How Bristol’s citizens will be encouraged to improve their physical and mental wellbeing by building more sport and exercise into their lifestyles will be considered by the Mayor and Cabinet next week.
A new five-year approach, co-ordinating Bristol’s sporting organisations and health bodies towards promoting physical activity and healthy living to all residents of the city, is to be reviewed at the January 21 meeting at City Hall.
The Sport and Physical Activity Strategy for Bristol, developed by Bristol City Council in tandem with a wide range of clubs and groups including the Bristol Sports Forum, outlines how local citizens will be offered increasing opportunities to include sport and physical activity in their regular routines.
Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol, said: “A city that promotes and supports sport and physical activity will mean our citizens are able to thrive. We want all of Bristol to be given the opportunity and encouragement to enjoy and build more into their lives, whatever the circumstances.
“As a city we have committed to tackling health issues such as childhood obesity, health inequality and a general decline in mental health. Our One City Plan focuses on the ambition to improve across these areas as part of our vision of Bristol’s citizens to stay well and healthy.
“Organisations who share these beliefs are already working together and this strategy will provide them with a citywide blueprint as they invest in and provide services which provide these fulfilling opportunities.’’
Running to 2025, the strategy would seek to provide equal support towards planning and delivering investment, services and opportunities within sport and activity across Bristol, helping to reduce health inequality and the life expectancy gap between different areas of the city.
Halting the rise in childhood and adult obesity and pushing at least 50 per cent more people living in wards with the highest deprivation levels to do more than 30 minutes physical activity a week are central to the ambitions of the approach.
The plan also wants to keep Bristol as the most active Core City in the country, working towards at least 65% of people in all parts of the city achieving the recommended amount of physical activity by 2030.
As well as highlighting the benefits of competitive sport via promoting major sporting events and opportunities for talented athletes, the new strategy would also aim to develop sustainable travel plans for schools and increase the use of parks and open spaces as ways to boost physical activity.
Steve Nelson, CEO of Wesport, said: “The evidence that being physically active is beneficial for physical and mental health, developing life skills and bringing communities together is overwhelming. Through this strategy Wesport will be able to work collaboratively with the council and other organisations to bring these benefits to life for all Bristolians. We look forward to helping implement this strategy in the coming months and years.”
Ben Breeze, Chief Community Officer at the Bristol Sport Foundation, said: “Bristol Sport Foundation are wholeheartedly committed to working in partnership with Bristol City Council, Sport England and other key partners from the health and sport development sector with the aim of reducing health inequalities across the City of Bristol.
“We look forward to playing our part in demonstrating how increased physical activity can have a positive impact on the physical and mental health of communities, especially those in low social economic, inactive or disadvantaged areas. We are proud to work in partnership with Bristol City Council and look forward to contributing towards this new Sport & Physical Activity Strategy.”
Adam Tutton, Chief Executive Officer, Bristol Rovers Community Trust, said: "As CEO of Bristol Rovers Community Trust I am delighted to have been able to work alongside Bristol City Council and other key sporting organisations to help develop and shape the city's new Sport and Physical Activity Strategy.
“Issues such as health inequalities, childhood obesity and mental health have all been considered and I feel this new strategy really aims to tackle these issues head on, to enable Bristol's citizens to improve their physical health and mental wellbeing.’’
Karen Lloyd, Active Ageing Bristol Manager, said: ‘Health inequalities mean that there are stark differences in how long people can expect to live and how many of those years will be lived in good health. We know that inactivity harms our health.
“If physical activity were a medicine we could talk about it as the miracle cure – it has the ability to prevent a wide range of long term conditions, including dementia, cancer, Parkinson’s, Stroke, Type 2 Diabetes and coronary heart disease.
“This new strategy is most welcome, as it aims to use the unique power of physical activity and sport to bring communities together and to improve people’s physical and mental wellbeing – by enabling all Bristolians to move more.’’
Matt Birch, Director of Sport, Exercise and Health at the University of Bristol, said: “We know what impact taking part in regular sport or activity can have on people’s mental as well as physical wellbeing and we’re pleased to being playing our part in this strategy, building upon the existing good work of many organisations in the city towards a shared goal of bringing these positive impacts to as many people in Bristol as we can.’’
Chris Perks, Executive Director, Local Delivery at Sport England, said: “At Sport England we are focussed on everyone from every background having the opportunity to be more physically active. In our ambition to reduce inactivity we know we need to tackle some huge inequalities in participation that are stubborn and hard to change. These inequalities are often most prominent in areas of deprivation and so it's encouraging to see Bristol wanting to focus its efforts in those communities.
“We know this is not a quick fix and it takes a whole place, its partners and resources to come together behind a common purpose. Building on what is already strong and then meaningfully engaging with communities to better understand their lives and how sport and physical activity could play a positive part in their everyday life.
“I'd like to thank our colleagues and partners in the city for their commitment to this and we look forward to working collaboratively with them in ensuring this new strategic plan is a success for the people and communities of Bristol.’’
Details regarding the new Sport and Physical Activity Strategy, as well as the January 21 Cabinet meeting are available via the Bristol City Council website.