Active Sussex has been awarded a further £80,000 grant investment from Sport England to continue developing a workforce infrastructure to tackle physical inactivity in Sussex.
Plans are in place to use this funding to target wards in Hastings, Wealden, Eastbourne and Lewes, building on from our insightful and successful workforce pilot in Rother over the past year.
Workforce developments so far
Active Sussex has been working with Rother District Council to build the workforce needed to engage inactive people.
The first stage of this project has been to understand physical activity levels and attitudes of residents and participants, and the coaches and volunteers needed to support them to become active. You can download our report on audiences here: Rother Workforce Project Stage 1 report – Understanding Audiences.
Rye Runners are one of the clubs helping inactive people to become physically active and we took a look at what techniques and approaches they use in our video - A Workforce for an Active Nation: Rye Runners.
Why these areas for funding?
As part of our primary role, and in line with our visionary Active Sussex Strategy 2018-2023, 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 have identified twenty focus wards in East Sussex where residents are most inactive. Wards such as Sidley, Hailsham East, and Hollington in Hastings have estimated inactivity levels of 30%. This translates to almost one in three adults doing less than 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise per week.
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
Our research in Rother has shown that most people believe that being active is important, but they lack the confidence to take part. Many people are worried that activities won’t be at their level or for people of their age. We will support activity providers to ensure that people of all ages and abilities are supported to be active, and that this is communicated clearly to residents.
As people get older they tend to be less active, and people with disabilities and long-term health conditions need support to ensure the activity is appropriate for their condition. On average, people in deprived areas also tend to be less active, so we will support activity providers to improve their offer in these areas.
A big part of our work in these East Sussex localities will be working with local strategic partners to better understand the districts and to get an in-depth snapshot about barriers local people are facing to exercise and activity. We will therefore be working with 3VA, Rother District Council and stakeholders in Hastings 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 these localities 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 continue 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 3VA, Rother District Council partners in the Active Rother Partnership and other key partners to achieve a clearer understanding of the barriers to physical activity in the area and how a well-trained workforce can address these."
Adam Chugg, the CEO at 3VA for the past 10 years, added: "Active Sussex’s partnership approach to this work is definitely the one to follow and is one which 3VA fully supports.
"It's great news to that Active Sussex has received this funding from Sport England. 3VA is looking forward to playing a key role as one of the delivery partners. Our mission is supporting and developing local communities and community organisations, and one of the differences they can really make is working to reduce inactivity, especially through work enabling greater health and wellbeing and reducing social isolation."
Our work is in line with Sport England's - Working in an Active Nation, that envisions that everyone working in sport and activity feels confident, valued and supported. This strengthening of the workforce would enable the best possible experience for the people who are – or who want to be – active.
The tools used to build the workforce needed to engage inactive people can be adopted by all local authorities, and Active Sussex are keen to support partners across Sussex to implement these methods.
Workforce & Insight links
For further Workforce information please contact Anthony Statham, Active Sussex's Strategic Relationship Manager and Workforce lead, E: firstname.lastname@example.org/ T: 01273 644149.