Taster Sessions with the Basement Recovery Project

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As part of our work to embed physical activity within health and social care organisations across the borough, we’ve worked closely with the Basement Recovery Project in Halifax. The Basement Recovery Project is a not-for-profit charitable organisation, which supports individuals who are involved with alcohol and / or substance and drug misuse.

Having had success with couch to 5k groups, the Basement Project wanted to expand and diversify the types of activities they offered so there was something for everyone that came into the service. They also wanted to diversify where activities were being delivered, with the hope to integrate and work with existing community sport and physical activity providers and clubs.

Here’s the view of Kevin, a Recovery Builder at the Basement Project, on how the sessions were received, and their impact:

How did the sessions go?


Throughout May and June 70 people attended the Salsa and Cha/Cha sessions. The sessions have been such a success that we are looking at continuing to run them.


40 people attended throughout July/August/September. The boxing was a little more extreme than the dancing, but we still had great attendance from people who enjoyed both. After the first session we decided to try and get a little bit more activity into an already active session by cycling to the gym, this was a trial and turned out really well so we continued to do it on every session.

Basement Project Boxing Taster Session


Nobody had ever been bowling before, so it was new to everybody. This was more suited to people who didn’t want to do the extreme fitness like boxing and wanted the more relaxed sort of activity that these sessions provided. The people who attended loved it and would like to do it again.

Basement Project Bowling Taster Session

3 Peaks challenge

18 people attended the 3 peaks challenge to some degree. Our youngest was aged just 7 and she completed 1, 7 people completed the 3 peaks, 3 of which have never walked that far before. One of the new walkers who completed the peaks has been on all the taster sessions and is very much enjoying the fitness, connecting and wellbeing side of their recovery.

Basement Project Cycling to Taster Sessions

The impact of the sessions

Basement Project Couch to 5k Session

We have had a couch to 5k program running for the past couple of years, but this year it seems to have taken off. In the last quarter we had a large number of people coming through, including people who are not in recovery, who found out about the program through word of mouth. We also have a massive variety of people from young, old, fit, unfit and mixed ethnicity in attendance.

One person in particular who has stood out for me is Greg. Greg came to the basement project for help with his substance misuse. He progressed through the groups and got involved with our already existing couch to 5k program, which he completed in 10weeks, went on to complete a 10k program, and is now heavily involved with every taster session and every bit of activity we have going on. He has even gone on to facilitate one of our days for our couch to 5k program.

Greg now is doing other community activities representing the basement project, things like the 2019 Tough Mudder event which is a 10 mile muddy obstacle course and more recently a 10km road race around Rochdae (which he completed fantastically well).

When asked about how he feels now he said “I feel proud of how far I’ve come and now have a completely different outlook on what activity means to me and I hope to carry on and progress to another level”.

He has completely immersed himself with this and he now fully understands the importance of mental wellbeing and that exercise/activity provides and is very much looking forward to his next challenge.

More from the Basement Project

We produced this video on Kevin's story and the couch to 5k groups, which offers a more in depth look at the impact physical activity can have on the recovery process:

You can also read Bernadette's couch to 5k story here: https://thebasementproject.org.uk/articles/running-for-your-life-a-couch-to-5k-review/