New exercise plan aims to get ‘inactive’ town moving

11:36 March 9, 2022

New plans for Ipswich adults to exercise have been approved after data indicated the city was among the most inactive in the country.

Ipswich Borough is ranked as the eighth least active local authority area in England, according to the Ipswich City Council report, with 38.5% of adults (more than one in three) exercising less than 30 minutes a week. week.

The data has prompted the council to form a five-year sport and physical activity plan with the help of the Sport, Leisure and Culture Consultancy (SLC) which aims to help get people moving.

It includes proposals to increase social prescription and exercise referrals from health services, create events to get people moving, and design and deliver an ‘active parks’ program for outdoor sessions in council parks.

Bryony Rudkin, Labor Deputy Leader of Ipswich City Council. Image: IBC
– Credit: IBC

Elsewhere, opportunities for downtown or heritage trails to encourage walking and a downtown fit trail or outdoor gym have been highlighted.

Evidence gathering will also be conducted to uncover common barriers to exercise and activity.

Bryony Rudkin, deputy leader and portfolio holder for communities and sports, acknowledged that the pandemic had changed the way people exercised and that a separate sports venues strategy will be introduced in the future, but stressed that it would be the “Expansion and improvement of the sports facilities in Ipswich”.

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She said: “There is a push to target the most deprived areas and those people who are less active, but that is not the only driver of this strategy. The activity must be appropriate and relevant to specific individuals and the place where it takes place.

“For those who are not currently active, the idea of ​​going to sports and leisure facilities can be off-putting, so the implementation of the strategy and associated plan will be to offer more activities in parks, open spaces, community facilities and the city. . center.”

Liberal Democrat councilor Oliver Holmes questioned whether the plan would drive more people into private sector gyms and whether it was more of a public health issue that is handled by Suffolk County Council.

Conservative group leader Ian Fisher highlighted that the strategy was based on a consultation carried out by the SLC in 2019 before the pandemic, and questioned whether it would be better to defer it for a more up-to-date consultation.

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