My View, Michael Hart: Community workers to get town fitter

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Doncaster’s health should be a concern for us all.

More than 30 per cent of adults in Doncaster are classed as obese, significantly higher than the national average and this statistic is mirrored by a number of other health issues – alcohol-related illness, smoking-related illness and cancer rates.

Acknowledging we have a problem is easy, how we respond to and tackle these issues is much harder.

Doncaster Culture and Leisure Trust manage 15 venues across the borough and we are working closely with a range of partners led by Public Health Doncaster to start to tackle inactivity in our borough.

We have recognised there needs to be a direct link in communities to help and assist in raising people’s understanding of how they can become more active and ultimately more healthy.

To begin with we are recruiting for community activators. These new roles will be based out in the borough and herald a return to health and wellbeing sessions being delivered in the heart of our communities.

By creating these new roles we are beginning to address the issue of accessibility and the community activators will be responsible for delivering programmes of outreach activities in the communities they will serve.

This work is a return to the good old days when people worked in the community to get to know the specific needs of an area and deliver activities to improve physical and health participation.

For too long now we have seen Doncaster high in national polls for the wrong reasons – we have high levels of obesity, childhood obesity and inactivity.

We need to work in partnership across our borough to tackle this and make sure that the town is doing all it can to be a great place to live, learn and work.

We work with local schools to offer lots of opportunities for young people to take part in relevant, fun and engaging activities to make sports, health and fitness a part of their lives.

Our community activators will be taking this one step further by working towards improving the health and wellbeing of individuals, working with a range of partners to increase participation.

The Trust is committed to improving the quality of physical activity provision across Doncaster and we are adding to our workforce to strengthen the work currently undertaken in facilities by taking programmes out to the wider borough.

By delivering community- based health and physical activities for adults, children and young people in Doncaster in their locality we are confident that we can get people interested, engaged and participating.