Posted: Thu, 09 May 2019 14:12
Elevate 2019 was even bigger and louder than last year. Does this mean it was any good?
Elevate is one of the largest gatherings for the UK's physical activity sector. The event includes a programme of seminars featuring more than 300 speakers and a show floor housing more than 350 exhibitors.
With heavy marketing and must be seen there approach we decided it was too good an opportunity to miss. With a vast array of speakers and topics there was something for everybody, and a bit of hard sell on the latest gym equipment! So the Sports Think Tank became a 'Supporter' this year.
It was worth being there alone just to bump into colleagues from across the sport policy arena (although lots of important people weren't around too).
We firmly believe the wider sector needs a far greater collective voice and approach and it was good to see a little more 'sport' there. However, it still seems a strange mix and obviously heavily Physical Activity/ Gym focussed. It was good to see the elite sport focus and support from UK Sport and the EIS .
I float between Sport and PA as well as Sports Business and although we are all on the same side there is still some way to go for a natural flow of ideas and trust between the various parts. This doesn't mean to say it isn't happening and there are some great examples across the country, with the LDPs and individuals. It just isn't natural yet to see us all on the same side with the same desires. Perhaps Elevate helps bridge some of that gap. At times it feels it accentuates it? Sitting at coffee with a body builder in his vest and biceps in my face at 10am when discussing policies to reach the most inactive seems a bit strange.
I guess my simple takeaway from this and lots of other sport and PA conferences is that the message is still the same at all of them and hasn't changed that much in the last 4-5 years. We are a bit more insight driven, customer focussed and at last turning more attention to diversity but as I move from event to event I start to wonder who hasn't heard this all yet? So why are we all having to repeat the same messages all the time. Why isn't much of it landing both upwards into government and downwards into the sector.?
I am sure this event has a few years ahead of it and we will all turn up again next year. In fact I can see it growing a little. I will be there just to bump into people - have those five minute chats and wonder again why we are not all managing to have a far greater impact given the energy that exists across the sector? Let's make sure we do things with these events and conferences ideas and energy - not just turn up time and time again to hear what the problems are!