Moving towards a healthier Gloucestershire

One Gloucestershire health and care partners have invested more than £1.2 million in ‘Gloucestershire Moves’, a programme designed to help 30,000 inactive people get moving.
It’s a crucial step towards supporting better health and wellbeing within local communities, because around a third of people across the county currently aren’t managing the national recommendation of 150 minutes’ physical activity per week.

The NHS, Gloucestershire County Council, local sports partnership Active Gloucestershire and Sport England are all supporting the Gloucestershire Moves programme, which helps individuals, businesses and communities to look at all aspects of daily life – at home, in work places and during travel and leisure time – to see where they could add more physical activity into the day.

Emma Savage, from the One Gloucestershire Integrated Care System (ICS) said:
“Gloucestershire Moves focuses on helping people to incorporate physical activity into their daily lives, with being physically active becoming the norm, rather than something people have to think about doing – or see as a chore.

The Gloucestershire Moves team is working with the county council, the NHS, businesses, voluntary and community organisations and citizens themselves to spread the message and get people involved.”

Active Gloucestershire leads on the programme, but its chief executive, Deborah Potts, says that the aim in the long term is to support others to organise activities for themselves.

She explained: “Our research showed that the programmes which worked best at shifting an entire population’s behaviour were most successful when a movement was built around a whole range of people – residents, workers, policy makers and so on – all united behind a common purpose, not around an organisation.

In September 2019 we launched the Fall Proof campaign promoting strength and balance classes and exercises for older people. It achieved great engagement across the board, from the class providers, the community, NHS and care services and older people themselves.

We also run one of the most successful Daily Mile initiatives in the country – and that’s because we’ve taken an existing campaign and added a Gloucestershire Moves twist, through stronger targeting and creating a movement within schools.”

The Daily Mile encourages children to spend 15 minutes a day running or jogging and it has been taken up by more than half of primary schools across the county. The Daily Mile team is working with the Gloucestershire Healthy Living and Learning service to provide support to 58 local schools with low levels of physical activity.

Lisi Cottam, Daily Mile Coordinator, said:
“Schools are seeing their children transformed by the Daily Mile. Not only does it support physical fitness, it also helps children with stress, and a short burst of activity stimulates the brain and boosts concentration levels. Being regularly active helps improve mental and emotional wellbeing, and we hear from schools that this is just as important to them as the physical side. Taking part also gives teachers an opportunity to have a different type of conversation with a young person, in a more informal setting outside the classroom.”

Kerry George, Foundation Teacher at Longlevens Infant School, added:
“The Daily Mile has not only helped to increase children’s physical development, it has also had a positive impact on behaviour and is inclusive for all abilities.”

Another initiative, Beat the Street, appeals to people’s sense of competition by turning 90 lampposts across Gloucester into beat boxes that they need to run, walk or cycle between to collect points. In summer 2019 the game ran over eight weeks and a total of 10,181 people took part, covering more than 80,000 miles between them.

People who took part in 2018 were asked about their activity levels since afterwards. Before taking part in the game, 15 per cent of them were less active than they should be; that figure has fallen to just eight per cent now. 88 per cent of children said they felt more active and move more since playing the game. Through building a great community spirit to support individual efforts to be more physically active, Gloucestershire Moves can continue to make a real difference to long term health and wellbeing across the county.