HCM February 2021

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How can we ensure our sector remains part of the physical activity solution? Craig Blain outlines the challenges and opportunities facing operators who are aiming to appeal to a diverse membership


he pandemic has presented a huge challenge to our sector, but collectively we’ve shown great resolve and a collective response to be proud of. We’re proving that – with the support of key representative bodies, such as ukactive and CIMSPA and the collective voice of every individual operator and exercise professional – we’re capable of getting our voice heard. Yet, there is so much more for us to do in continuing to lead the way, positively and proactively. As operators reopen and our members begin to re-engage with activity we must remain aware that people will be coming back with varying levels of confidence and competence. The long-term health resilience of the nation is critical to so many facets of our society and we know the benefits of an active lifestyle are far reaching and support the management of many health conditions. Considering the stress and strain COVID-19 has placed on the NHS, being able to remain active and reap these benefits is one way everyone can help to give our health service space to breathe.


February 2021 ©Cybertrek 2021

As our sector continues to show how it can operate in a COVID-secure way and be part of the solution to recovery, we want to raise the key discussion point in supporting people to re-engage with physical activity across the spaces and places within our sector. The recent Public Health England report Addressing Inequalities in Physical Activity outlines some of the key challenges and enablers in tackling the inequalities that exist for some key groups when it comes to leading an active lifestyle.

How can we ensure the equality and diversity agenda isn’t lost in the rush to return? Social restrictions used by the government to contain the spread of COVID-19 are increasing health and physical activity inequalities in the UK and as operators focus on business recovery, it’s essential we don’t lose sight of the importance of having diversity within our membership. Activity Alliance, the organisation for inclusion