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Senior health leaders gather in ‘first of its kind’ forum to target physical health and get Oxfordshire moving

Senior health leaders gather in ‘first of its kind’ forum to target physical health and get Oxfordshire moving

Posted: Tue, 18 Dec 2018 09:17

Senior health leaders gather in ‘first of its kind’ forum to target physical health and get Oxfordshire moving

Senior executives and key leaders in health from across Oxfordshire have joined forces for the first time to commit to tackling the county's "inactivity crisis".

The inaugural Oxfordshire Leadership Forum, co-hosted by Active Oxfordshire, Oxford City Council and Oxfordshire County Council, took place at the Rose Hill Community Centre in Oxford last Friday (7th December). The Forum hosted senior representatives from a variety of organisations including Sport England, local authorities, Oxfordshire County Council's public health team and Clinical Commissioning Group, as well as third sector charities such as MIND, Age UK and Access Sport.

They gathered together to turn their joint focus to helping to get the county's 105,000 inactive people moving and engaging with young people across the county who are now at the heart of the battle to get Oxfordshire active.

Ian Hudspeth, leader of Oxfordshire County Council, helped welcome attendees to the event.

"What is great to see is that there is unity around a common cause. Every single one of us has a story about their own journey to physical activity, and that's important to remember. We all have a part to play in inspiring the people of this county to get physically active," he said.

More than 40 partners heard keynote speeches from Sport England executive director Mike Diaper OBE; former Loughborough MP Andy Reed MBE; and Dr William Bird OBE, founder of Beat The Street and CEO of Intelligent Health.

Active Oxfordshire CEO Keith Johnston, who chaired the day, welcomed the creation of the Forum, and said that it was a crucial step in bringing key names together to tackle the vital issue of inactivity.

"I was absolutely delighted to welcome three important and respected keynote speakers of such quality and also with the passion, drive and direction of the discussions that everyone in the room fully contributed to on the day," he said.

"Everyone recognised the importance of what we're trying to do together, and how Active Oxfordshire's role is important in brokering these discussions and sharing some of the great work that individual partners are doing".

Focus areas for future forums will include more place-based work and campaigning to help broaden diversity and widen access to physical activity and sport, as well as measuring the impact of health-focused projects more precisely to demonstrate value for money.

Councillor Louise Upton, vice chair of the Health Improvement Board and City Council board member for Healthy Oxford, welcomed people to the Rose Hill Community Centre by highlighting the importance of tackling inequality.

"A focus on community engagement in tackling physical inactivity is absolutely crucial," she said. "Being here, in one of the most deprived wards in the county, shows a commitment to getting to the heart of the real issues that this Forum should strive to take on".

"It's crucial to keep the momentum generated by this first initial meeting of the forum going," said Keith Johnston. "We've got a magnificent opportunity here to continue to make a real difference in Oxfordshire as part of a social movement to create truly active lifestyles in every part of the county," added Keith Johnston.

"Active Oxfordshire aims to play its crucial part in this collective work. I was delighted to hear Mike Diaper, a senior director at Sport England, remind people of the importance of organisations like ours, and I can only echo his words: we're here to make the case, to evidence, impact, and share data and best practice, but most of all to help and support partners across the county".

The date of the next forum will be announced shortly. Active Oxfordshire is keen to make these forums a joint effort, and invites comments from all those involved in tackling physical inactivity across the county. Please email us at info@activeoxfordshire.org.

Key discussion topics

Attendees at the event help a series of round-table discussions to agree a clear path forward not only for future forums, but also for a strategic path for all of those involved in tackling inactivity across the county.

Attendees proposed a number of key next steps, targets and a wider call to action:

  • Developing a simple 'case for activity' based on Dr William Bird's presentation that everyone can use
  • Encouraging all present at the forum to work towards, and hold themselves accountable to, the agreed Health Improvement Board targets for physical activity
  • Forming a task group
  • Link campaigns and promotions across the year to create greater awareness cross-county and join and unite around GO Active as an umbrella brand
  • Creating a movement to share a common cause focused on tackling inactivity
  • Form a task group of key agencies to support collaborative working and place-shaping across Oxfordshire
  • Creating a shared model to demonstrate impacts and outcomes.

Tags: Leadership Forum, Partner News, Partners, Physical Activity