Speakers at the ukactive Active Uprising event in London yesterday, including Sports Minister, Andrew Scott and former England Lioness Jill Scott, discuss the government's help provide growth for the sector and rescue NHS
A greater collaborative approach and further support from government has been urged by the physical activity sector to develop growth and rescue the NHS, following the ukactive Active Uprising event in London.
The full day conference was held yesterday at the QEII Conference Centre in Westminster, featuring a host of speakers that included, Sports Minister Stuart Andrew, Labour MP Kim Leadbetter and former England Lioness football player Jill Scott MBE.
The theme of the conference centred around the importance of a joined-up government strategy to enhance encouragement for people to undertake more exercise, as well as the importance of greater collaboration to save the ailing NHS.
Opening the event, ukactive chair Mike Farrar warned Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Labour leader Keir Starmer there would be “no growth without health” and that any future government must make physical activity a central part of its health and economic strategies.
Losing the battle
He said: “We are currently losing the battle for the nation’s health, but it doesn’t have to be this way.
“I’m today calling on our party leaders, as a matter of urgency, to deploy the physical activity sector to help save the NHS and turbocharge the economy.
“The road to a better NHS, a healthier workforce and a happier Britain lies at the heart of every community – in our nation’s gyms, swimming pools and leisure centres.
“Physical activity is one of our best weapons in the battle with sickness and disease. The evidence is irrefutable – put physical activity in your strategy.”
His thoughts were followed by Andrew who confirmed that “more work needs to be done” on both sides of the political divide.
Andrew highlighted the ongoing work from government, including the new Sport Strategy, ‘Get Active’, which sets out to build a more active nation and ensure the sector can thrive in the years ahead.
Sports Strategy ‘Get Active’
As part of the strategy, the government has committed to the target of 2.5 million more adults and 1 million more children being classed as ‘active’ by 2030.
“Too many people are still not getting the benefits that being physically active brings. As a Government we continue to consider ways in which we can ensure that the sector has the conditions to enable it to prosper. Because we know the more active we are, the stronger and healthier our communities and economy, and the more prosperous our society.
“I thank you for all you do and I urge you all to continue to make sport and physical activity an essential part of everyone’s daily life. No matter how big or small your business, together, we can make a difference.”
Leadbetter agreed: “This has got to be done on a cross-sector basis. We have got to have government and local authorities and the public sector work with the voluntary sector where a lot of heavy lifting is done on health and wellbeing.
“As for the private sector, which business doesn’t want a happy and healthy workforce? In government too, this must be cross-departmental and not just sit with the health department. It is not just prevention and early intervention when it comes to health. It is about getting people into healthy habits. There are massive economic benefits if we can get this right.”
Lioness, Jill Scott
Scott, former European Champion and Lioness also outlined her work as member of the government’s National Physical Activity Taskforce.
“I’m a huge believer in the power of sport and physical activity to improve the health and opportunities of people of all ages, and it’s such an important challenge for our nation to take on,” said Scott.
The conference also hosted additional speakers from across the healthcare and physical activity, discussing topics that included developing growth areas, sustainability, research and development.
The keynote panel session, in particular drew a big crowd, featuring speakers Charlotte Osborn-Forde, chief executive officer for the National Academy for Social prescribing. She was joined by Ben Beevers, group development director at Everyone Active, Emmerline Irving from West Yorkshire Health & Care Partnership, Dr Davina Deniszczyc, medical and chairty director at Nuffield Health and George MacGinnis, challenge director for healthy ageing at UKRI.
paf was in attendance at as media partner for the event, providing details of Stable Event's upcoming paf Europe conference, held in Switzerland later this month.
Themes from the conference and the importance of collaboration with the healthcare sector will feature in the March edition of paf.