Thursday 17th December was supposed to be all about Star Wars but we awoke to an early Christmas present in the form of the government’s new sport strategy Sporting Future: A New Strategy for an Active Nation. This is the first sport strategy released by the government for 13 years so certainly was an exciting day as this will help shape our ideas and potential investment opportunities moving forward. Chris Greenhalgh, Policy & Participation Lead has given his thoughts:
Firstly just having a cross-departmental sport strategy is a huge step forward. The consultation exercise seems to have been a productive one as on the whole the feedback on social media has been positive. It clearly shows the potential sport and physical activity has to benefit both health and wellbeing link directly with our aim of providing Leisure for Life. Secondly it illustrates that what we are offering currently and planning for the future links with the government’s thinking which will hopefully be what is wanted by our existing and potential new customers.
I have picked out a few key areas from the strategy and how they will link with our programmes.
The entire strategy is built on achieving five outcomes. They are:
- physical wellbeing;
- mental wellbeing;
- individual development;
- social and community development; and
- economic development.
We all know a healthy active lifestyle can have major benefits to our physical and mental health. As well as core offer we have a number of highly skilled staff who can help provide confidential one-to-one support and guidance to adults who specifically want to improve their health through our Everybody Healthy programme.
Sport England’s remit will move down to 5 years and over from 14+ currently. We are already offering activities for families and children in our centres but we believe that healthy recreation is a lifelong habit. We are planning holiday camps for 2016 and supporting our partner clubs to engage with more people.
Both swimming and cycling are key life skills, there is an emphasis on children being able to swim and cycle by the time they leave primary school. We can support this through swimming lessons as well as by offering Bikeability and swimming provision to schools.
Exercise is a habit for life therefore there will be an emphasis on keeping people active for longer. We already offer sessions such as Nordic Walking and Walking Football and are looking to expand these programmes through 2016.
Similarly for people with disabilities and their families. We understand that there are barriers in place but we try and make leisure time fun through the sessions we offer.
Ensuring that women and girls have the opportunities to participate is vital so we support Sport England’s This Girl Can campaign.
We understand that work forms a large part of many people’s lives therefore we are currently developing an Active Workforce programme to offer employers the chance to directly support their employees to exercise. In addition we already offer a corporate membership scheme for many companies, click on the link to find out if your company is already registered or to see how they can.
A new volunteering strategy is to be developed to try and recapture the magic of London 2012 where the Games Makers were arguably the most successful aspect of the games. This will link in to the Everybody Volunteer Programme once it is developed in 2016.
Having the right facilities in the right places are key therefore putting multiple community facilities under one roof makes sense. Our first such facility will be Crewe Lifestyle Centre which will open in April 2016.
There will be funding attached to some of the areas which will be detailed over the next 12 months.
There are lots of other areas covered within this strategy. To read the full strategy click on the link to download.
If you have any suggestions of any ways we can enhance our offer mentioned above please get in touch with your ideas especially if you would like to be involved in developing them. www.everybody.org.uk/contact/