Active Lancashire, the county’s strategic lead for sport and physical activity has released its new 10-year strategy today, Monday 1st November 2021.
Focusing on the organisation’s vision of a future where every person in Lancashire has access to, and benefits from, physical activity, the ‘Decade of Movement’ strategy progresses the charity from its roots as a sports partnership to a key part of the county’s health and wellbeing landscape.
In Lancashire, 29% of the 1.5m adult population is inactive and a third of children and young people active for less than 30 minutes per day*. With a clear link between physical inactivity and poor health, this puts a huge strain on the county’s health services and the levels of life expectancy. In Lancashire, life expectancy for males is 78.5 and females is 82.3, lower than the national levels of 79.8 (males) and 83.4 (females). In some areas such as Blackpool, life expectancy drops as low as 74.5 (males) and 79.5 (females)**.
Not only this, but the deficit of economically inactive residents aged 50+ in Lancashire (those who are not in employment who have not been seeking work in the last 4 weeks), compared with national levels, represents a GDP under-performance of £340m***.
As outlined in the new strategy, by increasing the rate of physical activity across all communities within Lancashire and working with a number of committed partners to achieve this, Active Lancashire will help the county recover from the pandemic and progress towards a healthier future.
The Leyland-based charity was founded in 2000 as ‘Lancashire Sport Partnership’, funded solely by Sport England. Over the last two decades, a number of successful funding applications have led to the development of key programmes such as the Challenge Through Sport Initiative (CSI), alongside the EU-funded More Positive Together (MPT) and Business Health Matters programmes. In addition, further funding from Sport England has increased the number of projects delivered such as the Tackling Inequalities Fund and Spar School Games, as well as funding from the Department for Work and Pensions to provide further support to those wishing to gain employment. Today, Active Lancashire employs over 50 members of staff and works with local, regional and national partners to deliver life-changing health, physical activity and employability projects across Lancashire.
Marking this evolution, Active Lancashire’s Chief Executive, Adrian Leather explains: “We have come a long way over the past 20 years and this new strategy aligns our goals with those around us both locally and nationally. We are very proud to be from Lancashire with its rich history and vibrant communities but we are acutely aware of the challenges and inequalities we have too. The pandemic has amplified these inequalities to new levels and has made significant, long-term impacts on the mental and physical health of our residents.”
“Our new strategy released today is a big step forward in us playing a major part in the recovery and our team is looking forward to the impact it can have.”
Dr Sakthi Karunanithi, Director of Public Health for Lancashire County Council, added: “Being active throughout our lives has been repeatedly shown in numerous studies to bring not just health benefits but also wider social and economic benefits to individuals and our county. We are blessed in Lancashire to have so many opportunities to be more active and enjoy our green spaces. I welcome the 'We Are Active Lancashire' campaign and I am really looking forward to working with Active Lancashire and our partners in helping people lead more active and healthier lives.”
*Sport England: https://www.sportengland.org/know-your-audience/data/active-lives
** Life Expectancy, LCC: https://www.lancashire.gov.uk/lancashire-insight/health-and-care/health/health-inequalities/life-expectancy/