Towards an Active Derbyshire - Thank You

Thanking those who are helping to make physical activity the norm

We want to say 'thank you' to the amazing organisations, clubs, facilities, volunteers, people and places across Derbyshire which are helping to make physical activity the norm.

We asked for your help to say 'thank you' to some of the people, groups, clubs and organisations who have helped to make physical activity the norm over the past four years.

From 10-21 May we highlighted the people, groups, clubs and organisations, which you told us about, who are using physical activity and sport to make a real difference in their communities and to the lives of others. During the two-week campaign we highlighted their work and how important and powerful physical activity can be.

Stories from our community

1. Creating a culture where everyone can be active and move more...

We want to create a culture where everyone can be active in a way that works for them – whether moving more on a daily basis, attending activity sessions, walking for travel or leisure, or playing sport. All are important. It's about normalising being active as part of everyday life.

We can do this by firstly raising awareness, so people can relate to and understand our message. Then, by encouraging and motivating people and communities to be open to change and make choices that involve moving more, rather than being sedentary. Alongside this, organisations need to plan together and make decisions with physical activity in mind, so that it becomes the easier, cheaper and more obvious choice for people and communities (e.g. it's easier to choose to walk or cycle than use the car for short journeys).

It's then important to connect all this to local opportunities in an accessible way, making it as easy as possible for groups, clubs, partners and local people to share and find what's in their area. Using new technology can also help us communicate more effectively with those wanting to embrace these opportunities. And for those not connected to technology, we need to find ways to spread the word in other ways to their friends, family and support systems.

What are we aiming for?

  • Being active is the easier and obvious choice for more people
  • Clear and consistent messages around moving more and being active
  • People find it easy to connect to opportunities that are right for them – recognising that all movement counts

2. Enabling children and young people to have positive experiences of being active throughout their childhood.

Establishing early habits, developing movement skills and enjoying being active are so important for children and young people. We know that the earlier these attitudes are developed and maintained, and the earlier these skills are learnt, the more likely they will become a lasting part of people's lives. In addition to the physical benefits, the mental health benefits are huge; being active can help build self-esteem and resilience and instil a sense of belonging. Being active and playing sport also has a role in preventing anti-social behaviour and reducing violence.

However, Covid-19 has exacerbated the barriers for young people. Many children and young people weren't active enough before the pandemic, and now they are even less so; this is particularly true for those from our ethnically diverse communities and for children with health conditions or disabilities. Young people's mental health has also worsened during the pandemic, so we need to look at the role physical activity might play in preventing, and treating, mental ill health.

To understand this better we need to hear from young people themselves. We need to understand their motivations, experiences, and challenges and use this to inform work with partners including early years providers, schools, further and higher education, youth services, and the numerous charities and community organisations working with young people across Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire. We'll also use this understanding to shape the environments where children and young people can be active and redesign the services and opportunities available in schools, parks, clubs and community settings.

For many young people, school is the place they are most active. We can work with schools to find new ways for pupils to be active during the school day, and to influence curriculums to develop skills and make physical activity more enjoyable.

However, we need to consider more than just the school environment. It'll be important to continue developing a variety of ways to be active – for example, we know some children and young people have enjoyed (and want to continue) virtual forms of activity, while others prefer face to face. We can also do more to engage parents and support families to be active together, building on behaviours that emerged during the pandemic. And finally, we need to join the dots between schools and the wider neighbourhood to better connect the work being done and to help the young people in those communities, in and outside of school.

What are we aiming for?

  • More young people enjoy being active
  • Young people are involved in developing opportunities that are right for them
  • An early focus on developing the skills and confidence to lead an active life
  • Resource and capacity is proportionately focussed on young people experiencing the greatest inequalities

3. Working with people and communities who experience the greatest need.

Significant inequalities exist across Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire, and there is widespread commitment to addressing these through working closely with the people and communities who have the greatest inequality.

Inequality occurs in society, neighbourhoods, and in physical activity itself, and these are interlinked. For example, ethnically diverse communities, people living with a disability and people from the more deprived areas of Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire are more likely to be inactive — and the pandemic has made this worse. In many cases the work has already started and is ongoing, but it takes time, and we have to learn and adapt our approach as we go.

We will continue to work with our more deprived neighbourhoods; this is where the need is greatest due to intersecting inequalities across income, employment, education and health. And we must also work with existing support networks and organisations to look at how to reduce the barriers for people with long-term conditions and/or a disability, who live in all parts of Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire.

Whether we're concentrating on inequality within part of society, a particular neighbourhood, or in specific groups, in all our work, we must empower our people and communities to be involved – owning and shaping their future and the change that needs to happen. All partners, organisations and those responsible for providing services must listen, understand and be prepared to work together, maximising the impact of their combined resources to build on the strengths and assets that already exist. Critical to this will be developing capacity, capability and leadership in community and voluntary sector organisations – particularly amongst those who have struggled during the pandemic.

We shouldn't underestimate the challenges that come with working in this way. It takes time and requires capacity which is often limited. Competition for investment can get in the way of working closely together and it can be hard – requiring a mindset and willingness to change and adapt along the way.

What are we aiming for?

  • People with lived experience are involved in developing opportunities that are right for them
  • The importance of being active and moving more is embedded in wider inequality work
  • Resource and capacity is proportionally focussed on people and neighbourhoods experiencing the greatest inequality

4. Maximising the potential of being active to improve physical and mental health

It's widely understood and accepted that an active lifestyle is essential for both physical and mental health; inactivity is estimated to cost £7.4 billion a year to the NHS and Local Authorities*. The pandemic has brought the health of our nation into sharp focus and renewed emphasis on the importance of being active. Now is the time to build on this, looking for ways physical activity can improve the physical and mental health of our local population and reduce the cost pressure on health and social care services.

As part of the Covid-19 recovery we have to bring physical activity to the fore, empowering people to take responsibility for their own health and wellbeing. It's essential that we work to embed physical activity in emerging integrated health and care systems, ensuring it's recognised, prioritised and supported by healthcare professionals, commissioners, and carers alike. We must focus on the role of physical activity in prevention and personalised care, with a long-term aim to improve population health and wellbeing and reduce inequalities between different groups. But we also need to recognise that moving more will benefit everyone, at all stages of their lives and whatever their health. That of course means working with health and social care organisations, but also considering how wider education, planning, and transport policies might promote physical activity and contribute to greater overall health and wellbeing.

Using the compelling evidence of the health benefits of being active, we can influence commissioning processes, health and wellbeing strategies and strategic needs assessments to recognise the importance of physical activity; this will help to ensure it's embedded into care pathways, service delivery and wider community work such as social prescribing, weight management and mental health services. We also want to speak to patients and those living with health conditions to understand what they need to be more active, and use this knowledge to shape joined-up services where they live.

In all of this, there will be a need to support the workforce. That could mean connecting those working in health with those working with sport and physical activity, or enabling those delivering services — allied health professionals, nurses, paediatricians, social care workers, GPs and educators — to have conversations with those they support about moving more.

* This includes both the direct costs (treating major, lifestyle related diseases such as heart attacks, strokes, diabetes and falls) and indirect costs (sickness absence and the costs of social care arising from loss of functional capacity).

What are we aiming for?

  • Health and care systems and strategies recognise, support and prioritise moving more - including population health, prevention and personalised care
  • Physical activity is integral to covid recovery work
  • Person-centred approaches consider what's needed to be active for people living with long term health conditions and disabilities

5. Creating accessible, safe, and inclusive places and environments for physical activity

Across Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire we have a variety of environments; providing great choice and opportunity to be active; green spaces including woods, parks and gardens; blue spaces including rivers and lakes; built infrastructure such as local buildings and facilities; and public rights of way.

But, just because these things are there doesn't mean we are all able to access them easily, equally, or even feel they are for us.

We know that most sport and physical activity takes place outdoors, within 20 minutes of our homes. And that all population groups walk more than they do any other type of activity (whether to keep fit, for leisure or for travel). But until all our neighbourhoods feel safe, accessible and welcoming — and until we address the underuse, unfair distribution and accessibility of many of our assets — we're unlikely to reduce the inequalities many in our communities face.

In some of our less active communities there is a lack of space, together with underused assets, like buildings and green spaces. Poor street lighting, cars and traffic can also make moving around on foot or in wheelchairs feel dangerous, while neglected areas (rubbish, dog fouling etc.) make it uninviting to venture out.

Working with communities themselves, we need to design, develop and adapt – creating safe, inclusive and accessible spaces and places that encourage and enable active lives. Then we need to connect people to them, allowing us to maximise the use of our parks for play, recreation and leisurely walking; encourage active travel to school and work; and provide welcoming leisure centres, clubs and other community facilities that offer active choices and opportunities for the whole community.

Important in this will be adopting the principles of 20-minute neighbourhoods* and testing and learning from initiatives such as Active Towns** that aim to create more active and connected communities that also benefit from reduced traffic, improved air quality and thriving local shops and businesses.

In addition to the imbalances and inequalities of covid, there are two themes that cross through all of the above aims: the potential of walking in a way that's accessible to everyone; our carbon footprint and impact on the environment. These considerations feed into almost all of our aims and actions.

What are we aiming for?

  • Greater understanding of how the local environment influences being active
  • Local people and businesses are engaged in the co-design of their local places
  • Places are walkable and connected, making it easier and safer for people to move more

*A 20-minute neighbourhood is another way of describing a complete, compact and connected neighbourhood, where people can meet their everyday needs within a short walk or cycle. The TCPA, together with Sport England have been working with a range of partners to look at how the idea could be introduced in the context of the English planning system.

**Active Towns is an initiative which aims to 'Help Communities Create a Culture of Activity' by supporting 'communities wishing to establish inviting, invigorating, and inclusive "All Ages & Abilities" people-oriented places which promote active living and enhance quality of life measures, while reducing climate and environmental impacts'.

Beat the Street

As part of the #ThankYou campaign we would like to say a huge thank you and well done to all those in Chesterfield, Clay Cross and Derby who took part Beat the Street. An amazing 27,000 took part in Beat the Street Derby recently, following the earlier success of Beat the Street Sinfin which saw 1,843 people walk, run and cycle as far as they could to earn points for their virtual teams.

Meanwhile further north 13,890 had taken part in Beat the Street Chesterfield and 2,170 people took part in the game across Clay Cross, North Wingfield, Tupton, Grassmoor and Holmewood as part of Beat the Street Clay Cross. Post-game surveys showed that players felt that the games had helped encourage them to walk or cycle more often, visit new places and spend more time with their family.

Well done to you all and thank you!

Ben Horton (BH Fitness)

As part of the #ThankYou campaign, we received a submission to thank Ben Horton - here's what they had to say:

"I joined BH Fitness at the start of the lockdown in March 2020, I can honestly say it is the best thing I have done. Ben puts on 60 live classes onto his website per month, you can do them live or on catch up, the classes vary from HITT to stretch and flex, which are put out at various times of day. Ben and team are very enthusiastic, encouraging, motivating and above anything else they brighten up the day. Ben also has an online running group, which is brilliant, everyone encourages each other, and you can guarantee Ben will always add a message of encouragement to all our shared activities, it doesn't matter if it is a 7 minute mile or a 14 minute mile, Ben gives us all the same great level of encouragement and praise. He sets challenges for us to take part in

.Once a month Ben sounds out a recipe book, which is another highlight.Last year was a bad year personally for me, and to be honest Ben got me through it without even knowing that he did. Just knowing that he would be there putting on the HITT the deck beginner class on a Monday morning encouraged me up and out of bed, because it is a live class Ben gives me a shout out, guaranteed to put a smile on my face.Ben works full time, has a wife and young family, he still makes the time for the group and gives it maximum effort. He is an extraordinary young man whom definitely deserves some recognition for what he does."

Breaston Park Football Club

"I would like to nominate all the parents, supporters, sponsors, coaching staff and Club committee for Breaston Park under 14s. The squad is made up of 16 boys who all play for Breaston Park U14s football club. As Covid was starting to become apparent all the team went through infection control hand hygiene training. Sadly we then went into lock down and it was obvious on the squads return the effect that lock down had on the boys. Some players really struggled with the virus and lockdown and the constant not knowing if they would play or not.

Everyone involved in with the team came together to support sport starting again. The pitches had to be marked out again and due to a severe rabbit problem in our absence the parents spent hours filling the pitch with topsoil to ensure it was safe. Training was designed to support social distancing using a small sided rotation system. The club house was designed to provide a separate one way route for the different teams to wash their hands before competing.

Hand sanitisation was offered and enforced. Al l players home and away were asked to complete the Covid 19 app or complete a paper version if they did not have the technology. All cases have been tracked by the team and club secretary, and the work involved should not be underestimated. The balance between health and safety and health and well being has been difficult, but everyone has supported all the procedures expected of them, including transportation to and from the grounds. They have all gone way above and beyond so this is why I would like to nominate Breaston Park Under 14s."

GAD Khalsa Sports Club

A couple of years ago, we spoke to the GAD Khalsa about their work to ensure football is accessible for all. They have done some amazing work to support people to be active in our community over the years and we want to say a huge #ThankYou to them.

View a video highlighting the work they do to make football inclusive for all

Girls Active

150 girls from schools across Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire have been inspired and empowered to help shape a PE offer that is suitable for all and influence their peers about physical activity choices.

View video

A Thank You to the Friends of Hurst Farm..