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07 Oct 2020
ukactive launches Active Ageing Consultation to improve sector offer for over-55s
By Tom Walker
ukactive launches Active Ageing Consultation to improve sector offer for over-55s
The consultation looks to identify areas for improvement and where offerings can be scaled
Photo: Shutterstock.com/NDAB Creativity
A major new consultation will seek to explore how the physical activity sector can better support people over the age of 55 – and those with long-term health conditions – to lead active lifestyles.

The UK-wide consultation is being led by industry body, ukactive, in partnership with fitness equipment and technology specialist EGYM.

ukactive is calling for submissions to help showcase the sector’s current work which meet consumer needs, as well as to identify areas for improvement and where offerings can be scaled.

The first phase calls for organisations in the sector to submit case studies for evidence, such as solutions, programmes and commissioning models that are in place to support older adults and those with long-term conditions to be active.

Once submissions have been collected and analysed by the ukactive Research Institute, a group of older adults – selected to best represent individuals from this age group – will be invited to take part in a qualitative research process, further examining the sector’s provision.

The findings will be presented in a report, alongside recommendations for the sector to establish best practice.

The report will outline the ways the government can support the sector to scale up programmes in order to help address the health and social challenges associated with an ageing population.

The findings will be used to create a series of recommendations around the level of support and change required at a national level, shaping ukactive’s policy calls to maximise the sector’s impact.

According to Dr Matthew Wade, head of research at ukactive, the consultation comes at a crucial time for public health, with the COVID-19 virus posing an increased threat to people with underlying health conditions and older adults.

“It is crucial that over-55s take part in regular physical activity to help maintain physical and mental health and independence," Wade said.

“Sadly, we know that many people over the age of 55 are not active enough, but we also know the hard work that the sector undertakes to improve activity levels.

"We want to find out exactly what the sector is offering to support older adults to be physically active.

“We are calling for as much evidence as possible from ukactive members and other organisations to provide a comprehensive picture of the current offer for over-55s, and those with long-term conditions, so that we can provide evidence-based recommendations to improve the offering.”

Kerstin Obenauer, country director at EGYM UK, added: “This is a hugely important piece of work.

"Through this partnership with ukactive, we want to bring the sector together to explore and share best practice in the provision of services and facilities specifically designed for older adults.

“Showcasing best practice in this area presents an ideal opportunity to demonstrate the value our sector can add to a government ‘prevention rather than cure’ health care strategy, positioning physical activity sector as an intrinsic part of the future health care solution.”

• To submit a case study for the Active Ageing Consultation, click here.

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