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West Midlands on the move to boost healthy lives

Published Friday, 18 October 2019

An ambitious set of programmes, encouraging people to be more active, have been designed by the West Midlands Combined Authority to improve health and life expectancy.

Sport England’s latest Active Lives survey reveals West Midlanders participate in activity less than people from any other part of the country.

Topping the table for the West Midlands is Warwick, where 71% of the population are described as active, taking part in at least 150 minutes of activity a week, but in Sandwell only 51% are active.

Birmingham performs better with 58% active, slightly ahead of Coventry with 57% and Solihull has an active population of 61%, showing the disparity between disadvantaged and more affluent areas.

But under the West Midlands on the Move Strategic Framework, a variety of programmes are now being delivered, with more due to be launched in the near future, to tackle inactivity.

Programmes supported by the WMCA include Goodgym, through which people are encouraged to run to locations for community work, including befriending the elderly living in isolation. 

Goodgyms in Birmingham, Coventry and Solihull have attracted 450 volunteers since the first was rolled out in January 2017, completing more than 2,000 community deeds, with a fourth being launched in Warwick and Leamington Spa this week.

Since May, more than 30 organisations have signed up to Include Me, a pioneering pledge to deliver more inclusive physical activity and sport by listening to and understanding the needs of disabled people.

Other WMCA-led programmes, with partners, are due to come on stream by the new year include Swift Public Transport designed to remove barriers to disabled people using buses and trains to  access active places, such as sports centres, and Physical Activity 5000, which aims to improve inclusivity and mental health literacy in the sport and physical activity sector.

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