Health bosses aim to get Harlow people moving

Communities / Tue 19th May 2015 at 10:38am

LET’S Get Moving, a proven service that supports people to be more physically active, is to be rolled out across West Essex GP surgeries in June, supporting up to 23,000 residents.

Essex County Council and Active Essex have confirmed this dynamic partnership with not-for-profit health body ukactive and physical activity experts to deliver behaviour change support over an initial three year period.

The announcement follows the Health Select Committee calls to establish physical activity as a top-tier public health priority and a re-positioning of local authority funding towards projects that aim to create a more active society.

Let’s Get Moving focuses exclusively on people who are physically inactive and supports them to become healthier, with the added benefit of delivering time and cost savings to existing health services. Participants meet one-to-one with a locally recruited community exercise professional, trained in motivational interviewing, within their GP surgery for up to 12 weeks. From signposting to community activities, to peer-led group sessions, participants are able to access all of the support and resources they may need to lead a healthier lifestyle.

Developed by ukactive over the past four years with the support of a range of partners including Sport England, the programme is already running in Birmingham, Luton, Bedford and Central Bedfordshire. Twenty-three GP surgeries have already hosted the service and over 20,000 people reached to date. In recognition of its potential to be scaled up nationwide, the programme has received further funding for this extension into Essex from leading social innovation charity Nesta, who are also supporting the programmes expansion in Birmingham.

The ukactive Research Institute are monitoring the programme’s impact and have already evidenced that participants increase their physical activity by an average of 340 minutes per week – more than double the 150 minutes per week recommended by Public Health England.

Essex County Council’s Cabinet Member for Public Health and Wellbeing, Cllr Anne Brown said: “Evidence shows that nearly half of Essex residents do not take part in any sport or recreational activity. We know that inactivity can have a serious impact on people’s health, with an inactive person spending on average 38% more days in hospital than an active person.

“Essex County Council is thrilled to be working with Active Essex and ukactive in supporting ‘Let’s Get Moving’ which we hope will demonstrate a sustained increase in participants activity levels as well as positively impacting on their health and wellbeing.”

Steven Ward, Executive Director at ukactive, said: “Turning the tide of physical inactivity is our area of expertise and passion. We have a mutual objective with the health community in promoting physical activity to the least active with an active lifestyle helping to treat, prevent or manage twenty different lifestyle conditions. We want to see a dedicated exercise specialist based within every GP surgery across the country.

“We’re grateful for the support of key partners such as Essex County Council, Birmingham City Council, Luton Borough Council, Nesta and Sport England for sharing and backing this vision with investment that helps to spread the Let’s Get Moving service.”

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