Health and wellbeing project praised for cancer patient support through the pandemic

A health and wellbeing project run by Sheffield United Community Foundation in partnership with Weston Park Cancer Charity has been praised for the support it has provided for cancer patients across the South Yorkshire region during the pandemic.

The Fans FC (Fans Fighting Cancer) programme, also supported by the Premier League Charitable Fund, provides free mental and physical support to people affected by cancer. This includes those living with cancer, those looking to improve their health as a means to prevent cancer, and people looking for ways to reduce its impact.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, the project has delivered free online health and fitness sessions by providing a weekly timetable of accessible, low impact physical activity and social sessions for people across the city.

Such is the project’s impact, it made its national television debut recently when it was showcased on BBC Match of the Day’s Extended Version – watch again here:

Claire Molyneux, from Sheffield – who has been shielding during the pandemic – has taken part in sessions both in-person pre Covid-19 and digitally during the pandemic after the programme moved online.

Claire praised the way in which the programme has helped her physically and mentally during her time at home. She said: “I’ve been really thankful for the Fans FC programme, especially as so many of the other services haven’t been running during Covid. I could have easily got very depressed, but this has really helped me mentally.

“It has given me confidence to do any kind of exercise and made me want to do more, which I haven’t done for some time apart from going for walks. If this hadn’t been on during Covid, I wouldn’t have been doing anything at all.

“I’ve really enjoyed it and I feel like I’m getting health benefits from it as well, and the fact that the sessions are designed for people with cancer makes me feel like I am able to take part and reassured me that I’d be with similar people.

“Even though it’s only through Zoom, everybody’s getting to know each other a bit and the programme serves all different levels of ability.

“I can’t say enough how great it’s been for exercise, friendship, adding structure to your day and for having something to look forward to. It’s highlighted that there is support still out there for people when you’re shielding and need it more.”

Levi Ashton, Health and Wellbeing manager at Sheffield United Community Foundation said: “We are really pleased to have partnered with Weston Park Cancer Charity – an organisation which makes such a big impact in our region.

“The project has been a huge success and I’m delighted to see the impact it has had on so many people.

“We’re very grateful for the work of everybody involved here at Sheffield United Community Foundation and the support of Weston Park Cancer Charity to help make this project a success. We look forward to working with them in future as our partnership develops.”

Emma Clarke, Director of Services and Grant-Giving at Weston Park Cancer Charity said: “Being active is beneficial for your mind and body yet lockdown has made it even harder for people to stay active; so we’re really pleased that the Fans FC programme has been able to adapt its timetable of activity to help keep people moving.

“Exercise can also reduce the risk of developing some cancers, so we’re encouraging as many people as possible to take part and maintain an active lifestyle. These sessions are free and open to everyone – not just those facing cancer.”

For more information about Fans FC, please contact

For more information about Sheffield United Community Foundation, please visit

For more information about Weston Park Cancer Charity, please visit or call 0114 553 3330.