Plenary session three explored how local authorities and NGOs, in cooperation with sports clubs and association, can work together in bridging the gap between grassroots sports and health, and how key agencies in traditionally separate sectors can cooperate to address the burgeoning obesity epidemic and so-called ‘physical inactivity time-bomb’.
The role of volunteers in sport was also examined and how they can be used to reach people at a local level, how they can encourage active citizenship, and how they can also be a powerful social tool to engage communities in many areas – including health.
More than one in four people in England do less than 30 minutes of physical activity a week, and the situation is similar across much of Europe. Advancements in business and improvements in technology have created a culture where we all move less often and spend more time sitting, and this is having a significant impact on our health and contributing to the rise in non-communicable diseases.
Sarah Ruane, National Strategic Lead for Health and Sport at Sport England discussed their new strategy and a raft of new funding opportunities targeting those who are typically less active such as women, disabled people and those from lower-socioeconomic backgrounds.
Mega events are often thought of as large-scale cultural events which have an intrinsic commercial element, boosting the local economy, generating income for local businesses through leisure and tourism and creating additional jobs. Mega events also present fans from all over the world with the opportunity to experience a different culture and be part of something with international significance.
Whilst elite sports people will hit the headlines for breaking records and scoring crucial goals, there are often dozens of organisations working behind the scenes to improve the experience for fans through improving tournament policies and practices, reducing operational costs and waste, and providing a positive legacy for local communities.
Plenary session four discussed the UEFA approach to social responsibility and the core directives of their portfolio that include anti-discrimination and diversity, social integration and reconciliation, active and healthy lifestyles and promoting football for all. This session also examined how mega events can be designed with the health of fans and staff in mind through the implementation of No Tobacco policies and encouraging supporters to include an ‘active’ component in their journey.