Sport England is trialling bold new approach to build healthier, more active communities across England. Latest research[i] shows that a quarter of the general population (11.5 million people) are inactive, meaning they do less than 30 minutes of exercise that gets them slightly out of breath each week, with certain groups such as those in lower paid jobs, women and the disabled disproportionately affected.
By investing up to £100m in 12 pilot areas, fostering innovative partnerships and focusing on those furthest from being active, it wants to learn how to make it easier for people in places everywhere to benefit from sport and physical activity.
(Image: Sport England)
One of the areas chosen is Southall in West London. Southall was put forward for the pilot because it has a number of challenges which could contribute to residents being less physically active (for example, significant levels of deprivation, with higher levels of unemployment and lower incomes than surrounding areas, plus bigger households and more homes with dependent children), but also because of its ethnic diversity, real sense of community and strong entrepreneurial spirit.
Uscreates are delighted to be part of the team working with a wider partnership (including Ealing Council, the NHS and other public services, many community organisations, businesses, charities and faith groups) to harness that entrepreneurial spirit to help the community to develop its own long term solutions, which will help people to make lasting changes to their lifestyles.
By focusing intensely in 12 areas, Sport England and the local partners want to identify better ways to address these stubborn inequalities and break down the barriers that stop people getting active, such as poor transport, safety, cost and confidence.
It wants to encourage wider, collaborative partnerships which look at how all parts of a community can better work together to help the most inactive – from the transport links and street lighting to the quality of parks and open spaces, to how sport and activity is promoted by GPs.
Central to the pilots will be ongoing monitored and evaluation so that other locations can learn what works and why, and equally what doesn’t work and why, so that other locations can benefit. Sport England is developing a “community of learning” through which this understanding will be shared across the country.
[i] Source: Sport England’s Active Lives Survey May 2016- May 2017