More active adults reported in Suffolk compared to the national average
Posted: Thu, 29 Apr 2021 14:07
The latest Active Lives data released by Sport England today, show adults in Suffolk to be more active than the national average. The survey has reported that 61.4% of adults across the country are meeting the physical activity guidelines set by the Chief Medical Officer, which after a very challenging year for the country due to the pandemic not surprisingly shows a significant decrease over the last 12 months. However, for Suffolk 63.2% of adults are classified as active, which is a slight improvement in the direction of travel compared to last year's figures. Overall, the figures show that Suffolk is the only Active Partnership area to show a statistically significant increase in the number of active people since 2015/16, when the Active Lives survey was first produced, which is very encouraging and shows the strength of the collaborative partnership working across Suffolk.
Tony Bush, Interim Director at Active Suffolk said:
"The results released by Sport England today provide some welcome news for Suffolk in what has been a very difficult and challenging year, however we must not stop there. Although rates of adults who are meeting the CMO guidelines have increased, we also recognise that the health inequalities which existed prior to the pandemic have been further widened and reducing these inequalities is where our focus must remain. These results do not come as a surprise given the challenges we have faced due to the pandemic in the last year.
At Active Suffolk, we are committed to supporting local people to improve their health and wellbeing through physical activity. We are proud of our collaborative approach and feel now, more than ever it is vital that we continue to work in partnership with other organisations that have a shared vision to support those who have been affected the most during this period.
We feel confident that through doing so, we will see the figures of active adults continue to rise, whilst we begin observing the number of inactive adults declining back to the levels reported prior to the pandemic."
Active Suffolk have continued to work hard over the last year in order to keep everyone as active as possible. As an organisation, recognition was awarded to those who went above and beyond to support communities to remain active during the initial lockdown through the My Lockdown Activity Hero campaign. Following the announcement of lower activity levels amongst females, the Active Suffolk also linked up with partners to support over 300 local women to participate in a weeklong This Girl Can virtual activity week, whilst the Health and Wellbeing team adapted their Active Wellbeing and Fit Villages services to ensure local communities remained connected and participated in safe physical activity.
Insight into the impact of the pandemic, also highlighted the widening of health inequalities which is a known factor effecting the number of people taking part in regular physical activity. During this challenging time, and in addition to their other successes Active Suffolk have proudly secured £493,000 of funding through Sport England for sports clubs and organisations across the county who work to tackle those recognised inequalities such as disability, ethnicity, areas of deprivation and long- term conditions.
One participant from the This Girl Can virtual activity week said:
"Thank you very, very kindly for organising this event. I have been struggling a bit during lockdown, as I live alone. Participating in the online classes, as part of a group really helped my mood and wellbeing. Thank you!!!"
Insight released by Sport England earlier this month identifies the challenges brought on by the pandemic over the last 18 months. Amongst a few; mood, motivation, restricted access to activity during the winter and confidence to participate in regular exercise have been reported as barriers to being more active. Despite this, their research has found that 58% are still keen to do more activity once all the Covid-19 restrictions have been removed and an increase in confidence to return to sport and physical activity due to the rollout of the vaccine has been identified.
Reports such as these give hope for the leisure providers who have faced a challenging year with the ongoing closure of facilities and since re-opening their doors at the end of last month, already positive changes are beginning to be recognised.
Warren Smyth, Chief Executive of Abbeycroft Leisure tells us:
"The impact of the pandemic on leisure has been challenging, however since re-opening our services at the end of March, we have been encouraged by the number of people that have engaged in physical activity over the last few weeks.
The return to our Swim Academy sessions have been particularly noticeable and with group exercise coming back next month we are sure that many more will return, as by that time nearly a full complement of services will be available."
For more information about the latest insight published by Sport England, visit www.activesuffolk.org/active-lives-survey