Over £170,000 secured by Active Suffolk to develop the local sport and physical activity sector.

Over £170,000 secured by Active Suffolk to develop the local sport and physical activity sector.

Posted: Fri, 29 Apr 2022 09:00

Over £170,000 secured by Active Suffolk to develop the local sport and physical activity sector.

Active Suffolk have been successful in securing over £170,000 of funding which will help to upskill employees working within the sport and physical activity sector.

£73,528 of the funding secured by the Active Partnership has come from the Suffolk Inclusive Growth Investment Fund, whilst over £100,000 of partnership funding has come from Suffolk County Council, local leisure operators, Sport England and The Chartered Institute of the Management of Sport & Physical Activity (CIMSPA).

The funding comes at an ideal time as the sector continues to recover from the damaging impact of the pandemic. Latest data tells us that nationally 48% of the sectors workforce left the industry during the pandemic and in Suffolk alone this has been reported to be as high as 60% for some leisure operators.

The funding will allow Active Suffolk to deliver on a 12-month 'Active Skills' project, which will deliver over 300 qualifications, addressing skills gaps within the sector and upskilling employees in the prevention and management of long-term health conditions.

The project, led by Active Suffolk will be driven by insight, gathered through an evidence-based needs assessment and sector skills strategy. The delivery of this project will adopt a county wide, collaborative, partnership approach led by local employers working within the sport and physical activity sector.

Karen Chapman, from Suffolk Growth commented:

"The latest round of awards demonstrates how SIGIF is supporting our immediate and longer- term economic recovery. Investing in sector skills will have a long-term benefit to our communities, the health sector and our workforce."

Susannah Challis, Workforce Development Officer at Active Suffolk said:

"Active Suffolk are delighted to have been awarded this funding to support the Active Skills project.

Pre pandemic the Physical Activity Sector was the fastest growing sector in Suffolk with circa 10,000 employees and a GVA of £270 Million. The sector plays a critical role underpinning the health & wellbeing of the entire Suffolk population and therefore a productive local economy which is why this funding has been so well received.

The project will involve working with a wide-range of partner organisations in the sector to provide a skilled, competent, and fit for purpose Physical Activity Sector workforce which will underpin the sector's recovery from the impact of the pandemic, building long-term sustainability into the sector. This will also ensure that Suffolk's workforce is healthier both physically and mentally contributing towards improving economic performance and productivity."

Through delivering this project, individual businesses in the Sport & Physical Activity Sector will be more resilient and upskilled to provide a better-quality service which meets the needs of local communities, allowing their business to grow and secure further investment into Suffolk.

Karen Points, Strategic Director at Abbeycroft Leisure said:

"Bringing this level of funding into Suffolk enables Abbeycroft and Active Suffolk to increase our sector skills base to support our communities in achieving more active lifestyles and improve their physical and mental health. Abbeycroft will be further upskilling our teams, for example to address a variety of health conditions and the high levels of inactivity which have grown in West Suffolk through the pandemic, and to improve the health and resilience of our local communities.

This training helps to develop our own workforce to broaden their skills and enable them to provide the best support to those who come to us for help with their health, wellbeing and fitness activities. As a Social Enterprise in West Suffolk this is very welcome news."

Cllr Andrew Reid, Suffolk County Council's Cabinet Member for Public Health and Public Protection, said:

"The sport and physical activity sector is incredibly important in helping individuals, families and communities to be healthy and stay healthy. Unfortunately, however, and despite showing incredible resilience and determination throughout the pandemic, sport and leisure facilities were hard hit with facilities having to close, or operate under restrictions, for long periods of time and by a significant proportion of the workforce leaving the sector. I am therefore pleased that Suffolk County Council, alongside Suffolk Growth, is able to support the Active Skills project to help the sector bounce back from the pandemic and become more resilient going forward."

Further information regarding the project will be released soon, however in the meantime we are currently recruiting an Assistant Coordinator who will lead on this project alongside the Workforce Development Officer. Find out more at Active Suffolk – Assistant Coordinator (Community Sport and Physical Activity)

Tags: Employers, Health, Leisure Sector, Physical Activity and Leisure Sector, Skills, Upskill, Workforce, Workforce Development