Hackney chosen to trail-blaze new ways of transforming sport and physical activity in England
Hackney Council has been awarded a share of £100m from Sport England to transform levels of health and exercise in one of the borough’s most inactive wards, and work on a bold new approach to build healthier, more active communities across England.
Around £100million of National Lottery funding will be invested in 12 pilot schemes over four years, to create innovative partnerships that make it easier for people in these communities to access sport and physical activity, including better collaboration between a wider range of local organisations, including voluntary groups, social enterprises, local authorities, faith organisations, schools, GPs and parenting groups.
Latest research 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 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.
Hackney Council will use the money to focus initially on three areas of the Kings Park Ward, and in particular the Clapton Park and Kingsmead estates, before rolling out what it learns into the rest of the borough.
Residents in Kings Park tend to experience poorer health than the rest of the borough, including higher rates of hospital admissions and high rates of diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
We already do so much to promote physical activity in Hackney, including our £1 fitness classes, creating active neighbourhoods, the Daily Mile and Bike Around the Borough, but it’s clear that some people are still being left behind.
That’s why we’re thrilled to have been awarded this funding, which we want to use to transform the physical activity of people who live in and around the east of the borough, where there are significant health inequalities. While it will take time, we want to work with residents in new ways to use the power of exercise and physical activity to connect communities with each other, the fantastic facilities around them and the life-changing benefits of better fitness and health. We’ll then be able to use what we learn in Kings Park to promote better health and physical activity across the whole borough. We will be working closely with local partners, but most importantly with the community itself, and we will be led by what we learn from them.
Minister for Sport Tracey Crouch welcomed the news at the Local Government Associations’ Sport and Physical Activity conference in London today, Tuesday 5 December.
Minister for Sport Tracey Crouch said: "Sport is a powerful tool that helps strengthen communities and improves physical and mental health. So it is right that we look to do all we can to encourage people to take part. Sport England will invest up to £100 million of funding, thanks to National Lottery players, to pilot innovative projects in 12 places to get more people from all backgrounds involved in sport and physical activity. We will look to replicate and scale up learning from the pilots across the country. I look forward to seeing these projects in action."
Jennie Price, Sport England Chief Executive said: “We are delighted that Hackney will be working with us on this ground-breaking investment. We want to get to the heart of the issues that stop people being as active as they might like to be, and work alongside every part of the community and the groups and institutions in Hackney that support them.
“This is not all about sport - we’re prepared to look at wider issues like transport, childcare, how easy it is to walk or cycle - whatever that community feels is most relevant to them. The process to be appointed as a pilot area for this work was incredibly competitive, and Hackney has emerged from a very strong field. I am really delighted to be working with them.”