The next instalment of our series reflecting on the successful work in local authorities in increasing the activity levels of residents up towards and beyond 150 minutes of physical activity per week is from Kingston-Upon-Thames.
Kingston has seen an 8.4% significant increase in residents doing more than 150 minutes of physical activity per week since 2015, according to the latest Sport England data.
The Active Lives research also shows 4.2% and 4.3% decreases in those categorised as fairly active (active for 30-149 minutes per week) and inactive (active for less than 30 minutes a week) respectively.
In total, 71.2% of the Kingston population are achieving the Chief Medical Officer’s recommended levels of activity per week, well above the London average (64.4%).
Martel Atterbury, Physical Activity, Exercise and Sports Development Officer for Kingston Council writes about the shared approach they are taking across the borough…
The Kingston Vision is very clear on the importance of infrastructure and sign-posting of services for residents. It states: "Kingston will be a vibrant, diverse and inclusive borough, where residents are active, empowered, engaged and able to remain independent and resilient."
This vision is threaded through all work streams at the council. This means that not only do we have an environment conducive to leading healthy lives, but all areas of the council have this main vision for the borough as part of their workstreams.
Kingston is a consultative borough, we share plans with residents to shape projects and developments, recent examples include playground and greenspace improvements.
These consultations have increased resident ownership of the borough around them, increasing the number of ‘friends groups', and motivating those who weren’t aware of what was available locally to explore, engage and increase visits following improvements.
Residents usually engage with the council when they can plan activities, one such success was the launch of Good Gym in May 2018. We have seen such a positive response from runners, community groups and older people’s organisations.
Our focus on infrastructure can be best seen by the 2014 investment into the Mini Holland project which allowed changes to the infrastructure to complement cycling and make the street safer for all.
This has resulted in more cycle lanes connecting the borough and around the town centre, many of which have now been completed and the benefits are beginning to show.
The Kingston Go Cycle programme ensures all children get a chance to learn to ride a bike either in school or at a community session during the holidays. The same is offered to adults and is an option for those on the borough’s exercise referral programme.
The Kingston Cycling Annual Report shows the full picture with measurements of usage increases on new cycle lanes and the impact of other initiatives including cycle storage, hubs around train stations and cycle training.
Promotion of services is the second part of our approach, we deliver a social prescribing programme digitally that provides information to residents on access to services.
Although quite new, the content grows daily, and is proving a key asset for residents making choices about their health and wellbeing.
Finally, Active Kingston is the social media feeds for all things active in Kingston, this provides a site for delivery partners to share information, generate an interest and get residents signing up for incentives.
We have seen many people making different choices when it comes to activity and that there is a demand for those wanting to be involved in the community to volunteer and get active.
We include all local community events on the feed as well as the general sports and physical activity information from around the borough.
In 2020, we will continue to build on what our residents want across our two core areas of infrastructure and service sign-posting.
We’re launching a programme with Street Tag linked to schools, initially, but growing into the wider community and we’ll be producing videos about services and activities.
The cycle team will be completing the remaining works for their project and health and physical activity will be an important part of our new regeneration schemes.
Kingston Relationship Manager Shaz Avazzadeh said:
“Kingston’s continuous commitment to ensuring residents are included and well informed has ensured that residents and workers are able to find appropriate activity in their local area.
"There are such a wide variety of physical activity opportunities available to residents in London and it's vital we make it as easy as possible for people to find them so they can be more active."