Everybody wants a more active nation
Sport England have followed the government’s Sporting Future: A New Strategy for an Active Nation with a new strategy of their own Towards an Active Nation.
Chris Greenhalgh, Policy & Participation Lead gives his initial analysis:
The main focus is tackling inactivity with 25% (over £250 million) of their funding targeting this area. Backed by scientific evidence they acknowledge that moving from being inactive (no physical activity) to doing around 100 minutes of physical activity per week has the greatest benefit to health. However any increase in physical activity has a direct benefit to health especially reducing risk of chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, some of the most common cancers and many mental health conditions.
Understanding behaviour change is also important to understand when delivering physical activity. There are two stages ‘thinking about it – contemplation’ and ‘planning to do something soon – preparation’ before people even take part in any physical activity. At Everybody we can offer you support through our website and at our centres to let you know what is available and how you access it. Then we can support you during your chosen activities by providing a good experience once you start and ongoing support system.
Taking physical activity to the mass market is looking to make activities accessible and tailored to the potential participants. The reference to ‘making it as easy as possible to book a badminton court’ is an area we have developed with our online bookings for classes and activities. However we can always do more which is where you can help by suggesting ideas we can implement to make our offer to you better.
They acknowledge that a third of the adult population already have a physical activity habit however there is a need to help them on their individual journey. This illustrates that what people do as young people will change at different points as they pass through life phases including work commitments, starting a family and retirement to name a few. We understand this and offer increased facility opening times to promote this with varying activities including swimming, fitness classes and sports sessions as well as various membership options including family packages.
A good example is walking football which has grown over the last few years and we will soon be hosting seven at our sites with support from funding from Active Cheshire. The programme is aimed at men aged 50+ who are looking for a social football based session.
Volunteering is a key area of our business. Last year we supported 120 volunteers to undertake 6,486 voluntary hours. We understand that volunteers get as much from their volunteering as the participants do. In addition we’ve identified that volunteering with Everybody can help tackle inactivity as the experience is often an active one and may appeal to people that participating in physical activity doesn’t. If this sounds like it might be of interest see how you could get involved.
Investment will also be channeled into:
- Children and young people from the age of five to build positive attitudes to sport and activity as the foundations of an active life
- Helping those who are active now to carry on, but at lower cost to the public purse over time. Sport England will work with those parts of the sector that serve the core market to help them identify ways in which they can become more sustainable and self-sufficient
- The facilities where people play sport have a big impact on their experience and the likelihood they will come back regularly. Sport England will continue to invest in all types of facilities, with a strong presumption in favour of multi-sport for their major strategic investments.