ACTIF INNOVATION FUND
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New project launches to test new ways to tackle low levels of physical activity

New project launches to test new ways to tackle low levels of physical activity

New pilot project with 4 counties launches to test new ways to tackle low levels of physical activity in North Wales communities

Partners in four counties of North Wales have joined together to pilot a placed based approach to tackle low levels of physical activity and encourage communities to make the most of opportunities to be active in their local area. 

Funded by the UK Government’s Shared Prosperity Fund and delivered by the regional physical activity and sport partnership, Actif North Wales, the project is working with four local authorities – Flintshire, Denbighshire, Gwynedd and Anglesey – to take forward a place-based approach, which aims to empower communities to drive change by encouraging them to explore the strengths of their local area. 

A key part of the project will be focused around engaging local citizens through storytelling to capture feedback from communities around what they believe are their local assets and to understand what matters most to them about the way they move and how they use local spaces and places to be active. 

Manon Rees-O’Brien, Regional Director of Actif North Wales, said: “In North Wales we face a real challenge when it comes to being active, with only 51% of adults meeting the recommended physical activity guidelines and only 39% of children being active through sport three times a week. We know that physical inactivity can cause a wide range of health and wellbeing challenges and so it’s vital that we turn this around and support, encourage and enable as many people as possible to move more every day in their local area.

“This pilot will explore how we can engage communities to explore their local assets and to help us understand what matters most to local people when it comes to physical activity. We want to work alongside local people, to support and empower them to help drive the change our region needs.”

As part of the pilot project, community co-ordinators have been recruited to work with partners and communities to test new ways of working. A series of workshops have been delivered and more will follow with partner organisations and local citizens to understand and map their local assets, as well as storytelling training to help individuals and communities to develop their own stories about the strengths of their area and what’s important to them. 

Hannah Lloyd, Principal Public Health Practitioner at Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board and Actif North Wales Partnership Board Member, added: “We know that to tackle the low levels of physical activity in some areas of North Wales, we need to do things differently. There’s no one size fits all approach when it comes to being active. Our diverse communities have different strengths and the best people to lead the change in our region are the local people themselves. This pilot project will play an important part in helping us to test and learn how we can work alongside people in communities, all with their unique characteristics, to enable more people to make the most of the assets in their local area to move more every day.”

Lindsey Ellis, Community Support Services Manager from Cyngor Gwynedd, added: “We’re delighted to be part of this partnership to develop a placed based approach to physical activity with a focus on two communities in Gwynedd. Supporting the wellbeing of local people is one of our key priorities and we know that to do this, encouraging our local communities to make the most of opportunities to be active is vital. This project will help us to gain a deeper understanding of what’s important to local people so that we can explore how we can work together to enable and encourage everyone to move more and enjoy better physical and mental health.”

Catherine Taylor, Principal Manager Community Resilience from Denbighshire County Council said: “This is an innovative project to explore how our area can gain a better understanding of what’s important to local people through a place-based approach. Improving the wellbeing of our residents both now and in the future is one of our priority areas at Denbighshire County Council. If we are to achieve the Denbighshire we want, working alongside communities, listening to their stories and working with them to act on the things that are important to them will be vital. We’re delighted to be part of this work and look forward to working with partners and local communities to enable more people to be active and to enjoy the wide benefits this brings.”

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