Agenda item

Presentation - Active Cumbria

To receive a presentation from the Senior Manager (Development) Active Cumbria


A presentation was received from the Senior Manager (Development) Active Cumbria about tacking physical inactivity. The presentation covered the following:


·         Why physical activity?

·         The inactivity challenge – adults

·         The inactivity challenge – children and young people

·         3 year plan 2018-2021

·         Local delivery

·         Primary role headline priorities

·         Primary role priority areas

·         Looking ahead – post COVID 19 and a new 5 year plan

·         How can you help?


The purpose of the presentation was to inform members about what was being done to tackle inactivity in Cumbria and Eden. Since COVID 19, there had been a shift in opinion and now exercise was seen as a necessity. The Officer talked members through the presentation.


A member raised that some members of the public had been self-isolating during the COVID 19 lockdown and would be reluctant to leave home and asked how Active Cumbria would address this and if there was any Government guidance on this matter. The Senior Manager talked members through Active Cumbria’s continuing virtual support for individuals and families and the online resources available to support people through the lockdown period. He referred to leaflets from Public Health England (PHE) for older adults about exercise which had been circulated to those shielding or who may have been isolated during lockdown.


The same member referred to the 5 year plan regarding supporting the Climate Emergency agenda via Active Travel. He noted it was acceptable to encourage people to actively travel but asked what could be done if there was no public transport available and asked for suggestions on how this could be addressed. The Senior Manager reported on joint working with colleagues in Highways and Transport on this matter and highlighted a request from the DfT relating to when children returned to school to try to reduce the demand on public transport. The Senior Manager reported on a number of options to reduce demand such as creating more park and ride schemes and encouraging a drop off further away from school so children could walk part of the way.


Members were informed that the presentation could be widely shared and an offer was made for Active Cumbria to give the presentation to other interested groups. The Area Manager invited an Active Cumbria representative to join the Eden Recovery Group. The Chair informed the Committee about an Active Cumbria officer whose attendance was welcomed at the Committee’s Children and Young People Working Group. He reported on the physical activity initiatives that had been introduced through the Working Group.


The Local Member for Alston welcomed that the division was mentioned in the presentation and made a plea that there was visibility in the localities of the work that was being undertaken by Active Cumbria. She considered that joint working with support groups in Eden would maximise activity opportunities in the localities. The Senior Manager asked that if there were any physical activity and sports initiatives that members knew of, that they contacted his colleague Becky Underwood so Active Cumbria could engage and unlock the benefits for people living in Eden.


A member was impressed about the level of activity across Eden and asked whether the PHE leaflets had been printed in easy read and queried how well the Council was working together. She highlighted the work of the Countryside Access Team and the increased number of public reports for improvement and repair to footpaths made to the team during lockdown. She considered that if increased improvements to the countryside were made, more people would be able to exercise in a pleasant environment. The Senior Manager confirmed that the leaflets were produced in easy read and would be circulated to the Committee. He reported on the positive engagement with the County Council since Active Cumbria’s inception and current work with Active Travel to achieve sustainable travel. He commented on Walking for Health initiatives in Eden and asked members to contact Active Cumbria if they knew of opportunities it could engage with. He was pleased to report that Active Cumbria was confident in securing funding for another 5 years.


A member highlighted the challenge of recruiting to and supporting younger people participating in sports clubs. He noted that sporting activity dropped off in teenage years and asked what role Active Cumbria played in this matter. He asked about connectivity between Active Cumbria and local business with regard to offering subsidised gym/leisure centre passes. The Senior Manager commented positively on the high rate of children and young people in Eden who took part in sporting activity which was credited to the Eden Valley Sports Partnership. Active Cumbria worked with Governing Bodies of national sports to try and increase participation in sports.


The Senior Manager reported that Active Cumbria had now shifted its emphasis from traditional sports to physical activity in general and its work focussed on sustainable support in communities for physical activity in general rather than short term initiatives. He acknowledged that work would continue with leisure providers to increase provision of leisure facilities however, there would be constraints which related to the impact of COVID 19 and the furloughing of staff.


A short discussion took place on the wording and colour coding used in the presentation. It was suggested by a member that the presentation be given to the Eden Association of Local Councils. The member highlighted that the Committee regularly awarded grants for physical activity initiatives which supported the aims and objectives of Active Cumbria. In referring to physical literacy changing with age, the member thought it would be useful to explore this further so funding could be targeted better and best value could be obtained from the Committee’s grants.


The Senior Manager considered that physical activity was a tool to achieve behavioural change. He talked about the support for key findings on physical literacy and how it was being used for supporting improvement in early year’s settings. The Chair commented on how there was increasing focus on reducing obesity and inactivity levels in early years and offered to attend the Committee’s Children and Young People’s Working Group to discuss the matter. This was welcomed by the Chair of the Working Group. The Senior Manager informed members about the investment from businesses in the county for initiatives in Allerdale and Copeland and his aim to roll this out around the county.


A member described how using public transport added to people’s activity levels. Activity levels were reduced when there was no public transport provision because when people used a car, they travelled door to door with no exercise undertaken. The Senior Manager acknowledged this point and offered a number of suggestions which could be employed on a daily basis to increase people’s activity levels. He advocated a change in behaviour in some older people so they continued to be active.


The Chair considered exercise as a tool to change behaviour and engage the community. The Chair thanked the Senior Manager (Development) Active Cumbria for his interesting and informative presentation.




1             Public Health Leaflet to be circulated to the Committee

2             The presentation be given to the Eden Association of Local Councils

3             The Senior Manager (Development) Active Cumbria attend the Committee’s Children and Young People’s Working Group to discuss obesity and physical inactivity in early years

4             The position be noted.

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