MP and health leaders visit project aimed at helping disabled and isolated older people.

Meriden MP Saqib Bhatti joined leaders from health and care in Solihull to see first-hand a project working to help disabled and isolated older people to become more physically active.

The project, run by social enterprise community group Arden Active CIC, is being funded by a small grant from the £21.95m Birmingham and Solihull Integrated Care System’s Fairer Futures Fund (FFF).

More than 50 new and innovative projects are now underway across the city and borough, funded via the FFF and delivered at a grassroots level through or in collaboration with the voluntary and community sector.

Arden Active CIC, which works in schools, social care, disability groups, refugees and asylum seekers, is using its FFF small grant to deliver a 48-week activity programme catering for those aged over 60 across Solihull who have mental ill-health, are disabled and/or live in isolation. The programme also enables social interaction and activities include bowls, archery, tennis, table tennis, orienteering and yoga.

Saqib Bhatti MP joined leaders from NHS Birmingham and Solihull and Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council at a session being run by Arden Active CIC to learn more about the FFF and projects it is being funded.

The Conservative MP for Meriden said:


“It has been great to see Arden Active CIC in action and to see how the Fairer Futures Fund is making a difference in our communities.

David Melbourne, Chief Executive of NHS Birmingham and Solihull, said:


“We are delighted to be able to invest in such a broad range of projects, all designed to improve the way our patients and citizens receive care in their local communities. The Fairer Futures Fund is really showcasing the high level of innovation and forward thinking locally, as well as the commitment and passion by the voluntary and community sector.”

Alex Thompson, Director at Arden Active CIC, said:


“It’s well documented that sport can help mental and physical health and we are delighted to have been awarded a Fairer Futures Fund small grant to help residents in Solihull.  It has been great to see participants’ confidence levels increasing; improvements in their physical health and the benefits of more social interaction.”

Councillor Karen Grinsell, Deputy Leader at Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council, said:


“It is wonderful to see the funding that the Integrated Care System has invested into Solihull is having a profound effect on our communities right across the borough. “The Ardent Active CIC project is a really great example of how the Fairer Futures Fund is delivering community-led schemes that are truly tackling health inequalities.”

Tina Costello, CEO of the Heart of England Community Foundation, said:


“It’s fantastic that we’re able to support organisations like Arden Active CIC through the Fairer Futures Fund. Their project to support older people to become more physically active is a brilliant initiative, working alongside the Birmingham and Solihull Integrated Care System, projects like this can be a lifeline for older people who are isolated or lonely or living with poor mental health.”

The FFF has been split on a fair share basis between Birmingham and Solihull, with £18m allocated for Birmingham, and £3.95m for Solihull. The projects being funded are diverse and aimed at those who are the most underrepresented and underserved who are often facing the biggest disparities in health inequalities.

Notes to Editor

  • A video of the visit to Arden Active CIC is available here.
  • For interview requests, or for more information on the Fairer Futures Fund or Birmingham and Solihull Integrated Care System, please contact
  • The Fairer Futures Fund was launched in 2022 and will see the NHS in Birmingham and Solihull Integrated Care System award a total of £21.95 million to new, innovative, community-based health projects over five years.
  • The Fund is part of the Birmingham and Solihull Integrated Care System’s strategic vision to transform the delivery of health and social care services.
  • It aims to improve health and healthcare provision for citizens in Birmingham and Solihull, reducing inequalities in health outcomes and improve access to health and care.
  • Birmingham and Solihull Integrated Care System (ICS) is one of 42 ICSs covering the whole of England.
  • It is made up of health and care organisations, local government and the voluntary sector, all working in partnership to improve population health, tackle health inequalities, enhance productivity and help the NHS support broader social and economic development.