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Our Work in the Community

For the past 18 months, Northamptonshire Sport have been challenged by Sport England to work within communities to support the development of a local 'workforce' to motivate and activate some of the least physically active in the county.

With the release of the Coaching Plan for England in 2016, Coach Developers have begun questioning their methods of attracting more of the under-represented groups into coaching and activating others as it is understood that activators that are female, BME, from disadvantaged communities or have a disability, are more likely to attract women, people from BME communities etc. into and retain them within activity.

As part of this approach, Northamptonshire Sport embarked on several place based projects to support the development of a 'workforce' from some of the most statistically inactive wards in the county.

The Active Billing Project launched in November 2016 working in partnership with Bellinge Community House. Several approaches were used to develop a local group of activators and community champions to encourage others to get active. The area now boasts a jogging group, weekly health walks and a seated exercise class, most of which are run by volunteer community champions. These activities have then provided a pool of people that have been motivated into participating by 'someone like them' who have in turn been recruited to support these activities.

The activators have come from a mixture of backgrounds and have a variety of motivations for being so passionate about activity. For some it is an opportunity to give back to the community, for others activity has been part of their amazing weight loss journey and for some it is just a case of wanting to help people in whatever way they can.

The workforce driving the activities have been supported with leader and activator qualifications (which was made a possibility by funding through the Northamptonshire Community Foundation), peer to peer support, additional supporting qualifications (i.e. first aid) and mentoring.

The learning from this project is invaluable to future projects in similar areas and to help galvanise this, Northampton University were bought on board to write up the project to date and make some future recommendations for Coach Developers nationally. This paper is now available at the link below.

For a quick look at some of the recommendations made, we have also created an infographic - Recruiting Activators from Disadvantaged Communities:

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