Participation in Sport and Active Recreation

Suffolk activity programme one of the best in the country

Thanks to Live Well Suffolk’s ‘Get Healthy Get into Sport’ service, 50% of clients going through the initiative are now engaging regularly with physical activity, achieving the Sport England target of taking part in at least 30 minutes of sporting activity a week. It was also found to help people to quit smoking and manage their weight and its success has seen new physical activity courses introduced to communities in response to local demand.

The programme is one of 38 good practice case studies that have been showcased in a report commissioned and published by Public Health England and UK Active. The report looked at 952 physical activity initiatives across England to identify those that are most effective, making it one of the largest surveys of physical activity programmes ever to be conducted.

Project co-ordinator, Jimmy Rushworth, said: “We’re absolutely delighted that the service has been recognised as an example of best practice and we hope similar programmes will be replicated around the UK as a result of our work.

“The Get Healthy Get into Sport service is offered as an extension to our smoking cessation, health coach and weight management services. We ask participants about their activity levels, find out what might be preventing them from taking part in regular physical activity and ask which sports they would like to have a go at. We then try to help clients to overcome any barriers they may be experiencing, which vary from cost and confidence to awareness of local sessions. This way, we give clients the practical support they need to access the activities they are interested in.”

Live Well Suffolk has developed an extensive partnership with 75 sports and activity providers across the county, who signpost clients to approximately 300 varied physical activity sessions.

Get Healthy Get Into Sport is an initiative funded by Sport England. Last year Suffolk County Council bid for funding in partnership with Live Well Suffolk. The healthy lifestyles service delivers 80% of the Suffolk Get Healthy Get into Sport programme which aims to support 1500 clients into local physical activity over a three year period.

Describing the impact of Live Well Suffolk’s Get Healthy Get into Sport initiative, the report said: “The programme has demonstrated a positive impact with 53% of clients more active at three and six months after the initial intervention. As a result these clients have transitioned out of the inactive threshold. Accessing community sport and provision has also aided many peoples weight loss as a way to burn calories as well as helping smoking cessation by relieving stress.”

Cllr Alan Murray, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for health and adult care said “The Suffolk Get Healthy Get into Sport project is demonstrating that sport has an important role to play in encouraging inactive people to adopt a more active lifestyle. This is important because being physically active not only improves the health, wellbeing and quality of life of the individual concerned but also helps to directly reduce the burden on health and social care services. The Suffolk Get Healthy Get into Sport project is making an important and measurable contribution to our ambition of becoming the most active county in England.”

For more information about Live Well Suffolk’s physical activity, weight management and stop smoking services, visit www.livewellsuffolk.org.uk or call 01473 229292.