Active Lancashire conference showcases the power of local partnerships in Activating Lancashire

Active Lancashire drew together people from over 70 organisations to Stanley House in Blackburn to explore opportunities to work together for the benefit of people across the county.

The conference, Transformational Partnerships: Activating Lancashire Together, aimed to foster even stronger relationships between Lancashire organisations connected to sports, physical activity, health and wellbeing, as well as demonstrate their positive impact through behaviour change on individuals and organizations with real examples.

Taking place on 14th June 2023, the event served as a platform to highlight innovative and sustainable initiatives that empower local communities, demonstrating the tangible impact achieved through collective efforts.

The event, hosted by Richard Slater of Lancashire Business View, took place at Stanley House Hotel and Spa in Blackburn. Distinguished speakers included Dr Sakthi Karunanithi, Director of Public Health at Lancashire County Council; Miranda Barker OBE, Chief Executive of East Lancashire Chamber of Commerce; Justine Blomeley, Strategic Lead - Place Directorate for Sport England; and Mike Farrar, former Chief Executive of the NHS Confederation and Chair of UK Active, who introduced the event.

In his speech, Mike emphasized the importance of sustained efforts to promote the long-term advantages of physical activity, such as reducing workplace sickness. However, he also stressed that partners must actively engage in conversations that tackle the pressing top-level priorities too. By addressing these immediate concerns, Mike believes partnerships can have an even greater impact on a local and national scale.

He said, "It really is an important opportunity to see so many of you here with a sole purpose of thinking about how if we could get more people active, it could have enormous benefits to the rest of the country and the rest of our economy."

Dr Karunanithi delivered a key note speech about the state of health in Lancashire, touching on how people’s lived experiences can change for the better through activity and making the most of Lancashire’s natural assets with social prescribing.

He closed by saying, "We often think about hard to reach communities - I'd argue they are just hardly reached by us. We need to constantly think about the unable, or the unwelcome... That is a challenge we all play a part in addressing.”

“It needs to be a collective social responsibility where the institutions of the state - local and national - work with the market and the economy, as well as civic society in general. It needs to be much more mobilised if we truly are to activate Lancashire."

Special guests from Onward Homes, Creative Football, GLL, The Cardboard Box Company and Active Lancashire were also invited to the event to share their success stories, highlighting how local partnerships that are centered around activity and movement have transformed countless lives. These partnerships have resulted in various positive outcomes, such as improved workplace health, skill development, enhanced community connections, and helping individuals overcome personal barriers.

Active Lancashire’s Chief Executive Adrian Leather later presented about Lancashire 2050 and the part the organisation and its partners play within this. He also introduced a new brand for Active Lancashire, which is set to officially launch in September. The new brand aims to further engage, empower and enable local people, partnerships and communities in line with the organisation’s Decade of Movement strategy, which aims to embed a culture of health and wellbeing in the county.

The event also included an interactive session that aimed to encourage guests to think of ways to collaborate and create system change

As the event drew to a close, guests were invited to commit themselves to the cause by writing down a pledge outlining their commitment to utilizing transformational partnerships to "activate Lancashire" collectively. The event was closed by Active Lancashire’s board chairman, Brian Cookson, who summarised the main discussion points of the day.

Active Lancashire plan to run a series of further events focussing on a range of topics as part of their work facilitating positive change through their many partnerships.

Main photo credit: Several of the guest speakers (from left); Michael Manley (Partnership Manager, GLL), Omar Khan (Active Lancashire), Adrian Leather (CEO of Active Lancashire), Miranda Barker (Chief Executive of East Lancashire Chamber of Commerce), Mike Farrar (Chair of UK Active), Brian Cookson OBE (Chair of Active Lancashire’s board), Justine Blomeley (Strategic Lead, Sport England) and Jill Stazicker (MPT Steps Team Leader, Onward Homes).

Active Partnerships
Lancashire and South Cumbria Health and Care Partnership
Funded by UK Government Levelling Up