Improving local health and quality of life beyond hope
2018, November 12th
Prior to 2005, Liverpool’s health rates were extremely poor: low life expectancy, high mortality, and severe health inequalities across the city. Poor health areas were equally those with poor sport and physical activity rates, yet only 1 in 5 of all residents proved to meet the weekly sport and physical activity (SPA) levels. The number of employee sickness days and the growth of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCD), like obesity, had gotten completely out of hand- studies calculated the annual costs of Liverpool’s obesity to be £5 million to national health and £15 million to its own economy.
In 2005, Liverpool Active City was the first established plan seeking to increase SPA levels amongst all its inhabitants. The following year Liverpool Sports & Physical Activity Alliance was implement to coordinate the city’s efforts and offers, while monitoring the project’s progress. This first strategy proved so successful that in 2014 Liverpool elaborated a new plan, Physical Activity and Sport Strategy 2014-2021’ (PAS Strategy), which builds on the achievements of its predecessor and further aims to make Liverpool England’s most active city by 2021!
The PAS Strategy encourages soft mobility as one of the most sustainable changes in behaviours, which is furthered by the communication campaign Liverpool Cycling Revolution 2014-2026 increases access to public transport access, walkways and bicycle lanes.
PAS Strategy encourages and promotes greater use of public spaces (parks, street, sport infrastructures) for sport and physical activities. In addition, identified such zones are undergoing restoration. The initial Liverpool Active City Program established sport and leisure centres across all of the city’s neighbourhoods, which continue to provide quality services and to cater their offers in order to attract all of the local populations.
PAS Strategy studies the societal impact of sport on students, in collaboration with other stakeholders of the English sport movement and of the education sphere. A diversity of organisations and programs continue to collaborate in order to keep youths busy with extracurricular activities, with particular focus on neighbourhoods subject to antisocial behaviours. Liverpool School Sports Partnership (LSSP) is a partnership between Liverpool schools that gathers and redistributes sport resources and infrastructures for the greater benefit of the children.
PAS Strategy, based on the success of the Workplace Charter and on the Merseytravel’s Employers network, PAS monitors local firms’ commitment and actions to offering more opportunities to be active to their staff. In 2018, PAS and the local NHS released a free Active Workplace Toolkit that is elaborated in a cost-effective, quick and simple manner to implement.
The following table seeks to bring forth the key elements and success factors of Liverpool’s transformation from being one of the country’s least active cities, to aiming to be one of the best! The table is non-exhaustive and strives to offer a more concrete idea of how to become an Active City.