In this together: Active Oxfordshire stages virtual Leadership Summit
Posted: Thu, 25 Jun 2020 13:32
On Thursday 18th June, over 50 leaders from across the health, statutory, voluntary and business sectors of Oxfordshire came together to discuss the significant challenges posed by COVID-19 and how we can work together to reshape, recover and re-new; at a time when fighting inactivity and challenging inequality has never been more important. This Summit was also an excellent opportunity to launch Active Oxfordshire's Ten Ambitions and our new Strategic Plan 2020-24.
The Summit included presentations from Ansaf Azhar, Director of Public Health, who spoke about the health and care challenges post COVID and how the inequality gap is set to get even wider. Ansaf shared some shocking statistics as part of this presentation, which disrupts the stereotypical view of Oxfordshire as a leafy, privileged county. Beyond the dreaming spires are 10 wards that feature areas in the top 20% most deprived parts of the UK, and the gap in male life expectancy between North Oxford and Northfield Brook has increased from 4 years in 2003-07 to 15 years in 2011-15. Going forwards, a key priority is to work together to support the most vulnerable people in our community, with a focus on the areas of greatest deprivation.
We also heard from Sir Muir Gray, who challenged us all to rethink the process of getting older (renaissance not retirement!) and encouraged everyone to "every year, do more and every diagnosis, do more" so that we can stay active and live longer, better. Mike Diaper from Sport England then outlined the impact of COVID-19 on activity levels and how Sport England has responded to the crisis, including launching their Community Emergency Fund and Tackling Inequalities Fund. Active Oxfordshire will use funding from this Tackling Inequalities fund to create a partnership project known as "Active Reach", which will be delivered by six key charity partners to reach those people in the greatest need and help them to stay active and improve their health and life chances. Watch this space for more information about this superb community led project!
Alongside the main presentations were case studies from Sara Fernandez, CEO of Oxford Hub, on how Oxford Hub and Active Oxfordshire are working together to help our community's children have equal access to cycling and swimming, including the new Ready, Set, Go project. We also heard from Dick Tracey, a patient who has benefited from the GO Active Get Healthy – Diabetes programme, who spoke about the difference getting active has made to his life. Also featured was Ross Munro, the driver of Aspire's Gym Bus project, which takes physical activity sessions out to people facing homelessness, addiction or mental health issues and helps them to take their first steps in getting active.
The Summit finished with a Q&A session with Rosie Rowe, Healthy Place Shaping Lead, and comments from a range of delegates including Councillors Louise Upton and Andrew McHugh. Feedback from the Summit has been very positive, with many new connections made during the virtual event and a strong commitment across the board to work collaboratively going forwards, to tackle inactivity and fight inequality.
You can listen to a recording of the full Summit here