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02 May 2024

Active Oxfordshire secures £1.3 million to tackle shocking levels of inequality
BY Kath Hudson

Active Oxfordshire targets seeks to remove the barriers to physical activity

Active Oxfordshire targets seeks to remove the barriers to physical activity
photo: Centre for Ageing Better

Active Oxfordshire has received £1.3 million to tackle inactivity and inequality and launch a new programme for children.

The funding has come from the Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire West Integrated Care Board (BOB ICB), Oxfordshire County Council and the region’s city and district councils. It is earmarked to benefit more than 16,000 Oxfordshire residents, who are at the highest risk of leading an inactive lifestyle.

Recent data shows that only half the children in the county are meeting recommended activity levels, while more than one in three Year Six (aged 10-11) pupils are overweight or obese.

In one of the charity’s priority neighbourhoods, only 10 per cent of children leave primary school able to swim, compared to 80 per cent of living in Oxfordshire’s richest areas.

Josh Lenthall, CEO of Active Oxfordshire, described the investment as a milestone and said it will be used to upscale existing programmes and introduce new schemes targeting future generations.

“Our research has proven Oxfordshire is particularly vulnerable to significant inequality gaps which, in our view, hold no place in society as it is today,” he says. “Access to active travel routes, professional guidance from health experts and quality physical activity opportunities should not be a luxury.

“Our sincere thanks goes to our funding partners for enabling the expansion of these programmes. We also extend our thanks to Sport England for ongoing funding and support which allows us to achieve so much impact locally.”

As part of the offering, there will be a new Early Years physical activity offering to get children active at a younger age, as well as plans to work with maternity services to increase activity levels for pregnant women.

Active Oxfordshire’s programmes currently supports 10,000 residents at the highest risk of inactivity. They include YouMove, a programme that provides low cost and free activities to low-income families and Move Together, a pathway for people with long-term health conditions who could benefit from moving more.

The charity has a three-pronged strategy: Healthy Active Children, Healthy Active Adults and Healthy Active Neighbourhoods. Resulting action includes helping schools to bring physical activity into the day and working with partners to increase swimming and cycling across the county; enabling active travel and increasing access to green spaces.

Going forward, its strategic priorities are to create an Active Schools framework, remove barriers to cycling and swimming, create more pathways for physical activity, increase the variety and accessibility of exercise, demonstrate high-quality co-production, influence policy and model new funding approaches.

Sport England’s latest Active Lives Adult Report showed that health inequalities are an enduring issue negatively impacting the health of the nation.



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