GreaterSport is a Greater Manchester-based charity that was founded in 1996. It recently collected the Best Sporting Initiative at the Manchester Awards, after achieving its target of getting one million people across the region active by 2017. We spoke to Development Manager Karen Broomhead about this fantastic initiative and why regular physical activity is so important for us all.
KUDOS: So firstly – just explain for our readers what exactly the Greater Manchester Sports Partnership is… how it operates and what it aims to do.
GREATER SPORT: WHO – GreaterSport is a high performing charity passionate about changing lives through physical activity and sport. Our vision is to make Greater Manchester the most active region in England. We are also the County Sport Partnership (CSP) for Greater Manchester, one of a network across the country who have some core responsibilities supported by Sport England.
WHY – GreaterSport believes and can evidence that physical activity and sport has a fundamental role to the health, wealth and wellbeing of Greater Manchester residents and a major contributor to making Greater Manchester one of the best places in the world.
HOW – GreaterSport commits to working alongside our partners and doing things together to help achieve life changing outcomes for people across Greater Manchester.
Your first target was to get one million people engaged in regular activity by 2017, a target you hit. How did you achieve it – and how is it measured?
Our Changing Lives strategy launched in 2010 and set the aspiration of 1 MILLION people regularly active by 2017. We were delighted to achieve this earlier in the year, yet recognise there is still so much work to do. Greater Manchester’s Physical Activity and Sport sector have incredible relationships. The success is a result of the work being done day in day out across our County by amazing volunteers and coaches. It is was measured by Sport England’s Active People survey.
You recently collected the Best Sporting Initiative at the Manchester Awards, a great reward for those achievements. Your next target is 2 million people active by 2021 – how can you build on what are already remarkable numbers and get even more people participating in regular activity?
We launched our new strategy, Changing Our Live Together, on 23rd November with the help of partners including GM Mayor Andy Burnham, this highlights the aim to get 2 MILLION people by working TOGETHER across the County as we did with the 1 MILLION target. To achieve this it’s important for us to understand what people want to do and why people aren’t currently active.
There are 12 key priorities for us;
- POLICY AND STRATEGIC ARCHITECTURE – Lead policy, legislation and system change
- ACROSS THE LIFECOURSE – System change across the life course
- START WELL – Best active start to life (0 – 4)
- DEVELOP WELL – Best place for children and young people (aged 5 – 25) to grow up
- LIVE WELL – Increase activity amongst adults
- AGE WELL – Make active ageing central with the GM Ageing Hub
- PLACE – Develop more active and sustainable environments and communities
- ECONOMIC GROWTH – Maximise the contribution to economic growth
- WORKFORCE – Build the knowledge, skills and understanding of the workforce
- EVIDENCE, DATA AND INSIGHT – to inform policy and practice
- EVALUATION – embed high quality evaluation
- MARKETING AND COMMUNICATIONS – High quality marketing and communications
Greater Manchester is obviously a pretty sports-mad region – how are we doing in the area for active people compared to the rest of the country?
Nationally 25.6% of the population is inactive. In Greater Manchester this percentage is 27.6% so we still have a greater percentage of inactive people. The new strategy above aims to address this.
Maybe it’s just the bubble in which we exist, but from our perspective it seems like awareness is rising and as such and the appetite for regular activity is increasing – do you agree or, what with the rise in sedentary lifestyles and the proliferation of gadgets that enable it, does it feel like an uphill struggle? And what do you find are the most common obstacles to regular activity?
As we pass the 1 MILLION people regularly active mark we are obviously going in the right direction. Obstacles vary on the individual. Research into women find that the biggest barriers include a lack of confidence in their abilities to take part, the fear of being judged and the time and cost of fitting activity around their lifestyle. When looking at older adults then transport links also become a barrier along with time and cost. The barriers for disabled people include lack of confidence, fear of injury and low motivation to be active.
As you can see the barriers change dependent on the group so it is important we understand each group and their motivations and barriers so we can tailor the programme to ensure everyone has an opportunity to take part.
What message would you have for anyone reading this who would like to begin partaking in regular activity but never gets around to it?
If you would like to get active but struggle for time with a busy schedule look to fit it into your day; take the steps instead of stairs, get off the bus the stop earlier, utilise your lunch breaks at work to go for a walk or run. Don’t forget activity should be FUN, take part with your family and friends to fit it into your lifestyle.
If you need support finding a session, activity, gym etc visit our website where you will find an activity search tool. You can find some real life examples of lives changed through Physical Activity and Sport here.
Thanks to Karen at Greater Sport for her valuable time and insight. In these increasingly sedentary times, it is vital we have passionate initiatives like Greater Sport to keep pushing us on and to stimulate us into action. Congratulations to them on their fantastic achievements.
KUDOS IS PASSIONATE ABOUT ENCOURAGING PEOPLE TO GET ACTIVE
KUDOS passionately supports and encourages people from all walks of life to take part in grassroots sporting activity. We recognise that sport is a powerful force for good.
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