District council aims to get people in North Kesteven more active

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A new Sport and Physical Activity Strategy agreed by North Kesteven District Council’s Executive Board aims to inspire peopel to be more active, more often.

The Sport, Leisure and Culture Consultancy (SLC) was commissioned by the authority to produce the strategy with the overall aim of providing a clear direction for its sport and leisure services, such as leisure centres.

This reinforces NKDC’s commitment to improving people’s health after it was recently chosen by Public Health England as the only district council from four UK authorities to take part in a study being carried out by Leeds Beckett University on solutions to tackle obesity.

The strategy sets out how key health issues in North Kesteven can be addressed by increased physical activity.

Current statistics show that only 59.4 per cent of adults in the district are considered physically active and just 34.6 per cent are taking part in sport for 30 minutes at least once per week – above the county average but below the national average. Also 65.5 per cent of adults and 15.8 per cent of children in the district are considered to be overweight or obese; and Lincolnshire has higher levels of diabetes than the East Midlands and England.

Proprities include addressing obesity and the risk of diabetes and heart disease by inspiring everyone to be more active, more often; engaging with groups and localities to expand the number of people involved and increase the frequency they participate in physical activity; improving community cohesion through sport and physical activity; and delivering a positive customer experience.

An action plan for the council and its partners includes developing programmes where families can take part in activities together in leisure facilities and in local communities; developing more mass participation programmes using open spaces and existing facilities; focusing on programmes for young people who are not interested in sport, such as street dance, skateboarding, BMX, free running, paintballing and climbing; and develop programmes that use local facilities and open spaces and have a social aspect for older people, for example walking clubs.

Local providers of services, including the military, schools, 1 Life, parishes and voluntary organisations have been surveyed, as well as a workshop with key stakeholders from Public Health, Lincolnshire Sport and school community sport.

Coun Lindsey Cawrey, Executive Board Member with responsibility for Leisure and Culture, said: “Improving people’s level of physical activity will play a key role in addressing health problems and reducing the costs of treating them.

“Not only are there the health benefits of leading more active lives, sports and physical activities are a great way of meeting new people and building confidence.

“As a council we are committed to ensuring that the district’s residents can lead fit and healthy lives with facilities that enable them to do this, as demonstrated by the £2.85m investment in redeveloping Sleaford Leisure Centre in 2013 as well as the ongoing £3.6m renovations at ONE NK in North Hykeham.

“NK has only recently been chosen as the only district council from among just four UK local authorities hand-picked to participate in Public Health England’s three-year pilot that aims to shape new solutions to tackle obesity. I am sure the Sport and Physical Activity Strategy will go a long way to supporting this.”