Helping to get Luton active

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Luton Council, team Beds and Luton and Active Luton and Sport England are looking at ways in which they can encourage people to become more physically active, especially those from Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) communities.

A research project has been carried out by Sporting Equals, the national partner of Sport England and advisors to the Department of Culture Media and Sport. It focused on the centre of the town, where evidence suggests that residents are less active and less likely to be involved in sports clubs or visiting leisure facilities.

The research has produced several recommendations to take forward including:

>focussing on the creative use of open air spaces for the whole community

>providing more female volunteers and coaches for all-female sport

> being more receptive to the cultural needs of the community, especially women and girls

>better engagement with the young population through social media.

Cllr Aslam Kham, Portfolio Holder for public healthsaid: “Sport and physical activity is still a relatively low priority among many people in Luton’s South Asian BME communities. We need to look at the facilities, both indoor and outdoor that are accessible in these areas and to understand the specific requirements of the community and explore where the current provision isn’t meeting these needs. A healthy lifestyle and physical activity is important for all ages and we need to successfully promote the positive messages around the respective health benefits. The aim is also for the Sporting Equals research is to provide a platform to bid for funding to provide a range of sport and fitness solutions, incentives and activities.”

Volunteers and coaches are needed, especially for sports that are all female. The County Sports Partnership, team Beds & Luton, has successfully secured funding to help BME women and girls in Luton get onto the coaching pathway via a number of roles such as community enablers, activators and leaders within their chosen sport.

An event is being held on January 28 at River Bank School (4-7pm) where attendees can learn more about the Sporting Equals workshop and contribute to the partner action plan and also can find out more about the Me Time Leaders project.

>For more information or to register please contact adam.divney@luton.gov.uk