for Hull 2005-2013

"Fitmums is a brilliant example of what a group of people can do when they share a common interest and want to get the most out of every aspect of their lives, whether it’s walking with a buggy or running or just that very important thing of meeting people for a chat.I know from speaking to members of the group the amount of support they give each other and the physical and mental health outcomes of their activities are just the sort of results we’re constantly looking for when we advise people to engage with health services but with Fitmums I know there is a lot of fun as well. The best way to get fit is to find some sort of activity that you enjoy so that it becomes a fun and important part of your usual routine – Fitmums is a prime example of this and the numbers joining the group speak for themselves."

Professor Patrick Doherty
Chair of Rehabilitation – Department of Health, Heart Disease Advisory Group

"On a weekly basis the media and leading research tells us that exercise is good for us yet the Health Survey for England shows that 60% of adults are sedentary. It is clear that individuals struggle to make the change to a healthy lifestyle so it is hugely encouraging that initiatives like ‘Fitmums and Friends’ exist to help people keep fit or becoming fit. In the era of the big society, where volunteering is key, I believe ‘Fitmums and Friends’ represents a modern day example of the big society working well as it fosters a sense of togetherness where people with a shared experience help others to help themselves".

Chris Long
Chief Executive - Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust

"As chief executive of NHS Hull, I am delighted to give my wholehearted endorsement and encouragement to Cottingham Fitmums and Friends. This is a truly innovative and exciting initiative, giving local people at any level of fitness the chance to challenge themselves to get fit and have fun in a friendly, supportive and inclusive environment. I would like to thank the volunteers at Fitmums for their contribution to the physical and mental health of their members; long may you run!"

Jane Flint MD FRCP
Consultant Cardiologist and National Clinical Adviser for Cardiac Rehabilitation to NHS Improvement, Chair British Cardiovascular Society Joint Working Group for Women’s Heart Health, Professional Trustee British Heart Foundation

"How I could have benefited from this initiative after having my twins at 41! The juggling lives we experience caring for young children, older relatives, and working mean that all women need a practical, friendly way of fitting exercise into their day. It is so important that women learn to appreciate the advantages of regular exercise so that not only are they fit for further pregnancy with a lower cardiovascular risk, but will also be more likely to take up the offer of cardiac rehabilitation in later life if or when they meet cardiovascular disease.

I congratulate Fitmums and Friends on their terrific achievements so far and wish them every success in the future with their ventures and spread of excellent practice by this wonderful example."

Dr Simon Thackray MD, MRCP
Consultant Interventional Cardiologist Hull and East Yorkshire NHS Trust

"Becoming and keeping physically fit is a great idea for all people of all ages, yet can be difficult for all of us. Especially with small children there are so many other demands on your time. Being fit is good for your heart, good for lowering blood pressure, good for the metabolism, good for keeping the weight off – and also makes you feel better and look better. There is no one ideal way to become fit – the formula is simple really – regular decent level of exercise. That’s why exercising with children can also help. The exercise needs to be enough to get you a bit out of puff and make you glow. It might start off being less and then it should grow. It also needs keeping up if you want to stay fit!! I’m very happy to lend my support to the Fitmums project – and good luck to everyone who is part of it."

Gary Hood
Athena Aspire

"We are in the business of helping people to get active and Sam and the Team have developed a truly inspirational movement. So we are giving Fitmums and Friends our total support. If you have the opportunity to go to one of their sessions I would advise you do so without delay. The whole approach is simple yet ground breaking, its inspirational and yet so welcoming. Fitmums and Friends provides support to all runners, they make it fun and they make it sociable. It’s a big team of like minded people who have a lot of fun, meet their own personal goals and happen to get fit along the way. So if you are a funder reading this you really need to work with them. if you are a potential new member find your nearest Fitmums group now and start joining in."