Councillors welcome news sport participation in Suffolk has returned to post-Olympic levels

Runners take part in the 100th Park Run in Notwon Park, Bury.

Runners take part in the 100th Park Run in Notwon Park, Bury. - Credit: Archant

A culture change in how people live their lives could be why the number of people staying active in Suffolk has climbed back to post Olympic levels.

Tony Goldson, Suffolk County Council's cabinet member for health

Tony Goldson, Suffolk County Council's cabinet member for health - Credit: Archant

That is the view of Suffolk county councillor Tony Goldson following the publication of a Sport England survey.

The Active People Survey measures how many over 16s across the country take part in at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise at least once a week.

In Suffolk, following the 2012 London Olympics, nearly 35% of people who took part in the research said they did this, but over the following years it dropped to around 32.5%.

But in the last period covered by the data, October 2014 to September 2015, it has recovered for the first time since 2012 to 34.6%.

Ipswich Borough Council Bryony Rudkin

Ipswich Borough Council Bryony Rudkin - Credit: Su Anderson

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Mr Goldson, cabinet member for health at Suffolk County Council, said he was pleased with the rise but did not think it was a one-off.

“I don’t think it’s a blip, I think there is a culture change of diet and fitness,” he said yesterday.

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“People are trying to be healthy. Life expectancy is far greater than it has been for many generation and that has been brought on by healthier lifestyles.”

Mr Goldson also felt the rise was proof schemes put forward by the county council to encourage people to stay active and participate in sport were working.

He said: “Obviously it’s very welcome because in public health we have been pushing a lot of initiatives.

“All this is to try and get people more active. Now it appears to be showing dividends.

“What we have got to do is sustain that through the autumn and winter months.”

His thoughts were echoed by Bryony Rudkin, culture and leisure portfolio holder at Ipswich Borough Council.

She said the presence of top level sporting events in the county such as cycle races the Tour of Britain and the Women’s Tour of Britain, and the Great East Swim were inspiring people to get involved themselves.

“Ipswich Borough Council is delighted to see participation rates increase across Suffolk and in particular in Ipswich,” Ms Rudkin said.

“Over the last year Ipswich has been proactive in offering a wide range of sporting opportunities through our sports centres and vast activities programme.

“The ActivIpswich programme, encouraging regular participation in physical activity, has been a fantastic success.

“Aimed at older people, the programme exceeded its first year targets and is already ahead of target in year two.

“Ipswich Borough Council is committed to ensuring sport and physical activity is a key part of people’s lives and we will work with our local communities to make it happen.”

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