Groups urged to speak up on ways to be more active

This story was published 12 April 2021

Leaders from organisations which fund, promote and support sport and physical activity across Yorkshire are wanting to hear from people in North Yorkshire about how everyone can be supported to be more active and as part of recovery from the pandemic.

Two people running

There is less than  one week left for people and organisations with an interest in the benefits of physical activity to give their views in a call for evidence launched in March by Yorkshire’s think-tank, Policy Yorkshire. Among organisations taking part are North Yorkshire Sport and North Yorkshire County Council.

The feedback from the call for evidence will be used to put forward recommendations about how sport and physical activity can play a full part towards in helping communities to be healthy, prosperous and connected across Yorkshire and the Humber.

The aim is to bring about a fundamental shift in the level of physical activity across the region. 

Richard Webb, North Yorkshire County Council’s  Director of Health and Adult Services, who is a member of the coalition of organisations that are leading this work, said: “We want to know what has helped people be active during the pandemic and, also, what are the barriers to taking part as well as the opportunities in our region.  So we want people’s ideas for the future, so we can take practical steps that make a difference.”

Research has shown that many people are already physically active in Yorkshire and the Humber and that, before the pandemic, levels of activity were increasing. However, Policy Yorkshire has stated there is evidence that people on low incomes and disabled people can find it difficult to be active on a regular basis.

Louise Wallace, North Yorkshire’s Director of Public Health said: “There is a great deal of evidence to show that a good level of physical activity boosts mental and physical well-being and we want to help people to lead more active lives, especially as we come out of the pandemic.”

With obesity a clear risk factor in contracting COVID-19 and lockdown having caused significant mental health problems, there has never been a more important time to be active according to the think-tank.

Richard Webb said: “This is about all of us moving more, in ways that we can, and feeling better for it”

David Watson, Chief Executive of North Yorkshire Sport, who is also a member of the working group, said: “There has never been a more important time for citizens of North Yorkshire to develop or maintain good physical and mental wellbeing, as we seek to recover from the effects of COVID 19.”

North Yorkshire Sport works across North Yorkshire using sport and physical activity to drive positive change and help build stronger communities. David Watson said:  “We regularly see the significant social, physical, and mental benefits of physical activity through the numerous programmes we manage, input into or run for those in most need, including those with dementia or who suffer chronic pain and limited movement, and the pandemic has certainly heightened inequalities.

“We would urge anyone with an interest in developing physical activity levels across the region to submit their views and responses, to help us shape and influence the messages and policies at the highest levels of government”.

The group is keen to hear from respondents on the following key points:

  • What works well and not so well now in Yorkshire and The Humber in supporting and encouraging physical activity?
  • What opportunities are there to re-shape our physical, social and economic environment to better improve levels of physical activity?
  • How might we describe and measure future success in achieving these policies in Yorkshire and Humber?
  • What are the policies that matter most to support people in Yorkshire and The Humber to be as active as they can be?

Policy Yorkshire is seeking written submissions in response to these questions of no longer than 2,000 words by 5pm on Friday 16th April.

Submissions should be sent to or can be made online at

Policy Yorkshire will develop a series of proposals for the region’s local authorities and Mayors along with central government.