Active Luton asked Strategic Leisure to assist them in compiling a bid to Round 2 of the Sport England Community Activation Fund. This Fund has very specific criteria and required outcomes.
Luton Council and the Local Strategic Partnership identified a number of significant health issues in Luton, which relate to family poverty, obesity, health inequalities, and specific instances of disease/illness. These are largely a product of the local demography and economy of the town’s community, of which a significant element is BME.
Developing the Community Activation Fund bid involved extensive face to face consultation with local partners, including Sport England, stakeholders and potential participants, as well as significant and focused research into both local need, and opportunities to change participation behavior. Demonstrating the evidence to support the project need, and implementation approach was critical.
The bid was developed collaboratively to ensure partner buy in and commitment, and critically that the appropriate emphasis was given to the rationale for the project focus and outcomes to be achieved
The development of the bid was planned and co-ordinated from the outset, to ensure all input was obtained and reflected. Significant time was allowed for consultation and partner input, plus the collation of relevant local data.
The challenges the project addresses in terms of facilitating and supporting participation include:
A perception of high costs of participation, particularly for attendance at facility-based sessions • Lack of knowledge of the Leisure Card benefits in terms of concessionary access • Lack of a ‘safe’ place to participate Cultural acceptability of available activity • Lack of awareness of what is available, when and where • Perception that activities are all attended by very able, physically fit women, not women like themselves • Lack of female leaders/coaches • Lack of capacity within present clubs to run female only sessions with female coaches .
This project involves a new Approach to delivery, based on the lessons learnt from previous work in the area:
Must be in a community setting • Hit squad approach • Appropriate activity • Early Intervention • Learn from others and informal consultation e.g. women were running together but in their own street where they felt safe; they would not go into the park which is perceived as dangerous.
The outcome of the bid is committed funding of £220k.
The project reflects, and addresses identified corporate priorities for the Council and other local strategic stakeholders, in terms of health, social integration and community involvement.
Taking place in Luton, in local places and spaces, the project is an extensive partnership between Luton Council, Active Luton, and the University of Bedfordshire (Luton campus), plus a number of Governing Bodies England Athletics, ASA, Netball England, Badminton England, the ECB, and other stakeholders, as highlighted in the sporting landscape map.
The main delivery agents of the Community Activation project are Active Luton, The University of Bedfordshire (Luton campus), and identified NGBs.