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Physical activity strategy 2022 to 2032

Foreword

Councillor Angela Douglas, Cabinet Member for Culture, Sport and Leisure 
Councillor Bernadette Oliphant, Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing

For too long, many of the people with the most to gain from being physically active have often been the least able to take part. A combination of structural, social, environmental and economic factors have all played their part in keeping people away from physical activity, including access and affordability, a lack of opportunities, or a feeling for some that 'physical activity is not for them' or they 'don't belong' in sports facilities or clubs.

The Covid-19 pandemic has been devastating for many individuals and communities and it has both highlighted and exacerbated inequalities in Gateshead. Even before the pandemic, many aspects of modern life made it harder to live a healthy and active life: new technology at home and work, convenience food, more sedentary jobs, and a growth in leisure activities such as gaming have all played a part. Many of us need to make a conscious decision to build physical activity into our daily lives.

However, the pandemic has also brought with it a new energy to do things differently and to tackle long standing inequalities. We have seen the power of social action in communities when local community groups stepped up to support their vulnerable neighbours. We also learned how much successful partnerships can achieve when local government, health and other public sector partners, charities, the voluntary sector and community groups come together behind a shared goal. We can continue to build on this renewed focus and purpose as we look to the future.

Just before the pandemic began, Gateshead Council and partners published Gateshead's Health and Wellbeing Strategy, 'Good jobs, homes, health and friends'. It sets out our ambition to make Gateshead a place where everybody can thrive. In a world living with Covid, it is now more relevant than ever.

We know that supporting people to be active is a vital part of achieving our vision for Gateshead. Not only can physical activity have profound benefits for our physical health, but it's also good for our mental wellbeing too. What's more, it helps us meet new friends, improves job opportunities and has huge value to the nation's economy. It can also help us move towards a greener future. Visit Uniting the Movement Strategy, Sports England 2021 Uniting the Movement | Sport England (opens new window).

As a Marmot City , we are passionate about the need to build back fairer. We want to ensure that every Gateshead resident can easily access a range of opportunities for sport and physical activity regardless of age, gender, race, ability, background, where they live or income. As part of our ambition to make Gateshead a place where everyone thrives, we need to get Gateshead moving. We particularly want to support those who are least active, or face the greatest barriers to physical activity, and so build a stronger, fairer society for all.

Read the full report. (PDF) [2MB]