CITY Community Trust is to be part of a multi-million pound pilot scheme to help people access sport and physical activity, and ultimately lead healthier lifestyles.
It was announced today that Exeter and Cranbrook have been selected by Sport England as one of only 12 locations across England, and the only one in the South West, to be awarded Pilot status in the ground-breaking new approach to tackle inactivity in communities.
Around £100 million of National Lottery funding will be invested in the 12 pilot areas over four years, to create innovative partnerships that make it easier for people in these communities to access sport and physical activity.
CITY Community Trust was part of Exeter’s successful bidding partnership, which was led by Exeter City Council.
Julian Tagg, Chair of CITY Community Trust, the charity arm of Exeter City Football Club, said they were delighted with the success of the bid and the charity’s role as a delivery partner in the scheme.
He added: ‘CITY Community Trust is pleased to have played a significant part in helping to secure much-needed financial help toward the health and wellbeing of the wider community of Exeter and Cranbrook as part of this successful bidding partnership.
‘As one of the main providers of activity and health-related programmes for all ages across our city, we look forward to rising to the huge challenge that lies ahead in our attempt to make Greater Exeter greater, more physically active, and ultimately, healthier.’
Cllr Phil Bialyk, Exeter City Council Lead Councillor for Sport, Health and Wellbeing, and Chair of the Exeter Health and Wellbeing Board said: ‘This is brilliant news and a fabulous early Christmas present for the city.’
Latest research shows that a quarter of the general population (11.5 million people) are inactive, meaning they do less than 30 minutes of exercise that gets them slightly out of breath each week. In Exeter, people are already more physically active than the national average but there are certain groups such as those in lower paid jobs, women and the disabled who struggle to be physically active in their everyday lives.
By focusing intensely in 12 areas, Sport England and the local partners want to identify better ways to address these stubborn inequalities and break down the barriers that stop people getting active, such as poor transport, safety, cost and confidence.
‘Two years ago, Exeter became the most active city in the South West and now we want to go one step further and become the most active city in England.’ Cllr Phil Bialyk explains. ‘We now need to ensure we improve health and wellbeing for everyone by encouraging 10,000 people who are currently inactive to introduce physical activity as part of their daily lives.’
Councillor Paul Diviani, Leader of East Devon District Council, said: ‘This announcement is brilliant news for Cranbrook, not only now but for generations to come.’
Rob Bosworth, Chair of the Greater Exeter Sports Strategy Board, who is also a trustee of CITY Community Trust, said: ‘The members of the Board are delighted to have played a role in bringing this fantastic opportunity to the area. It is a real credit to the power of collaboration and a reflection of the commitment and dedication of all our partners who share the city vision of becoming the most active city in the country.’
Jo Yelland, City Council Director responsible for the scheme, said: ‘Through this pilot scheme we want to encourage wider, collaborative partnerships which look at how all parts of a community can better work together to help the most inactive – from the transport links and street lighting to the quality of parks and open spaces, to how sport and activity is promoted by GPs.’
Dr Simon Kerr, GP from Northern, Eastern and Western Devon Clinical Commissioning Group, said: ‘The success of this bid creates an exciting opportunity. The support and the funding that Pilot status will bring will create better opportunities and easier access to many types of physical activities such as walking or cycling schemes, which in turn will have a positive effect on both physical and mental wellbeing for local people who take up the opportunities. As a GP, I will be able to signpost my patients to these activities when I think it is suitable.’
Glenn Woodcock, Chief Executive of Exeter City Futures, said: ‘This is an amazing achievement for Exeter and for the leadership of the city. This is another endorsement of Exeter’s commitment to an analytical, data-driven approach to bringing about a more healthy and sustainable city, suitable for future generations.’
The Local Delivery pilot programme, working in collaboration with Sport England, will seek to bring a wide range of local partners and communities together across Exeter and Cranbrook to realise the enormous health, social and economic benefits of leading a regular active lifestyle.