Being active, more often, will help reduce health inequalities across the borough.
That’s the vision of the Council’s first ever Sport and Physical Activity Strategy for the borough.
It seems simple, doesn’t it? And it is. We all know the mantra of moving more will help you lead a healthier life. So why don’t we? What are the barriers?
In the strategy, developed following discussions with local people and organisations, and following the Sport England strategic outcome planning model, there were six themes raised as barriers to being active locally that need to be overcome:
- Motivation: includes anxiety, lack of confidence as well as “physical exercise isn’t for me”
- Life realities: indirect costs, affordability of travel, equipment and clothes
- Awareness of opportunities: how we can let people know what activities are taking place
- Cultural barriers: either no role models in households, or a reluctance to travel to different areas and facilities
- Resources: pressures on time and money mean physical activity isn’t a priority
- Transport: lack of personal transport or limited public transport at relevant times.
Additionally, the strategy supports Sport England Uniting the Movement vision to transform lives and communities through sport and physical activity. The strategy acknowledges where people may need more support to be active, there can be a focus of resources on priority locations and groups.
In addition to the barriers to being more active, the financial pressures across the sport, physical activity and leisure sector have increased in recent years with aspects like inflation, rises to energy bills, and fewer people with the resources to pay regularly for sport or physical activity because of their own financial pressures also contributing.
Cllr Hayden Dawkins, Cabinet member for leisure and sport, said: “It’s important for the Council to identify where resources should be prioritised to have the greatest impact on increasing activity levels. By doing this, and working with partners, we can help to make a significant impact on people’s long-term health and wellbeing.”
The strategy sets key ambitions over the next 5-years that are grouped under four key themes:
- Active Economy – develop a sport and leisure sector that attracts people to our area.
- Active Communities – support local delivery of physical activity facilities and services in communities which will benefit most.
- Active Health & Wellbeing – support physical activity opportunities throughout people’s lives, so everyone in North East Lincolnshire enjoys healthy lives.
- Active Climate & Environment – develop a more active environment that supports people to enjoy being active across our open spaces and contributes to reduced carbon emissions.
To take the work forward, a five-year delivery plan has been created, which focuses on priority areas that, taken in turn, can make the biggest impact.
- working with employers and various communities and groups to see how they can lead some of the work in their areas;
- looking at the provision of leisure facilities, parks and open spaces across the borough to see how the use could be improved;
- building relationships and networks between groups to help communications and seeking funding opportunities;
- the importance of physical activity within education settings and partnerships with health and care sector;
- developing a more targeted approach to local priority groups and locations;
- looking at active travel opportunities.
Cllr Dawkins continued: “It’s only by finding out what the barriers and problems are that you can start to address them. We all have to start somewhere, whether that’s learning to swim or ride a bike, or understanding how we can help people to live more active, healthier lives. Alongside the work we’re doing to deliver new football pitches at Clee Fields, and new tennis courts across the borough, this strategy will help stream our work to deliver things that will really make a difference to people’s lives.”