Sometimes the sport and physical activity landscape can seem overly confusing because there are more people than ever before who share a common mission to get more people, more active to improve the health of the nation.
Alongside this, the health landscape has changed dramatically since the Health and Social Care Act 2012 so, to an outsider, can seem difficult to navigate and engage with.
However, we all know that being physically active has enormous health, social and economic benefits and with the new strategic landscape, we need to work in partnership with the wider sector, and with central and local government, to address the challenges we face with real action.
Luckily, there are an increasing number of enlightened leaders of organisations who simply want to move the sport, recreation and physical activity sector forward and recognise that collaboration is the way to make it happen.
In 2014 our organisations, the Sport and Recreation Alliance and ukactive, produced a joint report on the external health landscape and we firmly believe that the work of all of our members over the past several years that has been key to the Government laying the foundations to make physical activity a top priority.
But things are changing every day and two things are crucial:
· we need to continue to understand the ever changing landscape and get to grips with the wider health and wellbeing context;
· and we need to work in partnership because we are more effective when the sector approaches new challenges and opportunities as one.
It is with both of these areas in mind that the Sport and Recreation Alliance and ukactive have developed and will be launching next week, the Physical Activity and Health report, in order to give our members a refreshed and updated understanding of this changing landscape and how to best access the opportunities it presents.
For example, we know that the health sector has already doubled local authority spending on public health grants for physical activity programmes (from 2% to 4%), and the long-term benefits of health and physical activity are clear to see. New models of commissioning and delivery are emerging at the local level which could create opportunities of the sector, but not without substantial consideration. The new sports strategies put significant dedicated funding towards tackling physical inactivity – which opens up more doors and will allow for truly cross-sector partnerships involving a variety of public, private and third sector partners.
There is already a lot of great work taking place in the sport, recreation and physical activity sector but we now need to make sure we are working in partnership with the wider public health and wellbeing sector. There are top-tier local authorities who have been earmarked for large-scale health and wellbeing projects and they will need to partner with a variety of local and national providers in order to really have an impact.
We hope that this new report will be a resource that will help us all work more effectively building on the growing interest and assets of the health and wellbeing sector. We want it to be a useful tool for our members to use, and we will be sharing it with the wider health community, as sport, physical activity and health become ever-closer linked in the nation’s ambition to get more people, more active, more often.
We also expect this to be the start of an ever closer working relationship between the Sport and Recreation Alliance and ukactive. Our organisations have a very complimentary network and membership that want the same goals. Our duty is to help them achieve that, together.
The Physical Activity and Health report will be published at a breakfast briefing on 8 July. For more information contact Hannah Dobbin