The Essex Local Delivery Pilot is a unique opportunity to tackle the issues of inactivity in Essex head on and for our county to become a beacon for best practice. It will need strong partnership working across the county to make it happen.
Over 250,000 adults in Essex are inactive (doing less than 30 minutes of physical activity per week) and nearly 20% of 10 year olds are obese. The high levels of inactivity are causing increased health risk and costing the NHS in Essex alone £58 million each year.
Radical change is needed to turn this situation around and supercharge the physical activity agenda, which is what the Essex Local Delivery Pilot is about.
Essex is just one of 12 Local Delivery Pilots selected by Sport England nationally and all the pilots are deliberately focused on whole system change – the need for strong vision and leadership at the highest level and with the collaboration of all stakeholders, at all levels, being key – not just the sporting infrastructure/ projects and interventions.
The Essex bid to Sport England was submitted by The Essex Health and Wellbeing Board and Active Essex, as well as Colchester Borough Council, Basildon Borough Council, Tendring District Council, the University of Essex and other partners.
In September 2017, at the final stage of the bid process, Essex hosted a delegation from Sport England who met local people and projects in Colchester, Basildon and Tendring to understand the different barriers to participation in sport and physical activity including rapid urban growth, planning issues from new town developments and coastal deprivation.
In December 2017, it was announced that Essex (one of the UK’s largest and most diverse counties) had beaten off competition from over 100 other bids to become one of only 12 places in the country to be part of this game changing initiative. National Lottery funding will be invested in the 12 Local Delivery Pilot schemes to create innovative partnerships that make it easier for people in these communities to access sport and physical activity.
The pilot is led by The Essex Health and Wellbeing Board and supported by Active Essex, Colchester Borough Council, Basildon Borough Council, Tendring District Council, the University of Essex and other partners.
Sport England agreed to the Board’s proposal for three test pilot plans in the county in Colchester, Basildon and Tendring. Together these three areas represent 37% of all inactive people in Essex and by using them as the focus for the Delivery Pilot we will work together to learn what works, (and what doesn’t) in terms of getting people more active. In the longer term the learning's will be translated into a wider Essex plan.
The pilot will not follow a ‘one size fits all approach’ but instead investigate the individual needs and requirements of local communities in the three test pilot areas.
In order to meet the targets of reducing inactivity, Essex has committed to a new ‘whole system change’, meaning that close working between Essex County Council, local councils and grass roots organisations will be at the heart of the approach to getting more people active. This will ensure that the programmes developed within the pilot meet the needs of each local community and create a lasting legacy of increased participation in physical activity and sport.
The leaders and partners have a strong vision and are already committed to the ‘whole system change’ agenda – in practice this is underway through Essex County Council’s Vision for Essex.