Reducing health inequalities - building cohesive communities conference

Reducing health inequalities - building cohesive communities conference

Date: Sun, 15 Aug 2021, 10:00 - 16:00

Venue: Midlands Art Centre, Birmingham

The health inequalities persist in our communities…
The covid pandemic has certainly highlighted the health inequalities that persist in our communities despite the efforts of many providers of community sport and physical activity and we should now accelerate our efforts to reduce those inequalities post-COVID.
Activity levels have been stubbornly constant over the past 10 years, in terms of the number of active people, according to Sport England. Although 15.8 million adults now play sport in England and Wales, which is 1.4 million more than in 2005-06, 58.6% still play no sport at
To change the system means changing what we are passionate about.

Post-Covid community sport and physical activity should make the recovery the process of change. We should NOT recover in the 'old' normal way - post-op patients should not go back to the habits that caused them to need the op. So, health recovery programmes should be integrated into the new integrated care systems.
It is not an either/or choice who we work with - it's about being universal and helping everyone to improve their health.
And we should carry out actions that are universal across the whole population but with scale and intensity that are proportionate to need.
We should reduce the social gradient where people who are less advantaged in terms of socioeconomic position have worse health (and shorter lives) than those who are more advantaged.
So, we need to resource and deliver universal services at a scale and intensity proportionate to the degree of need. And the question is how we improve the health of the whole population, across the social gradient, while simultaneously improving the health of the most disadvantaged people fastest? The system we need to change is not a thing, it's a collection of people like us who need to show more empathy and change our behaviour first.
Changing the system we need to change the behaviour that we need to change we must start with ourselves, and in truth, it may be difficult to change the old ways of doing things.
The old ways haven't worked…

The Batson-Chiles-Webster Commission on Sport and Low-Income Neighbourhoods commissioned research from Sheffield Hallam University and the sad conclusion of the report is that "the various programmes led by NGBs, public sector organisations and others stakeholders have, to date, had only a marginal impact on participation in sport and physical activity in deprived or disadvantaged areas".
We are experiencing an increasing number of cases where people are getting active away from traditional settings such as the leisure centre, gym or sports club but in more familiar surroundings and with people they are more likely to associate with. That could be in their local park, in the middle of the housing estate, the community centre or health centre.

Often these activities are provided by organisations that do not regard themselves as operating within the community sport and physical activity, but these new providers often live in the communities they serve and/or have clear empathy with them and see physical as a way of achieving broader goals, such as overcoming alcoholism or loneliness or improving educational attainment and social cohesion.

The UK is an incredibly diverse place, but the make-up of our coaches and fitness instructors does not reflect that, say. if we are to get some more Portuguese females to play football, then get some Portuguese speaking people involved as Community Connectors as they did at the Big Kid charity in London.

We need to unearth these Community Connectors and encourage them to get their communities into sport and physical activity.

These organisations and people see physical activity as one part of their role, but not the only part. They can often reach some hard-to-reach groups because they live in their world and speak their language.

This event focuses on these issues, highlight best practice and provide thoughts, tools and to-dos on how you too can reduce health inequalities persist in your communities.
Delegates will come from community sports clubs, Active Partnerships, public health bodies governing bodies of sport, local authorities, community sports trusts at our professional and semi-pro clubs, informal sports providers, community sports enterprises, leisure trusts, patient groups, community groups and other community sports providers.
Want to learn more or get involved, then get in touch with Svend Elkjaer on 01423 326 660 or email him at

Tags: Community Sport, Governance, Local Authority, Participation