Impactful partnership between Active Essex and London Marathon Foundation celebrated, following Ford RideLondon-Essex


With the 2024 edition of Ford RideLondon-Essex now just days away, it is estimated that over 17,000 residents across the county were able to embrace active lifestyles over the last year, thanks to the partnership between the London Marathon Foundation (LMF), the parent charity of the event organisers, and Active Essex.

£750,000 has been injected into Essex communities since May 2023, to support local community groups, schools and organisations to deliver programmes that enable more residents to participate in physical activity and enjoy the benefits of a healthier lifestyle.

With a focus on inclusivity, the funding from LMF has prioritised initiatives tailored to older residents, children, individuals living with a disability or long-term health condition, and communities facing financial barriers to accessing physical activity.

From mother and daughter bootcamps and boxing sessions, to Skate Jam events and inclusive cycling initiatives, funding has provided substantial impact within local communities. Braintree BMX club, for instance, utilised small grants from LMF and Active Essex, to offer free taster sessions, fostering a lifelong love for physical activity among local residents.

Jools Allen, Head Coach at Braintree BMX said: “If we can support children to find something they enjoy from a young age, studies show that they will sustain that behaviour through their life, and this funding has helped to make that happen.”

A significant emphasis has also been placed on promoting active travel through walking and cycling projects. The funding has allowed the free bike scheme Essex Pedal Power, to offer the initiative to young people across Clacton, Harwich, Colchester, and Canvey Island to embrace cycling as a means of transport and recreation, complete with essential safety accessories. The new programme on Canvey was established thanks to a great collaboration with the School Sport Partnership.

Furthermore, Active Essex have collaborated with local organisations to enhance facilities and assets, ensuring spaces are conducive to physical activity for all residents. From installing cycle parking in towns, to securing allotment plots for individuals living with early-onset dementia, the Places and Spaces funding, supplied by LMF, has helped facilitate tangible improvements across Essex.

Councillor Louise McKinlay, Cabinet Member for Communities at Essex County Council said: “The funding partnership has helped to create and support physical activity opportunities for communities across Essex to enjoy. The RideLondon event especially has inspired many residents to improve their physical and mental wellbeing, by trying out new physical activities, whether that be cycling or other fun ways to keep active.”

Councillor Lee Scott, Cabinet Member of Planning for a Growing Economy said: “RideLondon is more than just a cycling event. The support from the London Marathon Foundation has proven its broader significance. The ride’s impact extends well beyond the event weekend, positively affecting the health and wellbeing of our residents and booting the economy in Essex for the long term.”

Deirdre Cole, Senior Funding Manager at London Marathon Foundation, said: “As a direct result of Essex hosting Ford RideLondon-Essex, The London Marathon Foundation awarded Active Essex £750,000 in 2023 in addition to the £1 million awarded in 2022. Our ambition is to inspire activity for all and it is brilliant to see our funding has helped more than 17,000 people in 2023, right across Essex, lead more healthy, active lives. Active Essex has outstanding local knowledge, expertise and connection with communities in Essex and we look forward to further developing our partnership with them over the next 12 months.”

As Active Essex, alongside Essex County Council and local partners, continue to champion community empowerment and wellbeing, they remain committed to this funding partnership, to create a more active Essex for all.