Agenda item

Improving Physical Activity in Trafford


The Committee gave consideration to a report of the Director of Public Health on local programmes to promote physical activity. The report also outlined the current data concerning the level of physical activity in Trafford, the new Chief Medical Officer’s guidelines and the initiatives to ensure that less active groups were targeted and supported.


The Executive Member for Health, Wellbeing and Equalities, the Public Health Consultant, the Sports Relationship Managers were in attendance to present the information and address the enquiries of the Committee. Members were informed that the majority of residents in Trafford were active. The key areas of focus for commissioners were inactive or fairly active people. There were some variations in different groups as older people, people with disabilities, people living in deprived areas and people from black and minority ethnic groups were less active. Levels of inactivity were higher in western areas of Trafford. In these complex instances, officers used a whole system approach which aimed to encourage the uptake of physical activity and deliver sustainable change, working collaboratively with many partners such as the NHS, community and voluntary groups, Trafford Leisure but also with families and their social networks. Changes to housing and transport policies would modify the physical environment and boost walking and cycling.


Following the invitation of the Chair of the Committee, the Chief Executive Age UK was in attendance to inform of the activities undertaken by the charity and explained that there was compelling evidence that physical activity was beneficial for older people to prevent many illnesses and other difficulties associated with older age.  However, data showed that 59% of over 75 year olds were inactive. The Chief Executive outlined the Age UK’s offer in Trafford: weekly coffee mornings, postural stability classes and men’s activity groups such as indoor bowling and ping pong. Those affected by cognitive impairment benefitted significantly from the classes. The classes represented for all those attending, an opportunity for social interaction, to prevent and/or fight social isolation and depression. There were 110 volunteers and 535 75s year olds and over that took part in these activities.


The Chair of the Committee also welcome to this evening’s meeting the G.P. whose practice in Sale led the way in encouraging and supporting  patients to be physically active, to prevent many diseases and boost mental health. The G.P. explained that physical and mental health were interchangeable. The practice had started a walking group for patients three years ago. The activity had been linked with volunteers and 11 walks had developed in 13 G.P. practices in Trafford. The practice was also a Park Run practice and, as such, promoted Park Runs. The G.P. concluded that physical activity was at the heart of everything as it linked to themes very important to the community such as clean air and transport.


The Sports Relationship Managers informed the Committee that their main area of focus was to take actions to eliminate inequalities that acted as barriers to access physical activity. Currently, there was a local delivery pilot in Partington to target children and young people, people out of work or at risk of becoming unemployed, and people aged 40-60 or at risk of long term conditions. They also explained the importance for older people of the social aspect of physical activity and reiterated the significance of a whole system approach across the locality.


Members sought and received clarification on how social prescribing and related activities were communicated to older people/ those not accessing the Internet and how best practice was shared amongst GPs. The GP representative explained that Public Health England provided very good resources on how GPs can promote physical activity; having a champion in the surgery also helped greatly. Officers also explained that elderly people used printed press and radio; supermarkets’ cafes were a crucial point to divulge information to elderly people, as well through their families who used social media. The Committee asked how to reach the hard to reach individuals and families to tackle health inequalities and help people to feel well. Officers explained that the Council focuses on removing those conditions that stopped people to access physical activity; local delivery pilots empowered people to deliver this change and encouraged community groups to take the lead in changing. The Committee also asked what Trafford Leisure’s offer entailed. The GP representative explained that currently, Trafford Leisure was an un-commissioned service; a GP could make a referral for eight weeks; this would cost the user £20 and he/she would be able to access all the classes provided as well as full use of the gym and swimming pool; the GP representative added that this was a great entry point and it would be helpful to be able to promote this further and have this service as part of the commissioned services. Trafford leisure was also part of the Active Living Services in Greater Manchester which was also part of the Prehabilitation Cancer Programme to support people affected by cancer to achieve an optimal status before their surgery so that, during the recovery phase, they could return to the gym for their rehabilitation.

Members enquired about what was being done to address inequalities to South Asian and other black ethnic groups, for examples with literature being available in other languages. Officers explained that there were a range of projects available such as the GM Cricket Strategy to target Asian communities across GM, specifically to engage with South Asian women to be involved in the game. There were also local running groups targeting black and minority ethnic groups in Old Trafford. However, there were more opportunities for further work to be done, for example making information more accessible. Officers informed that Peer Champions were currently being hired to raise awareness about the benefit of physical activity amongst various groups. Officers reassured members that accessibility and inclusion were key points in the discussions on Trafford Leisure’s future developments. Members queried how percentages of physical activity were calculated.


The Committee commended the way Chief Medical Officer’s guidelines were displayed in the posters attached to the report and agreed that it would be helpful to use these posters to encourage individuals to take up physical activity and send them out when the Council contacted residents.



1.    That the content of the report be noted;

2.    That a progress report be presented at the meeting of the Committee in March 2020 to outline developments with:

a.    GPs involvement in encouraging patients to undertake physical activity;

b.    Improving level of translation material for South Asian communities and other black ethnic groups to promote access to physical activities;

c.    Peer Champions and ageing well;

d.    Physical activity offer for disabled people;

e.    Utilising the Chief Medical Officer’s poster to promote physical activity to residents.

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