From April 2023, collective efforts in Suffolk to promote physical activity will be led by Active Suffolk.
This comes as Suffolk County Council’s Most Active County (MAC) programme is due to end on 31 March 2023.
Most Active County was established by Suffolk County Council as part of Suffolk’s legacy from the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Its purpose was to support the excellent work that takes place across the county, by many organisations, to support people to be active and address stubborn levels of inactivity.
Since 2012, the programme has been successful in engaging many more people, young and old, from different backgrounds and locations, in physical activity through supporting initiatives, such as parkrun, the Daily Mile, Doorstep Sport Clubs, Suffolk Walking Challenge, Sporting Memories Groups, Suffolk Care Home Olympics and major sporting events like the Great East Swim, Great East Run, The Women’s Tour and the Tour of Britain.
Since the MAC Programme began, levels of inactivity have been steadily falling in Suffolk. According to Active Lives Survey data, between November 2015 and November 2019, inactivity levels in adults fell by 4% and remain below the national average. Suffolk saw the biggest increase of any English County in the number of adults meeting recommended physical activity guidelines during this time.
Active Lives data also shows the number of children meeting the recommended levels of physical activity increased by 5.1% between the 2017/18 and 2021/2022 academic years.
More recently the MAC programme was a finalist in the 2022 UK Active Awards for the Keep Moving Suffolk campaign. The campaign was established just 9 days after the first lockdown, specifically to support people to become active and remain active during and beyond the covid 19 pandemic. The campaign consisted of a wide range of online resources to support people to become more active at home, alongside 20,000 ‘Active at Home’ booklets distributed and 3,500 activity packs to digitally isolated older people.
The programme also invested £500,000 to support sports clubs and groups to restart after the coronavirus pandemic.
Cllr Andrew Reid, Cabinet Member for Public Health and Public Protection, said:
“The Most Active County Programme has made huge strides in increasing physical activity in Suffolk, and improving health outcomes. It is widely recognised a successful 2012 legacy initiative but, 10 years on, it is time to refresh the way we work across the system in a way that best supports our residents.The hand-over of leadership to Active Suffolk will provide a unified approach to addressing inactivity within the county going forward, with Suffolk County Council continuing to be an active partner in promoting physical activity.”
“Suffolk County Council remains committed to investing in physical activity and we look forward to working collaboratively with Active Suffolk, Suffolk’s district and borough councils and all organisations with an interest in physical activity, to help and support our communities to become and remain active into the future.”
The Council recently invested £26,000 for Active Suffolk to extend the Daily Mile programme and £30,000 to extend the Fit Villages initiative for a further 12 months.
Gareth Davies, Director of Active Suffolk, said:
“Active Suffolk is delighted to lead the future collaborative effort to encourage and increase physical activity levels across Suffolk.
“Active Suffolk has the requisite experience to take the lead of such an important initiative and looks forward to our continued collaboration with Suffolk County Council and our Districts and Borough partners. Alongside a wide range of partners, we have made a significant contribution to the Most Active County Partnership over the last 10 years through our advocacy, programmes and targeted initiatives.
“Despite our successes, we recognise that there are challenges ahead to shift the stubborn inequalities in activity levels in Suffolk. This change in leadership will be used as a catalyst for renewed focus, drawing together partners, old and new, from across the county to support the health and wellbeing of our communities.”
More information about the physical activity offer in Suffolk can be found at www.activesuffolk.org
The following provides a snapshot of some of the key activities of the Most Active County programme.
- Finalist – UK Active Awards 2022 for Keep Moving Suffolk Campaign
- Finalist – Local Government Chronicle Awards 2017 for ‘Partnership of the Year’
- Over £3,000,000 of investment into physical activity in Suffolk.
- Over 18,500 Suffolk schoolchildren given access to the Daily Mile.
- 17,700 participants in the Great East Swim.
- Over 20,000 attendances at Doorstep Sports Clubs in Ipswich and Lowestoft.
- £2,000,000 generated for good causes through the Great East Run and Great East Swim.
- 22 parkrun’s, including 7 junior parkrun’s, supported to establish across the county.
- 10,400 participants in the Great East Run.
- 12,000 young people received movement and mental health resources.
- £19,500,000 combined economic impact of the Tour of Britain, Great East Swim and Women’s Tour.
- 130 primary schools took part in Walk to School Week Suffolk Walking Challenge from 2019-22.
- £500,000 invested in sports clubs and groups to restart after the coronavirus pandemic.
- 20,000 ‘Active at Home’ booklets distributed to isolated older people during the coronavirus pandemic.
- 3,500 activity packs distributed to digitally isolated older people during the coronavirus pandemic