All posts by Mark Sansom

Braintree residents are leading the way for healthier living.

Braintree District Residents Are Leading The Way When It Comes To Activity | News

The Braintree district has shown the largest increase in the amount of active residents in the country, according to a recent Sport England survey.

It has also had the greatest reduction in the number of inactive residents in the whole of Essex, over the last three years, according to the Active Lives survey delivered as a way of measuring the sport and activity of adults across England.

Braintree District Council is working with a number of partners including the Active Braintree Network, Fusion Lifestyle, local sports clubs and physical activity organisations to help support and empower residents to get active and live well. The Council’s commitment to health and well-being is demonstrated by its BeWell Strategy and by its livewell campaign, which has now been adopted by all 12 local authorities across Essex and Essex County Council.


John Wood, Chairman of Active Braintree Network said, “There has been such a fantastic commitment from everyone involved which has led to the most significant increase in adults being more active.  The campaigns from Active Essex such as the 30:30 challenge (30 mins activity for 30 days), our partnerships with local sports clubs and physical activity organisations who are providing every resident the chance to participate and Fusion Lifestyle who design sport and activity opportunities across the district for all, have all helped fulfil our aim of getting more people more active. Working with partners in this way will really help the Active Essex vision to get 1 million people in our county active.”


Councillor Peter Tattersley, Cabinet Member for Health & Communities said, “We designed our BeWell Strategy to be simple but effective, because we understand that being active can improve people’s general physical and mental well-being. Our multi-agency approach to getting people active has had tremendous results and we will continue to strengthen our relationship with partners and build on the success of our livewell campaign.”

The Council’s BeWell Strategy focuses on four priorities; getting people active and increasing participation in competitive sport, enabling the right facilities and engaging people and inspiring people to make a change.


  Sport England Active Lives Survey   Change compared to baseline (2015)
  Active (150+ minutes a week) Fairly Active (30-149 minutes a week) Inactive (<30 minutes a week)
  Absolute Significance Absolute Significance Absolute Significance
All adults (aged 16+) 0.2% No change 0.1% No change -0.4% Decrease
East 0.5% No change -0.8% No change 0.3% No change
Greater Essex 1.0% No Change -0.5% No Change -0.6% No Change
Southend-on-Sea 1.1% No Change 0.7% No Change -1.7% No Change
Thurrock 6.2% Increase -1.9% No Change -4.3% Decrease
Basildon -4.1% Decrease 1.9% No Change 2.2% Increase
Braintree 16.1% Increase -8.9% Decrease -7.2% Decrease
Brentwood -2.9% Decrease -1.9% No Change 4.8% Increase
Castle Point -6.3% Decrease 1.7% No Change 4.6% Increase
Chelmsford -2.5% Decrease 1.9% No Change 0.6% No Change
Colchester -4.4% Decrease 2.6% Increase 1.9% No Change
Epping Forest -1.4% No Change -2.6% Decrease 4.0% Increase
Harlow -1.6% No Change 2.5% Increase -0.9% No Change
Maldon 5.0% Increase -3.0% Decrease -2.0% Decrease
Rochford 5.7% Increase -6.4% Decrease 0.7% No Change
Tendring 1.8% No Change 4.0% Increase -5.7% Decrease
Uttlesford 3.2% Increase -2.2% Decrease -1.0% No Change


Livewell website


–       livewell website launched in January 2018 acts as the countywide one stop shop for everything residents need to know about local health initiatives and activities in Essex.

–       All local authorities and health partners are working collaboratively for the first time to promote public health advice tailored to the needs of the local population.

–       One of the website’s aims is to encourage Essex residents to be more active and to make healthier lifestyle choices for themselves and their families.

–       The website focuses on the issues that are prevalent in the county so that issues affecting the 12 local authority areas can be tackled more effectively.

–       Residents can follow the conversation on the livewell Twitter @livewellLocal and Facebook and Instagram accounts @livewell Campaign.


Case study: Braintree Walking Netball (picture attached)

The Braintree Walking Netball club, which has been running for just over 2 and a half years, has seen its membership go from 8 people to just under 40 people.

It was founded by Mandy Elder who wanted to offer her friends and family the opportunity to play a sports game despite their previous injuries. She decided to start the first walking netball club in April 2016.

Mandy Elder says: “Walking netball has been designed so that anyone can play regardless of age, experience or fitness ability. Many of our members had never played, others had not played since school. The club’s success is due to the fact that the sessions are very inclusive and friendly regardless of ability, players who have injuries and need to rehabilitate can still play the game and it is a great way to socialise and make friends.”

  active_awards_banner Source: Braintree District Council
IMG_5472 (2)

Community Iron Grab Gold In Active Braintree Sports Awards.

IMG_5472 (2)This week we was named winners of best physical active project 2018 at the active Braintree Sports Award. Speaking to the Braintree & Witham Times Alan Stucky said ““This award is recognition of the way that Community Iron has grown in the last four years from a very small offshoot of running an education programme to getting much more involved in the wider community.” “Our mission is to encourage all people to participate and be interested in active sport and wellness. “There is a lot of work going on in schools as well as at the Discovery Centre; we have badminton for older people, walking football and so on – there’s a really wide range of sporting activities. “You have to pay tribute to Mark (Sansom) in taking all these initiatives and making them run and he has been backed by our small group of trustees, who find the money to allow all this to go on. “It has been a very successful four years. “We’ve gone from very few events to five to six hundred events a year now.” Community Iron Operations Director Mark Sansom said: “Seeing kids going through what they are, you realise how important your health is. “It has inspired me to do even more because you see kids in hospitals going through things that they shouldn’t be going through. “It has given me a real kick up the backside to push it on further. “We’re raising money through Community Iron and I’m in the process of contacting Broomfield Hospital in Chelmsford to see if we can go in to do something in their children’s ward. “We just want to help give the kids another focus to help them in what they are going through. “I certainly never thought I’d win the One in a Million award because that’s not the way I see myself; I just do what I do because I want to see happiness on other people’s faces. “I don’t put myself up there, but through Community Iron, it’s just about helping as many people as we can and letting people realise the opportunities they have. To be recognised for that is huge and we’ll strive to make it even bigger next year.” Sansom added: “I would like to thank an amazing team that I work with on a daily basis, they are what makes Community Iron such an enjoyable project to be a part of; we all believe in the same things and want to help a change. “But again, we must not lose sight of our wider audience and I cannot thank the people of the Braintree District enough for their support in our project. “On a personal note, I would like to thank everyone involved in the selection of these awards and also the trustees for their support and belief in me as I continue to grow the Community Iron story.” If you want to get involved with Community Iron please click here  
Walking Football Friendly

Community Iron Walking Football 1-0 Clacton Walking Football

On the 26th October we played our first friendly against Clacton Walking Football following a treacherous journey due to A12 closures and bad traffic. We arrived late which made pre match preparation very difficult on a bitterly cold sandy pitch. We played 4 ten minute quarters enabling us to rotate the squad and in the forth quarter with only minutes to go Mark Sansom squeezes  the ball inside the goalkeeper from a very acute angle to the score the only goal of the game. More friendlies lined up soon. If you would like to get involved please visit here Walking Football Friendly

The Real Reason We Wear The Poppy


The Real Reason Why We Wear The Poppy

  November 7th, 1920, in strictest secrecy, four unidentified British bodies were exhumed from temporary battlefield cemeteries at Ypres, Arras, the Asine and the Somme. None of the soldiers who did the digging were told why. The bodies were taken by field ambulance to GHQ at St-Pol-Sur-Ter Noise. Once there, the bodies were draped with the union flag. Sentries were posted and Brigadier-General Wyatt and a Colonel Gell selected one body at random. The other three were reburied. A French Honour Guard was selected and stood by the coffin overnight of the chosen soldier overnight. On the morning of the 8th November, a specially designed coffin made of oak from the grounds of Hampton Court arrived and the Unknown Warrior was placed inside. On top was placed a crusaders sword and a shield on which was inscribed: “A British Warrior who fell in the GREAT WAR 1914-1918 for King and Country”. On the 9th of November, the Unknown Warrior was taken by horse-drawn carriage through Guards of Honour and the sound of tolling bells and bugle calls to the quayside. There, he was saluted by Marechal Foche and loaded onto HMS Vernon bound for Dover. The coffin stood on the deck covered in wreaths, surrounded by the French Honour Guard. Upon arrival at Dover, the Unknown Warrior was met with a nineteen gun salute – something that was normally only reserved for Field Marshals. A special train had been arranged and he was then conveyed to Victoria Station, London. He remained there overnight, and, on the morning of the 11th of November, he was finally taken to Westminster Abbey. The idea of the unknown warrior was thought of by a Padre called David Railton who had served on the front line during the Great War the union flag he had used as an altar cloth whilst at the front, was the one that had been draped over the coffin. It was his intention that all of the relatives of the 517,773 combatants whose bodies had not been identified could believe that the Unknown Warrior could very well be their lost husband, father, brother or son…   THIS is the reason we wear poppies. We do not glorify war. We remember – with humility – the great and the ultimate sacrifices that were made, not just in this war, but in every war and conflict where our service personnel have fought – to ensure the liberty and freedoms that we now take for granted. Every year, on the 11th of November, we  remember the Unknown Warrior.   At the going down of the sun, and in the morning, we will remember them   Solider standing over poppy field

Jacob Jones Family Fun Day – Smiles All Around!

Jacob Jones Logo FinalA big thank you to all those that attended our Fun day on Easter Sunday. With your help we managed to raise over £1000. This money will now be used to fund our Jacob Jones smiling on others day, where we are hoping to take three children who are battling Neuroblastoma and their families to Paradise Wildlife park on Friday 13th April. A big Congratulations to our raffle winners
  • 1st place prize of our hamper went to Maggie
  • 2nd prize of our gardening hamper went to Beverley
  • 3rd prize of the animal cushions went to Farrell.
We would like to say a massive thank you to everyone that donated their time or prizes for the day. We would like to thank Asda Witham for all our Easter eggs, Mack’s barbers , Bronzed and beautiful,  Namco Braintree, Horse and Groom Braintree and Chris Bojan for donating to our hamper, party masters for the play bus, inflatables and photo booth Richard and Alan from our walking football club for running the dads penalty competition, every one at Innovation majorettes , Toby and Harriett for showing us Boccia, Sindy and Ian for bringing the ice cream van, Once upon face paints, Kev Edwards, Steve Dyball, Darrell Weller and Rhys Mallett  for their demonstration and we wish you all the best for June when they will be riding their bikes from Lands end to Braintree, Christian Frimpong representing Samsonnite entertainment showcasing their new silent disco, Colin siebert and his team at Econoprint for all the artwork and printing requirements for our fun day, Aaron Whitnall for recording our event and sorting out our trip to Paradise Wildlife Park and of course we would like to thank all the team at Benton Hall Golf and country club for allowing us to use the facility and the events that they put on throughout the day.  
  • A massive thank you to the team at Community Iron for their work to ensure the day was such a success.

SSE Wildcats Session Coming Soon!! (16th April 2018)

The Football Association and SSE have launched an initiative designed to inspire girls aged between 5-11 to be involved in football. SSE Wildcats Girls Football Centres from The FA provide girls with regular opportunities to play football and take part in organised sessions in a fun and engaging environment. 200 clubs were established across England in 2017 and a further 800 are in place in 2018. Community Iron are delighted to be part of this fantastic program, simply click on the link to book your Daughter on for the opening session.

Community Iron – Level One Coaching Badge

imagesCommunity Iron are delighted to give the community the opportunity to help develop Grass Roots Football. We will be running an FA Level 1 in Coaching Football course starting in May 2018,  and it is open to all to take part, so if you would like to increase your coaching knowledge to help develop local youngsters then please book on. If you have any questions or would like to discuss this further please feel free to contact us on 01376 330976. The FA Level 1 in Coaching Football is the first stepping-stone on the core coaching pathway. It will provide you with an introduction to coaching the game and working with players from under 7 to open age. You will gain an insight into the game in England, how it is played and how you can coach to better support the development of future players. The England DNA (How We Coach, How We Play, How We Support and The Future Player); The FA 4 Corner Player Development Model which will help you gain a better understanding of the long-term development of your players as a whole person; The FA Plan, Do, Review Model, helping you construct appropriate practices and sessions for your players; and a series of practical coaching ideas, giving you the ability to recognise the various ingredients that make up safe, fun and engaging practices to help your players develop. The course of learning is made up of eight guided learning, face-to-face workshops covering a range of topics linked to the England DNA, as well as some directed learning opportunities via three e-learning modules hosted on The FA Learning Management System (LMS). The e-learning modules cover core topics including the role of the coach, long-term player development and The FA Plan, Do, Review model.
FA Coaching Badges

NLT U’11’s Girls Tournament Won By WHITE COURTS SCHOOL!

Congratulations to White Court School U11 Girls February 8th 2018 saw Community Iron hold the first National League Trust U11’s Girls Tournament, with five teams entering in total including Lyons Hall School, John Ray School, Notley Green White’s and Notley Green Green’s battle it out in a round robin format with the top two teams playing out in a final, the final was a very cagey affair that finished with a nerve racking penalty shoot out, that then went to sudden death, with the winning penalty being scored by White Courts. This means White Courts will now go on to represent Braintree Town in the regional finals, with the chance of a dream trip to Wembley in May this year. Well done to all who entered it was a great day and showcase for girls football in the town.

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