The council worked with the NHS, Southall Community Alliance, charities, voluntary groups and a variety of other service providers to bid for a share of £100million worth of National Lottery funding.
There is a strong link between physical activity and health, with half of all women and a third of all men nationally thought to be damaging their health through inactivity. This has a major impact on communities as well as costing the NHS and social services billions of pounds.
Encouraging people to be more physically active is an important priority for the council because it helps people to live healthy, independent lives for longer. Southall was put forward for the pilot because it has a number of challenges which could contribute to residents being less active.
There is known to be a strong link between poverty and inactivity and in Southall there are higher levels of unemployment and lower incomes than surrounding areas, plus bigger households and more homes with dependent children. A sixth of the town’s residents also has a disability, and many more people act as unpaid carers, which also has an impact on how much time people have to exercise.
Councillor Julian Bell, Leader of Ealing Council, said: “We are delighted to have been selected for this fantastic scheme. Helping residents to be physically active is a huge priority for us because it makes such an enormous difference to people’s health, independence and quality of life. Empowering communities and supporting people to change their own lifestyles is at the very heart of this project. We’re really grateful to the huge number of people who have already been involved and are keen to work with many more, who can help change people’s lives for the better.”
As well as the council, NHS and other public services, many community organisations, businesses, charities and faith groups are involved in the pilot. Southall is one of the most ethnically diverse towns in the country and has a real sense of community and a strong entrepreneurial spirit. The focus is on harnessing that entrepreneurial spirit to help the community to develop its own long term solutions, which will help people to make lasting changes to their lifestyles.
Minister for Sport Tracey Crouch welcomed the news at the Local Government Associations’ Sport and Physical Activity conference in London today, Tuesday 5 December.
Minister for Sport Tracey Crouch said: "Sport is a powerful tool that helps strengthen communities and improves physical and mental health. So it is right that we look to do all we can to encourage people to take part. Sport England will invest up to £100 million of funding, thanks to National Lottery players, to pilot innovative projects in 12 places to get more people from all backgrounds involved in sport and physical activity. We will look to replicate and scale up learning from the pilots across the country. I look forward to seeing these projects in action."
Jennie Price, Sport England Chief Executive said: “We are delighted that Ealing Council will be working with us on this ground-breaking investment. We want to get to the heart of the issues that stop people being as active as they might like to be, and work alongside every part of the community and the groups and institutions in Southall that support them.
“This is not all about sport - we’re prepared to look at wider issues like transport, childcare, how easy it is to walk or cycle - whatever that community feels is most relevant to them. The process to be appointed as a pilot area for this work was incredibly competitive, and Southall has emerged from a very strong field. I am really delighted to be working with them.”
The 12 places and how they were chosen
The 12 chosen places were selected following a rigorous selection process with Sport England partners including Public Health England. They cover a mix of geographies (urban, rural and coastal), have a range of political make-ups (local authorities, boroughs, counties) and varying population sizes and inequalities to address. They are:
1. Greater Exeter
2. Redcar & Cleveland and Middlesbrough
4. Greater Manchester
5. Pennine Lancashire
7. Birmingham and Solihull
Sport England will work closely alongside each of the local pilots to devise a bespoke approach based on the unique needs of the local communities. Each place is likely to have its own solutions and will have the support of a Sport England team.