Rochdale Local Pilot, which is funded by Sport England and delivered by charitable trust and leisure provider Your Trust, is celebrating its third anniversary.
Data from the 2018 Active Lives Survey identified Rochdale as the most inactive borough in Greater Manchester. In response to this, over the past three years, the Local Pilot programme has been working to increase physical activity and ‘moving more’ within the borough, particularly among those who move the least.
The Local Pilot focused on three key audiences; children and young people aged 5 – 18 in out-of-school settings, people out of work (and those in work but at risk of becoming workless) and those aged between 40 and 60 who have or are at risk of long-term health conditions.
The pilot has successfully delivered an innovative and sustainable program to improve physical activity and health and wellbeing for these audiences, with its third anniversary coinciding with the release of the program’s success over the last 12 months.
Alongside several partners including Action Together, Living Well, Greater Sport, Rochdale Borough Council and Sport England, the pilot has worked with the community and local councillors in Milkstone and Deeplish to encourage an increase in physical activity among residents.
The development of Stoneyfield Park was instrumental to the program’s success, with more than 100 residents providing feedback at a community engagement event on how they wished to use the space. This culminated in the redevelopment of the park to give the community a safe place where they could stay active.
Sarah Shard, Local Pilot Lead, said of the program: “The Rochdale Local Pilot program has been a fantastic way of reaching out to those people who struggle to stay active, and develop new, innovative ways of making exercise more accessible and more attractive.
“With the support of the pilot’s many partners, we were able to flex our approach during lockdowns and restrictions to continue encouraging residents to undertake physical activity, with the redevelopment of Stoneyfield Park being a fantastic project highlight.
“We’ve collected feedback from the local community to find out how Local Pilot can help people live a healthy and active lifestyle, and this feedback has been central to ensuring a hugely successful 12 months for the project. We’re excited to put our plans for the year ahead in place.”
The program has been delivered via a range of initiatives including online activities during the pandemic, delivered via Zoom to keep people active at home, as well as gentle exercise and park walks, funding the Gentle Exercise and Bench to Bench Park walks to encourage people to get outdoors, once restrictions were lifted.
Other activities include ladies-only cycling sessions, walk and talk sessions, and weekly online quizzes in partnership with HMR Circle and Active Neighbourhoods project, led by Sustrans, who are consultants working with Deeplish and Milkstone residents to find out more about how to encourage less traffic and more people to walk and cycle in the area for short journeys.
More information on the Rochdale Local Pilot can be found via: https://www.gmmoving.co.uk/in-your-place/rochdale/local-pilot