Report highlights success of work to keep North Yorkshire active

This story was published 2 August 2022

Work to promote sport and physical activity in North Yorkshire has seen significant successes despite the Covid-19 pandemic, one of the county council’s major partners has confirmed.

A group of people walking along a riverside path.

We work in partnership with North Yorkshire Sport to ensure residents get the opportunities they need to stay physically heathy.

That includes promoting grassroots sport and other activities, as well as directly providing services, but the organisation is also involved in wider work to promote public health, including work to tackle obesity.

Increasing physical activity in the county is one of the priorities for Louise Wallace, director of public health with the council, and North Yorkshire Sport’s annual report reveals how they have been promoting that objective.

Successes include:

  • The FEAST Holiday Activity programme, funded by the Department for Education, has provided both food and activities for schoolchildren who qualify for benefits-related free school meals during term time. North Yorkshire Together, a body that includes North Yorkshire Sport as a partner, was commissioned by the county council to deliver the programme. Last year, more than 2,500 young people accessed the holiday provision, which included multi-sports camps, dance and theatre activities. These took place in schools and other community sites, for those in the five to 16 age group. Harrogate High School was among those taking part, with sports activities both for existing pupils and those about to continue their education there.
  • Ramblers Wellbeing Walks have been developed in conjunction with the county council’s Stronger Communities team, with professionals working to support and train people involved in ‘walking for health’ groups across the county. Volunteers have been given training as walk leaders, enabling them to support groups in their neighbourhood. Work has been done to help ensure the groups appeal to residents who may benefit from getting involved. That has meant working with GPs and social prescribing teams, who have been able to refer patients with emotional, social and physical wellbeing needs.
  • Michael Syddall Church of England primary school, Catterick, has received targeted support from North Yorkshire Sport, under its county council partnership, to help with the recovery from the impact of Covid-19 by providing increased support for both the physical and emotional wellbeing of pupils.

Full details of North Yorkshire Sport’s achievements and progress are detailed in its annual report, which has now been published.

Louise Wallace, North Yorkshire’s director of public health, said: “North Yorkshire Sport has been instrumental in supporting people back into exercise throughout the pandemic.

“We have been really pleased to work with them as partners and their annual report confirms what we already knew, that they have faced the challenges and worked with determination to provide real opportunities for communities across the county.”

David Watson, chief executive at North Yorkshire Sport, said: “Providing services in the recent era has inevitably had its problems, but we have worked with our council colleagues, and those in the community, to ensure we have been able to make good progress.

“Covid-19 and the restrictions that brought have left communities with greater need than ever in terms of support and it has been satisfying for us to play a part in providing that.

“That is highlighted in our annual report, but that is not the end of our activities and we are looking forwards to making more progress in future.”

More details of the North Yorkshire Sport’s work are available in a digital document and a video on the launch of the report can be below.