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Wandsworth becomes most active borough in London after sharp rise in activity levels

Blog post   •   Dec 16, 2019 10:41 GMT

In our final reflection piece looking into how boroughs are successfully encouraging residents to lead more active lives, reaching and exceeding the Chief Medical Officer’s recommended 150 minutes of physical activity per week, we explore the work taking place in Wandsworth.

Currently, 79.2% of Wandsworth’s adult population achieve 150 minutes of physical activity per week which, as well as far exceeding London’s figure of 64.4%, is also a significant increase of 9.3% since measurement began in 2015.

Wandsworth have also achieved an 8.9% significant increase in the last 12 months on residents being categorised as active in Sport England’s annual Active Lives survey.

Peter Freeman, Sports Development and Physical Activity Manager at Enable Leisure and Culture writes about some of the work taking place in Wandsworth…

Physical activity and sport is incredibly important in Wandsworth and is taken seriously across a range of organisations, the Active Wandsworth Strategy 2017-2022 helps to pull together that aspiration.

When the vision was set in 2017, we aimed to become the most active borough in London – an aim supported by Wandsworth Council and key departments such as Transport and Public Health.

Enable Leisure & Culture oversee Active Wandsworth and collaborate with key organisations such as Places Leisure, Roehampton University, Healthwatch and the aforementioned departments to see who is best placed to lead on key areas.

The Active Wandsworth Strategy pulls together actions from a range of existing partner strategies, and aims to embed physical activity across our partner organisations. Updates on our progress are reported to the Public Health Board and to the wider public through our Talk Active evenings.

Like other boroughs, we have recognised the need to support the whole community with a much greater emphasis on inactive residents. Using available insight, we have developed programmes that can be delivered in target areas or to target groups.

For example, Wandsworth were one of 18 localities across the UK to deliver the Get Out Get Active programme, encouraging inactive disabled and non-disabled people to be active together.

A range of programmes were developed including Sporting Memories sessions within Sheltered Housing accommodation and we have worked with organisations to support long-term health conditions including Mind on our Active Wellbeing programme and Macmillan on the Move More campaign.

We organise the annual Get Active Wandsworth Festival attracting thousands of people across the borough, in the past few years we have taken the festival “on the road” and supported existing local community festivals and events in the more deprived areas to have a greater sport and physical activity offer at their events.

This enables us to spread our message of available activity in Wandsworth and encourage more people to get active as well as engaging both the community and local providers.

We recognise that we need to continue to keep building.

Recently, Enable started our social prescribing programme where we hope to link to a range of voluntary organisations in prescribing activity and those providing support for patients with the underlying aim of promoting physical activity.

We are also hoping to finalise details of a physical activity programme for ‘Troubled Families’ utilising the benefits of being active together to improve confidence in accessing local services and facilities as well as training and employment opportunities.

Wandsworth Relationship Manager Shaz Avazzadeh said:

“The fantastic whole-systems approach Wandsworth have taken over recent years has enabled them to build and develop work collaboratively with a broad range of highly-skilled partners.

“I’ve also been impressed by the ways in which they continue to keep the sector informed and included, for example, through their Talk Wandsworth events which brings together organisations from multiple sectors.”

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