Saturday, 25 May 2024
Saturday, 25 May 2024

Oxfordshire charity receives £1.3m of investment to keep county residents moving

An Oxfordshire charity dedicated to tackling inactivity and inequality has welcomed record levels of local investment in support of its work to keep everyone in the county moving.

Active Oxfordshire has received £1.3million to expand existing activity provisions, increase active travel opportunities and launch a new programme designed for infants to establish healthy behaviours from an early age.

Funding has been made available with support from the Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire West Integrated Care Board (BOB ICB), Oxfordshire County Council and the region’s city and district councils.

The cash boost follows recent data which shows only half of children in the county are meeting recommended activity levels while more than one in three year six pupils are overweight or obese.

In addition, just 10 per cent of children who grow up in one of the charity’s priority neighbourhoods leave primary school able to swim – compared to 80 per cent of children living in Oxfordshire’s richest areas.

It’s expected the funding will benefit more than 16,000 Oxfordshire residents of all ages who are at the highest risk of leading an inactive lifestyle.

Josh Lenthall, CEO of Active Oxfordshire, described the investment as a milestone moment in the charity’s efforts to help people make positive changes to their lives by being active.

Josh said:

“The positive impact being active can have on a person’s physical and mental wellbeing should never be underestimated. Barriers including cost, access to appropriate equipment and inequality can all restrict a person from leading an active lifestyle.

“This record level of investment from our local partners means we can begin to remove these barriers by upscaling our existing programmes and introducing new schemes which target future generations.

“Our research has proven Oxfordshire is particularly vulnerable to significant inequality gaps which, in our view, hold no place in society as it is today. Access to active travel routes, professional guidance from health experts and quality physical activity opportunities should not be a luxury.

“Our sincere thanks goes to BOB ICB, Oxfordshire County Council Public Health and city and district councils for enabling the expansion of these programmes. We also extend our thanks to Sport England for ongoing funding and support which allows us to achieve so much impact locally.”

To mark the investment, representatives from Sport England, Public Health Oxfordshire plus funders and Active Oxfordshire’s local partners were guests at Orchard Meadow Primary School and Windale Community Hub in Blackbird Leys.

Visitors were welcomed by Active Oxfordshire Patron Sir Muir Gray and listened to several talks from individuals who have directly benefited from the charity’s YouMove and Move Together programmes which funding will support.

Food was also provided by Oxford Community Action.

Daniel Leveson from the Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire West Integrated Care Board, said:

“Move Together and You Move are making a real difference to the lives of so many Oxfordshire residents, helping them become more active and benefitting their emotional and physical well-being.

“The expansion of these programmes will include a brand-new early year’s physical activity offer, so our county’s youngest generation can benefit from an active start in life and working with maternity services to increase activity levels for pregnant women.

“Our approach to activity in Oxfordshire is a great example of collaboration, including BOB ICB working with Oxfordshire County Council, Active Oxfordshire, City and District Councils and voluntary and community organisations to improve people’s health and well-being.”

Cllr Nathan Ley, Cabinet Member for Public Health, Inequalities and Community Safety at Oxfordshire County Council, added:

“Seeing YouMove and Move Together go from strength to strength to reach over 10,000 Oxfordshire residents at the highest risk of inactivity is really pleasing.

“With this additional funding, these programmes are now being expanded across the county in recognition of the positive impact being active has on people’s physical and mental wellbeing.”

Further information about Active Oxfordshire and its work to transform lives across the county through physical activity is available via the charity’s website: www.activeoxfordshire.org.

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