Active Sussex has been awarded £40,000 from Sport England as part of a grant to invest in developing a workforce infrastructure to tackle physical inactivity in Sussex. We plan to use this funding to invest in a Rother workforce pilot to gain a better understanding of how to tackle inactivity.
As part of our primary role, we are tasked with encouraging inactive local people to get involved in regular physical activity. Based on our research into activity levels in the county, we identified Rother in East Sussex has having some of the most inactive wards in the county. This includes wards such as Sidley that has inactivity levels of 69% and a risk of inactivity of 96%.
With such a pronounced level of inactivity coupled with an area of high aggregated need, Rother was the obvious choice to focus on when looking at developing the sport and activity workforce to tackle inactivity. In this area, we know we need a new approach to get local people active and we know we’ll need clubs, coaches, volunteers and a professional workforce who can motivate people to lace up their trainers and get active.
A big part of our work in Rother will be working with local partners to better understand the locality and to get an ear-to-the-ground about barriers local people are facing to exercise and activity. We will therefore be working with Rother District Council and the Active Rother Partnership to support their work in promoting behaviour change both among local people and sport and physical activity providers.
Promoting a ‘people like me’ approach
We are undertaking this work in Rother in the hope that by working with local partners we will better understand our audience and also understand the needs of clubs, coaches, volunteers and professional workforce operating in the area. By using a 'people like me' approach we want to match workforce need with residents’ needs to change local attitudes and behaviours around physical activity.
Chief Executive of Active Sussex Sadie Mason MBE said, “We are delighted to be able to invest in better understanding local people’s needs in our most inactive communities.
“Our priority is to make sure that we have the right workforce in place to motivate residents of all ages and abilities to take up physical activity and to sustain this over time.
We are really looking forward to working closely with Rother District Council and partners in the Active Rother Partnership to achieve a clearer understanding of the barriers to physical activity in the area and how a well-trained workforce can address these.”
Cllr Ian Jenkins, Rother District Council cabinet member for young people, sport and leisure, said: “There are so many benefits to playing sport and becoming more active.
“We therefore look forward to working with Active Sussex on an exciting pilot project to learn how we can encourage more residents to be active, and in particularly looking at the workforce needed to help this to happen.”
We expect the pilot project to run until March 2019 in Rother. If the pilot work is successful, we plan to expand the investment model into other priority areas beyond April 2019.