July 7, 2020 @ 10:45 by Richard Dawson
A new organisation has been launched bringing business, local government, the health sector, education providers and the justice system together to develop more active communities across Northumberland and Tyne and Wear.
The charity, which will be known as Rise, has been formed out of Tyne and Wear Sport and Northumberland Sport, two previously independent active living organisations.
The purpose of Rise is to renew the focus on reducing physical inactivity in communities by way of increased educational attainment, improved physical and mental health and reduced absenteeism and anti-social behaviour.
Research has shown that inactivity is twice as deadly as obesity, with one in six UK deaths due to inactivity.
The North East has the second highest levels of inactivity in the UK, with almost 40 per cent of adults in Tyne and Wear and 30 per cent in Northumberland not meeting guidelines to do 30 minutes of exercise each day.
More than 50 per cent of children and young people in the UK are not meeting guidelines on taking part in sport and physical activity for an average of 60 minutes or more every day.
It is estimated that the cost of inactivity to the economy, including the treatment of diseases and sickness absence, is in excess of £10 billion per year in England.
Rise chief executive, Clare Morley, said: “Our aim is to help our strategic partners to achieve their desired goals by incorporating physical activity into their solutions, and to help create a more active approach to life and travel for residents in our area.
“Achieving these aims involves working with a broad range of local, regional and national partners including six local authorities, NHS, Sport England, businesses, education settings and the justice system to create the conditions for success across a wide range of projects.
“Our purpose is to offer guidance, information, insight and expertise to achieve fundamental and sustained increases in the number of people participating in regular physical activity, with a particular focus on underrepresented and disadvantaged community groups.”
Professor Andrew Walton, chair of Rise, added: “It is more important now than ever that we focus at a strategic level on reducing inactivity in our communities by taking a whole systems approach and push for change at a population level.
“The team at Rise believe that change is possible and we’re ready to lead the exploration, challenge the status quo and do things differently to succeed.
“This will have positive socio-economic benefits for our communities in terms of achieving wider individual, community and project goals through a more active population.”
To mark the launch, Rise is running a week-long series of online events for its existing as well as potential partners available to view at www.wearerise.co.uk/launch.