Essex is one of 12 pilot areas selected by Sport England to develop new approaches to building healthier, more active communities with around £100 million of National Lottery funding being invested in the pilots over the next 3 years to help people from communities move from inactive to active and change their lives for the better.

There are high levels of physical inactivity in Essex, particularly in the areas of greatest need and deprivation. The size and structure make our county complex, with two tiers of local authority.

In spite of these significant systemic problems, the bid put forward by Essex to Sport England offered real hope and opportunity for innovative and sustainable solutions.

It is accepted that previous approaches to tackling stubborn inactivity have had mixed results and not been sustainable, so the Essex plan focuses on doing things differently and challenging the root causes through whole system change.

Our county is already fully committed to whole system change at the highest level through the Essex Assembly and the shared vision ‘The Future of Essex’ and Essex LDP has become an integral part of this broader whole system change ambition.

Three locations (containing 37% of the inactive population) have been chosen to test new whole system approaches.

The different challenges in each area will be a rich testing ground for the Sport England Local Delivery Pilot. These are:

  • Basildon: Subject to post war ‘new town’ development which has led to high levels of poverty and social immobility
  • Colchester: One of the fastest growing areas in the country which is also seeing a growth in deprivation year on year.
  • Tendring: A coastal area suffering from chronic long-term deprivation

The pilot will test new ideas and learn quickly, taking successes Essex-wide to supercharge Active Essex’s strategy to get 1 million people active in Essex by 2021.

In 2018, we focussed on understanding what needs to be done to get public, community and voluntary sectors working more collaboratively and on testing and learning about the best approaches to achieving change. We commissioned Collaborate CIC, Intelligent Health and the University of Essex to carry out three key strands of research.

The research led to the development of our seven strategic priorities, our three year delivery plan and the National Lottery award by Sport England. See our Reports page for Chapter One, Chapter Two and the three technical reports. We hope you’ll get involved in our journey.

It is a very exciting time in Essex as we embark in 2019 on the next chapter of our journey to make whole system change work successfully, resulting in more active lives, more active communities, and more active workplaces.


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