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ukactive joins forces with Sport England to support inactive people

A ukactive-led partnership involving NHS Bedfordshire, teamBEDS&LUTON and local authorities across Bedfordshire have been selected as one of fourteen pilot projects to receive support from a £5.8 million Sport England fund designed to support inactive people to "Get Healthy and Get into Sport."

The partnership will see the motivational interviewing programme Let's Get Moving expand into Bedfordshire and Luton, helping the most inactive members of the local community improve their activity levels.

For the first time the Let's Get Moving physical activity care pathway (originally developed by the Department of Health, validated by Loughborough University and recommended by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence) will be further supported by being seamlessly integrated into the hugely successful "Get Back Into" programme pioneered by teamBEDS&LUTON and "Re-Active8" by Bedford Borough Council. This will provide a direct entry route for previously inactive people to try out a new sport in a friendly and welcoming environment.

The project follows the successful testing of the Let's Get Moving model by ukactive and a consortium of partners with five Primary Care Trusts in Essex. This saw 504 previously inactive participants amass a total of 164 million steps, accounting to 48,000 active hours, 11.2 million kcal and 69,000 miles walked. For previously inactive people in danger of developing chronic diseases related to their lifestyle choices, this was a significant outcome which showed the scale of impact that could be achieved by taking a robust approach to delivering public health interventions.

The backing from Sport England provides the necessary resources to not only deliver both sporting and health outcomes for inactive people in Bedfordshire by testing whether the pathway can deliver sporting outcomes as well as getting people more active generally, but to also further systemise the concept in order to support its continued expansion into other areas of the country in a cost effective and proven manner.

David Stalker, CEO, ukactive said:

"We are thrilled to have secured funding to roll out this initiative in Bedfordshire, which brings together two innovative solutions to the problem of physical inactivity in local communities. At ukactive we have a strong belief that putting an exercise professional into every GP surgery can have a dramatic impact on the health of the nation, particularly so when armed with motivational interviewing techniques, the ability to signpost into welcoming sports and activity sessions, and direct access to patients as part of the practice team. This project provides us with another opportunity to prove that case. With local authorities taking on responsibility for public health from April, it is vital that our sector is able to work in partnerships such as this to develop initiatives that deliver the outcomes needed by commissioners so as to be worthy of investment from the £5.45bn ring-fenced public health budget."

Craig Lister from NHS Bedfordshire added:

"This is a fantastic example of partnership working across health, the County Sports Partnership, ukactive and local authorities. This programme will use sport in an innovative manner, supporting people to move away from unhealthy lifestyles in a sustainable and enjoyable way.  Using local professionals and a rapid referral system, while people are still in a position of wanting to change, should lead to improved outcomes and better health."

Sport England's Chief Executive, Jennie Price, said:

"We are paying a heavy price for inactivity both in terms of people's health and the burden on the NHS. These lottery-funded projects will help tens of thousands of people to get healthier and demonstrate the value of investing in sport and physical activity."

For more information contact ukactive intelligence.  Visit the ukactive website here.