Suffolk Show Countdown: Sport Village tackles deep-seated adult inertia in county

Suffolk Show 2011 - Day 1 - Wednesday 1st June
Celia Munnings-Tomes has a go at some Judo with in

Suffolk Show 2011 - Day 1 - Wednesday 1st June Celia Munnings-Tomes has a go at some Judo with instructor Keith Jones in the Sports Village

Suffolk Show’s inspirational Sport Village is set to be offering a chance to try out around 30 different activities this year as the county tackles widespread adult inertia.

Suffolk Show 2013 Day One
BMX Racing in the Sports Village

Suffolk Show 2013 Day One BMX Racing in the Sports Village - Credit: Archant

Tony Bush, business development manager at Suffolk Sport, who has been involved in the initiative since the beginning, said it was a way of engaging a “non-traditional sporting audience” with sporting activity at a time when half of all adults in the county aren’t engaged in any form of exercise for more than 30 minutes a week.

“We are on the right path, but we’ve a long way to go. Suffolk has got a very low level of active adults – around 50% do no physical activities at all,” he said. “What we are trying to do is to address some of those barriers. There’s a lot of work to do for Suffolk.”

The village, which was first launched by Suffolk Sport in 2008 after it was approached by show organisers Suffolk Agricultural Association, has seen individual successes over the last few years and is believed to have helped the county to become more active overall.

Figures indicate that levels of sporting activity among adults in the county have risen by about 2 or 3% since a first survey was carried out in 2005/06.

Suffolk Show 2013 Day One
The Coop Juniors in the Sports Village

Suffolk Show 2013 Day One The Coop Juniors in the Sports Village - Credit: Archant


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The percentage of people doing no sport or active recreation is currently at 53%, compared to 56% in 2005/06, with the cost of physical inactivity to the health service in Suffolk estimated at £14.1million a year.

“Over the years it has been very successful,” said Mr Bush.

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“We have a national survey, the people’s activity survey, and in Suffolk since it started going all those years ago the number of people participating in sport has risen. It’s not fully down to the Suffolk show, but it’s part of it.

Around 30 or 40 volunteers offer their time to help introduce show-goers of all ages to a range of sports, with all activities offered free of charge.

Suffolk Show 2013 Day One
Escape Reality in the Sports Village

Suffolk Show 2013 Day One Escape Reality in the Sports Village - Credit: Archant

This year’s village will focus on taking visitors on a journey towards a healthy, active lifestyle and will advise parents on how to help their children become more active, and children on how to encourage their parents to adopt a sportier lifestyle.

Sporting activities on display include archery, Nordic walking, tai chi and pilates, as well as traditional sports such as football, rugby and cricket. There will also be a focus on cycling.

A workplace challenge for adults will enable individual to notch up points for their organisations in a competition pitting companies against each other, and a health MOT will offer heath checks including cholesterol, Body Mass Index (BMI) and blood pressure tests.

“There are activities for all age groups so it’s a great family thing,” said Mr Bush.

“It’s also a chance to come and have a chat with us and find out where your local yoga class is.”

Organisers estimate that on average, around 9,000 people visit the Sport Village each year.

The Suffolk Show takes place on May 27 and 28. For the latest news and to buy discounted tickets, visit www.suffolkshow.co.uk

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