P1. Physical Activity: Community

“We will use our local presence to get more children and adults more active, more often including engaging communities in planning and delivery.”

The following provides background and supporting information to help organisations understand what this pledge sets out to achieve and how, by becoming a Responsibility Deal partner, you can help deliver this pledge.

What this pledge sets out to achieve, and why it is important

This pledge will increase the number of children and adults participating in community based sport and physical activity opportunities.

This pledge asks business, voluntary, community and other organisations to use their local presence to support and promote sport and physical activity opportunities for all groups within the community. It also seeks to engage local communities in the development of local sport and physical activity opportunities so that they better meet local needs.

Evidence shows that nearly three-quarters of children and two-thirds of adults do not meet the Chief Medical Officer’s recommended guidelines for physical activity, ‘Start Active, Stay Active’.  Evidence shows that people in deprived communities and from certain black and minority ethnic groups are at greater risk of inactivity.

Physical inactivity places a signficant burden on the economy.  The costs of lost productivity are estimated to be approximated £5.5 billion a year from sickness absence and £1 billion a year from the premature death of people of working age.

Benefits to public health

The health benefits of regular physical activity are significant and well evidenced, as are the health risks of long periods of sedentary behaviour. Regular physical activity also helps reduce the risks of developing long-term/chronic conditions such as coronary heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, osteoporosis and some cancers.  People who are physically active reduce their of developing stroke and type 2 diabetes by up to 50 per cent and the risk of premature death by up to 30 per cent  For older people, adopting a physically active lifetsyle can significantly enhance mobility and balance, as well as reduce the risk of falling and hip fractures.

The wider benefits of regular physical activity include helping people maintain a healthy weight; contributing to better mental health – helping to combat depression and lead to an improved sense of wellbeing; as well as helping to improve social interaction.

Helping inactive people to undertake low or moderate levels of activity will produce the greatest health benefits and a much reduced risk of developing long-term/chronic conditions.

Benefits to employers/employees

A healthy, active population is good for business and the economy as a whole. Promoting physical activity as part of a wider health and wellbeing programme for your employees can reduce absenteeism, keep people economically active for longer, and increase your productivity and prosperity.

This pledge also provides scope for you to develop or establish links with your local community, which can help to boost your brand recognition and potentially grow your customer base.

For employers who are not yet involved in the London 2012 Olympic Games, the pledge gives you the chance to maximise the unique opportunity offered by the Games to reflect Olympic ideals and inspire communities to be active.

How you can deliver this pledge

The London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games present a unique opportunity to inspire employees and local communities to become more active.

There are a range of ways that organisations can deliver this pledge.

You could work directly with local authorities and other local sport or physical activity providers to support or develop community-based sport and physical activity opportunities. This might include working with local sports clubs, schools, volunteer-led or other community or third sector groups.

Pledge activities could be as simple as promoting community-based events locally, with campaigns targeted at specific groups within the local community (children and young people, older people or black and minority ethnic communities); making facilities available (at weekends) or sponsoring charitable events such as fun runs, cycling events, football tournaments or local walking groups.

Targeted engagement with local communities during the development of your pledge will help ensure that the opportunities you provide will meet local needs and be more likely to deliver a sustained increase in participation.  These opportunities could also be offered to your employees.  You may find it helpful to engage local NHS organisations, local authorities or one of the 49 County Sports Partnerships in helping to design, shape and deliver local opportunities to get active that are consistent with local needs and aspirations.


By signing up as local supporters of Change4Life, business can utilise a range of materials to support delivery of this pledge.  Change4Life offers resources to help organisations work together to support healthier lifestyles, including increased levels of physical activity through activities such as swimming, walking and cycling.  There is also a toolkit to support employers improve the health of their employees.  For further information, please see the Change4Life website.

Your pledge delivery plan

Shortly after signing up, partners will be asked to provide pledge delivery plans, laying out how they intend to meet each of the pledges they have signed up to.  They will have up to 500 words to describe their plans for each pledge they are signed up to.  All delivery plans will be published on this website.

Reporting progress on your pledge

Partners will be asked to report on their progress by the end of April each year.  For some pledges, partners will be asked to report using pre-defined quantitative measures, while for others they will be asked for a narrative update.  Further information on the reporting arrangements for each pledge is available.  All annual updates will be published on this website.

We are currently developing a web-based system that will allow partners to complete their delivery plans and annual updates online from 2013.

Partners signed up to this pledge.

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