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Sport and physical activity strategy


Introduction Let’s get Camden more active!

This strategy has been prepared by Pro-Active Camden (PAC), a strategic partnership committed to the development and improvement of sport and physical activity borough wide. PAC is one of 33 Community Sport and Physical Activity Networks (CSPANs)* in London. It shares a common purpose with many others across England – to increase participation in sport and physical activity and to encourage people to lead healthier lifestyles. Taking part in sport and physical activity can bring communities together, promote health and wellbeing and inspire others to get moving. Public spaces can be made more colourful, vibrant and appealing through people playing sport, exercising and having fun together. Also, the sport and leisure sector plays a crucial role in the local economy and its facilities are important building blocks for regeneration and place shaping. We want to maximise the impact that sport and physical activity has in Camden by working collaboratively, ambitiously and determinedly towards clear, defined and inspiring goals.

We know that by working together to fulfil common goals and by taking collective responsibility for our actions, we can maximise the contribution of sport and physical activity to this ‘borough of opportunity.’ Many stakeholder organisations and individuals are already playing a part. There may be others that want to be involved and we are keen to engage with you. We hope that you’ll join us in helping to make Camden the most active borough in London.



Contents 4

First thing’s first – what’s in it for me?


Working together – we need one another!


Setting the goal posts


What are Camden residents saying they need?


Strategic themes


Pro-Active Camden as strategic lead


Making the most of 2012


Communication – getting the message out


Targeted interventions - reaching those who need it most


Addressing the barriers to participation


Active environment


First thing’s first – what’s in it for me? We welcome your contribution to help deliver the PAC sport and physical activity strategy. But it’s not just about what you can do. There is something in it for you too.

The main benefits of being involved in the delivery of this strategy:

The beneficiaries of the PAC strategy are Camden residents. Some of the main benefits are:

• a greater understanding of the sport and physical activity needs of Camden residents

• opportunities to lead a healthier and more active lifestyle

access to expert knowledge and information on sport and physical activity to help you plan, develop and improve your services

• help with communicating your offer to a wider or more targeted audience •

greater efficiency and impact through increased opportunities to work with PAC networks and partners

• the opportunity to be a part of delivering a strategy which makes a difference. 4

• affordable and high quality facilities that are responsive to need • information that is clear and easy to find about what is available • more motivation to take part!

Working together – we need one another! PAC wants to work in partnership with individuals and groups who share similar objectives. By working together, we can use our collective energy, enthusiasm, investment, expertise, facilities and other resources to best effect. We are already doing this with many partners, but there may be others who want to get involved and can make a contribution. PAC already consists of key organisations in the borough, including Camden Council, NHS Camden and a range of voluntary and community sector organisations. We can continue to build on our successes by identifying and partnering with more organisations, groups and individuals.

London Borough of Camden ( NHS Camden (

Current PAC Members

Greenwich Leisure Limited ( Central YMCA ( Voluntary Action Camden ( Volunteer Centre Camden ( Jubilee Halls ( SportsAid ( London Sports Forum for Disabled People ( UCLU (UCL Students’ Union) ( Pro-Active Central London ( 5

PAC has already helped to ensure that sport and physical activity is being considered and promoted across a wide range of areas, including: Building Schools for the Future (BSF) – PAC has had input to the plans for improved sports facilities in Camden schools, which will be for both students and the local community. Sustainability projects (including green gyms* and allotments) – physical activity can take many forms and contribute to the greater good in many ways. In this instance it is good for the environment as well as personal health and wellbeing. Planning and regeneration – we aim to influence policy and strategy in relation to the way the borough changes and develops and how places and spaces maximise opportunities for active travel, sport and physical activity. Development of parks and open spaces – much informal recreation, sport and various forms of physical activity take place in Camden’s parks and open spaces. Their accessibility and popularity is a great strength and opportunity to encourage more people to get more active. This is why we supported the installation of eight Outdoor Gyms**. * Green gyms is a scheme which inspires volunteers to improve both their health and the environment at the same time through gardening and land conservation ** Outdoor gyms are fitness training equipment adapted for outdoor use. There are eight gyms in Camden parks and open spaces and they are free to use. *** Give It a Go was a very successful scheme, which encouraged participation in physical activity to residents on benefits. Those who qualified received six months free gym membership. 6

What partners have to say about PAC:

Since joining forces with PAC, we have created a really exciting plan for developing sports volunteering. We’ve pooled our resources, which means we can create more opportunities for people to volunteer and support volunteer organizations than ever before.” Hayley Watts, Volunteer Centre Camden (VCC)

What Camden residents say about PAC’s work:

“ “ “ “

Outdoor gym user: I was told if I don’t do enough exercise I could get diabetes. I think Camden is doing very well putting these machines here to help improve the physical fitness of people and also get them to do something healthy.”

Green gym user: It’s a really relaxed feel and you can kind of go at your own pace, but you feel really refreshed even though you’re quite tired afterwards, depending on how hard you worked!”

Give It a Go*** participant: The give it a go scheme has made me try new activities. I am now learning Samba dancing as well as belly dancing… The scheme has changed my life in terms of my wellbeing, and I think more clearly after having been to the gym.”

I was considered obese, five and a half stone overweight… I just needed a lot of help and the Camden Active Health Team gave it to me. It has changed my life.” Outdoor gym user


Setting the goal posts This strategy is driven by and aligned with Camden’s community strategy, as illustrated below. Camden’s Olympic and Paralympic plans also played a big part in the shaping of our objectives.

A sustainable Camden that adapts to a growing population “PAC will support the development of a sustainable urban environment that meets the sport and physical activity needs of our growing population”

What are Camden residents saying they need? Before writing the strategy, we needed a clearer understanding of residents’ needs and aspirations. We conducted research to identify the sport and physical activity opportunities currently available in the borough, and what might be needed in the future. This is what we found.

A strong economy that includes everyone


“PAC will support the local economy, including creating pathways into training and employment in the sport and physical activity industry”

• there is strong interest in different sports and activities, although two stood out; going to the gym and swimming

A connected Camden where people lead active, healthy lives “PAC will improve health and create a connected community by increasing participation in sport and physical activity”

A safe Camden that is a vibrant part of our world city “PAC will use the opportunities presented by the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games to create a safe Camden that is a vibrant part of our world city”


• 26.7% of Camden residents participate sufficiently (*) for a health benefit

• 51% of residents are interested in increasing their involvement in sport and physical activity • over 40% of residents are not doing 5 x 30 minutes of effective exercise per week. This is lower than in London overall (49.5%) and nationally (50.6%) • work commitments, financial constraints and lack of motivation are preventing people from being more active • a significant proportion of residents in the most deprived areas of the borough are interested in increasing their involvement in sport and physical activity. The biggest barriers to participation in these areas were ‘too busy working’ and ‘cost involved’

Places for sport and physical activity • Groups with low levels of participation in sport and physical activity are those that have, or are at the greatest risk of, poor health.

These groups include:

 - males aged between 35 and 65 years - black and minority ethnic groups

- disabled people, and

- lone parents

• Their low level of participation can be explained by:

- limited awareness of opportunities generally

- need for more opportunities for adult men to take part in team sports

- limited awareness of the availability of childcare facilities

- published information does not generally indicate whether services are accessible for disabled people, specifically for disabled people or mixed ability

• S  ports halls: there is a reasonably good geographical distribution, but residents in some areas of the borough do not live within easy reach of one • Swimming pools:  there are enough pools to meet local demand, although some residents do not live within easy reach of a publicly accessible swimming pool (i.e. pre-paid membership is not required). The re-opening of Kentish Town Sports Centre in 2010 will help to address this • Fitness gyms: although only 25% of health and fitness gyms in Camden offer ‘pay and play’ access (i.e. pre-paid membership not required), the overall supply is close to meeting local demand

• Grass pitches: the level of provision is well below the national average, however this is not untypical for central London. Upgrade natural grass and all weather sports pitches at Chase Lodge sports ground will be available to Camden residents in future, if an improvement scheme goes ahead • All-weather pitches: there is generally good provision of smaller all-weather pitches, although they are not evenly distributed. Full size all-weather pitches are in short supply in Camden, but there are facilities in neighbouring boroughs These findings (and more) have been used to inform the strategy and ensure resources are prioritised for maximum impact. *The Chief Medical Officer of England recommends a minimum of 5 x 30 minutes per week of moderate intensity physical activity.


Strategic themes The findings of the needs analysis formed an integral part of the strategy and have enabled us to identify six key themes. These themes have formed the foundations of our plans. Further information about each of the themes can be found within the following pages.

Pro-Active Camden as strategic lead Making the most of 2012 Communication – getting the message out Targeted interventions reaching those who need it most Addressing the barriers to participation Active environment


Pro-Active Camden as strategic lead Our goals: • to align the strategy with the priorities and need for sport and physical activity in Camden • to create the conditions for key groups and organisations to work together more effectively • to develop a dynamic knowledge and information bank for sport and physical activity in the borough • to promote opportunities for stakeholders to develop and deliver the strategy • to regularly refresh and strengthen PAC with energy and ideas from new sources.

What has PAC done so far? • produced a partnership strategy for sport and physical activity for Camden and achieved buy-in from key partners • undertaken a borough wide sports and physical activity needs analysis to inform future priorities and plans • review of PAC members to identify resources, services, key relationships and further opportunities for developing sport and physical activity • conceived the Give It A Go scheme, which addressed barriers to participation for low income groups through free gym membership. •

informed proposals for upgrading Oasis sports centre. The stage one funding application to the Government’s Free Swimming Capital Modernisation Programme was successful, with stage two underway.

What will PAC do in the future? • develop Camden’s listing in the Get Active London portal, which is a comprehensive online directory for sports and physical activity in London • organise a sport and physical activity stakeholder engagement event for February 2010 to raise awareness of the PAC sport and physical activity strategy and how to get involved • continue to review the performance of PAC, learn from our experiences, build on achievements to date and change and improve our plans where necessary, • strengthen PAC and relationships with partners. 11

Making the most of 2012 Our goal To use the Olympic and Paralympic Games as a springboard to promote sport and physical activity in Camden and in turn, inspire more people to lead healthy, active lifestyles. These exciting new projects will contribute to this goal: • Camden Sports Academy • Pro-Active Camden Ambassadors • Camden Community Games; and •

New sports volunteering and workforce development initiatives

Camden Sports Academy (CSA)

Pro-Active Camden Ambassadors

An exciting ‘virtual’ sports academy, CSA has a key objective to significantly increase opportunities for participating, competing and excelling in sport, especially for young people. CSA includes sports club development (including a small grants scheme for strategic and self-sustaining projects); support for talented athletes and training programmes for sports coaches and officials.

The focus of this project is recruiting, training and sustaining a network of ambassadors, who will promote healthy lifestyles in their communities. It aims to raise awareness of health-involving activities available in Camden, contribute to increasing participation. It aims to raise awareness of healthinvolving activities available in Camden, contribute to increasing participation in sport and physical activity and increase the number of Camden residents advocating health improving activities.

Camden Community Games A celebration and amalgamation of current local school and community competitions, which take place throughout the year. Teams amass points, with the winner receiving the coveted Camden Community Cup. The aim is to raise awareness of opportunities for competitive sport in the borough. We also want to challenge the perception that competitive sport is just for the best athletes and increase take-up, especially by the semi-sporty.


Sports workforce development and volunteering This project seeks to increase awareness of sports volunteering and workforce development (such as training and employment) opportunities in Camden and to increase the number of people volunteering in sport and physical activity.

What has PAC done so far? • informed the shape and scope of the all the projects • brought together key stakeholders and resources • set out a plan for taking the projects forward.

What will PAC do in the future? • finalise the projects in conjunction with key stakeholders • agree (with partners) roles and responsibilities for project delivery and evaluation • support over 50 talented athletes per year • support six sports clubs to achieve accredited status • create a squad of over 40 volunteers that will play a key role in project delivery •

produce more qualified sports coaches and officials and stage at least one coach development and continuing professional development event

• recruit at least 12 ambassadors and their mentors per year • facilitate all Camden schools to enter a minimum of two sports competitions per academic year

• integrate a minimum of three community sports competitions with Camden Community Games • review current sports and physical activity volunteering involvement • develop a voluntary sports club charter with minimum standards of management • map training opportunities and building links with training providers to coordinate provision •

working up proposals to raise awareness of volunteering opportunities and increase recruitment of volunteers

• develop a coordinated approach to provision of training opportunities and align these with need •

encourage and support voluntary organisations to provide more and higher quality volunteering roles and recruit more effectively.


Communication – getting the message out Our goals • p  romote the sports and physical activity offer in Camden, as widely and effectively as possible • effective use of all relevant communication channels • coordination of marketing campaigns and promotional activity across our partners • maximise public awareness of all information sources.

What has PAC done so far? • o  ur needs survey identified areas where we could communicate more effectively about activities on offer, including better promotion and a greater level of information. For more information on the findings, please see our needs analysis survey • launched the PAC sports and physical activity strategy and actions plans, including a communications plan • s igned up to the Get Active London activity finder (a comprehensive website of opportunities for sport and physical activity in London)

What will PAC do in the future? • o  rganise a stakeholder engagement event, which will be an opportunity for existing and potential partners to think critically about our plans, their role and how they can make a contribution • improve the promotion of existing activities across partners, for example where free swimming or concessionary prices are available • w  ork on ways of improving how activities are promoted to low participation groups • b  uild on the Change 4 Life programme*, ensuring PAC members use the logo to promote activities in Camden • e  valuate the effectiveness of marketing and communications and make changes where viable for greater impact • c  ontinue to update the database of opportunities for sports and physical activity programmes and facilities in and beyond Camden as part of the Get Active London activity finder.


*National communication and education campaign for healthy living

Targeted interventions - reaching those who need it most Our goal

What has PAC done so far?

To specifically assist those who have been identified as not participating in enough sport or physical activity to benefit their health and wellbeing.

• linked with NHS Camden’s cardio-vascular screening programme to identify ways of directing men and BME groups into appropriate physical activity

Our needs survey included an in depth analysis of participation levels amongst residents in the four most deprived wards in the borough. We found a direct link between groups with the lowest levels of take up and those with, or at the greatest risk of, poor health. The main groups are: • males aged 35 to 65 years • black and minority ethnic (BME) groups • disabled people Our overriding strategy is to increase participation levels generally, but this action plan is focussed on increasing levels by these specific groups.

• w  orked with NHS Camden’s workplace health team to target routine and manual workers, specifically men, to encourage them to get more active • u  sed workplaces to target this group and promote physical activity

What will PAC do in the future? • d  evelop pathways into appropriate physical activity, either bespoke or mainstream services as needs and resources determine • implement a model to effectively evaluate targeted activities, in particular, levels of take-up and retention

• improved our understanding of the needs of BME groups and barriers to participation

• c  onsolidate or develop provision according to demand and effectiveness, reviewing outcomes and taking learning forward to shape future provision

• b  egun to map current provision for BME groups and identifying where there are gaps

• c  onsult with priority groups to check provision is meeting their needs

• refining our understanding of the needs of disabled people and barriers to participation

• identify champions and ambassadors for sport and physical activity from our priority groups

• looked at how the free swimming initiative can be used to increase activity levels among disabled people • improved our knowledge of the extent, quality and accessibility of existing provision

• m  aximise any new and emerging opportunities to enhance the offer and develop further targeted marketing and communications.

• raised awareness of opportunities for sport and physical activity for disabled people • linking with the Building Schools for the Future programme to ensure school sports facilities meet the needs of the wider community.


Addressing the barriers to participation Our goal We will work to reduce barriers to participation in sport and physical activity and increase the use of services and facilities in the borough. Our needs survey identified that whilst there is a higher than average participation rate of physical activity in Camden, 40.5% are not active enough for a health benefit. It also identified the most common barriers preventing people from being more active as: • high work commitments • financial constraints • lack of motivation • need for more family activities.


What will PAC do in the future? • seek a greater understanding of how a ‘whole family’ approach can increase levels of participation • look for ways to evaluate the effectiveness of workplace initiatives • support borough wide approaches to walk and cycle to work initiatives

What has PAC done so far? • conceived and launched the Give It A Go scheme, aimed at increasing physical activity amongst low income groups. The scheme was short listed for a Chief Medical Officer public health award. The scheme was a pilot and it will be used to inform future plans and provision • supported the introduction of the national free swimming initiative in Camden, enabling people over the age of 60 and under 16 years to swim free of charge • increased our understanding of what works in getting low income groups active, learning from initiatives like Give It A Go • informed Camden’s review of their concessionary pricing policy and structure for 2010 – 2011 • begun to audit current services aimed at families to identify good practice; where services could be more family friendly; and how family activities can be better promoted.

• identify case studies of employers who are seeing the benefits of promoting activy for staff • seek to increase the number of people making use of the free swimming initiative, analysing user trends and bench marking with other boroughs to identify the best practice • use the workplace to promote the importance of physical activity and mapping workplace initiatives in Camden • develop opportunities to promote ‘green travel’ and working with partners to promote active travel programmes.


Active environment Our goals To help create an environment, which encourages people to be more active in every aspect of their day-to-day lives. Ensuring that physical activity is a key consideration in relevant policy development will support this goal. Physical activity is often seen as people playing organised sport or going to the gym. In fact, it is much broader than this. We know that the urban environment and its design can influence how physically active we are, whether it be using stairs, walking to the shops or cycling to work. Creating an active environment is about ensuring that the urban and built environment is designed to encourage people to be active in their everyday lives. Our needs survey identified the current provision of sports facilities in comparison to the local need and demand. It included sports halls, swimming pools, health and fitness gyms; and natural and artificial pitches.


What has PAC done so far? • PAC has facilitated the installation of outdoor gyms. Eight gyms have been installed in Camden parks and open spaces, with over £650,000 of investment (from NHS Camden). Informal audits suggest significant take-up since the launch in June 2009 • PAC has supported the introduction of the outdoor gym peer activator project. This involved training and supporting local people to sign-post the community to the gyms and provide users with supervision while using the equipment. The aim is to make the gyms a safe and effective learning environment and engage with local communities, particularly those in hard to reach groups • PAC has ifluenced the Council’s Building Schools for the Future (BSF) programme, which will provide new or upgraded sports facilities in 13 Camden secondary schools between 2010 and 2015. For more information on the BSF programme, visit

What will PAC do in the future? • work on maximising the use of outdoor gyms, through engaging with local schools, businesses and community groups to promote their use • work on incorporating clinical referrals to outdoor gyms into Care Pathways, for example the Physical Care Pathway and NHS Health Check programme • continue to work with the BSF team to ensure that both indoor and outdoor spaces and facilities provided as part of the programme meet needs of pupils and local populations, and • management arrangements and business models for new facilities maximise the use of sports facilities during and outside of school hours • feed the results of the supply and demand analysis for sports facilities into the development of multi-use games areas in collaboration with Camden parks and open spaces • work to ensure that the findings of the sports and physical activity assessment are taken into account in key plans and policies, including the Local Development Framework • work with the head of Camden’s parks and open spaces to agree a long term approach to making the best use of spaces and maximise their use for sport and physical activity • work on reducing barriers to walking and cycling to influence the number of trips made by these means • establish stronger links with projects such as green gyms and food growing to increase the number of people undertaking this type of activity • engage fully with the Playpathfinder* project group to ensure findings from the needs analysis are incorporated into the design of the new sites • develop a method and means of evaluating the impact on participation of the outdoor gyms. * Visit for further information on this project.

Motivated – tell us why! Want to get involved? For further information, visit camden. pro-active


For further information on how you can get involved with PAC, visit or phone 020 7974 1542


PAC strategy