Agenda item

Strategic Physical Activity Update

To consider an update presentation in respect of development and implementation of the Physical Activity Strategy.


Consideration was given to an update report on the development of strategic physical activity plans within the borough. The presentation included the background context of the programme and the four priorities that had been developed and discussed at recent events with local professionals, partner organisations, and regional stakeholders.  The four priorities were:

       Normalising physical activity / building a social movement

       Employers supporting the workforce to be active

       Front line workers confident to talk about and signpost to physical activity

       Strengthening social prescribing, including embedding physical activity

The presentation identified actions taken to progress each of these priorities and outlined the next steps and future events.


In discussion, co-opted members from Rotherham Speak Up for Autism requested to know more about the impact of the pandemic on the changing culture among employers. The response from the Public Health Consultant noted that changes during lockdown meant there was a short-term increase in many people’s physical activity, such as through taking walks. For some people, those changes hd continued. The variety of different sectors tried to better understand the impact of the pandemic on people’s activity levels. This was something the team are mindful of. Employers were a priority group to engage in the plan, to help build activity into the working day for more people.


Members sought more details around work being done to ensure the plan reached people who were inactive and helped them to become more active. The response from the Public Health Consultant noted that one approach did not fit all people in terms of engaging and motivating people who previously were not active. Working with partners who can work within communities was a key factor in ensuring engagement resonates with people. Examples were offered wherein the plan sought to cater to specific demographics, such as teenage girls who often experience a drop off in activity after school. It was important to at the same time deal with important issues affecting girls of this age to ensure the team could reach the right people. Data collection was another key focus in achieving this and demonstrating impact, for example, where people were driving in from outside the borough instead of people coming from within the borough to access facilities or attend events. For elderly residents, this means looking at the barriers to activity and perceptions of safety within parks and green spaces.


Members sought additional information regarding good practice implemented by statistical neighbours. Officers noted there had been huge enthusiasm at the workshops. It was felt that the number of people who were passionate about physical activity and valued networking and sharing ideas had been noteworthy. The celebration events were for Rotherham to share good practice. Learning from some pilots that had been commissioned had also been a feature at regular sharing weekends where people describe how they have gone about getting their communities more active. The team was linked into those networks and had some small partnerships come out of this engagement work as well. The tackling Inequalities Fund had provided twelve weeks of funding to examine sustainability. A boxing group and a women’s group were among case studies of impact this had had.

Members suggested further promotion of walks and a menu of examples of possible activities. The response from officers noted that local knowledge was key. An activity finder had been considered, but had been found to be resource intensive. The challenge was keeping data hub collation up to date. This was key for participants as well as for professionals to know where to refer into as well for social prescribing. One full package was something that people asked for, however, the challenge was keeping this updated.


Members requested information around whether interested people were able to contact the team. The response from officers noted the objective of the plan was to get people helping themselves. This meant considering how people can pair up to help each other. It was emphasised that physical activity does not have to be through an official organised group. It was noted that leisure centre attendance was back up to pre-pandemic levels.


Members requested information regarding delivery of the priorities. The response noted that there was no delivery team at the moment, although the team were working with voluntary sector clubs. Some of the parents had been active in leading on actions and initiatives. A recreational officer was in place, particularly working with parent-driven projects. Officers noted that support was also provided to others with their clubs.


It was noted that TRFT had demonstrated commitment to healthy active staff and communities through representation at the strategic physical activity events.




1.    That the report be noted.


2.    That a consideration of social prescribing be added to the forward programme of scrutiny work for 2023/24.


Supporting documents: