Lockdown exposes health inequalities in Doncaster as new campaign is launched to get more people moving
Research shows that nearly half (45%) of Doncaster residents reduced their physical activity during lockdown.
A new public awareness campaign – ‘Get Doncaster Moving’ – is encouraging people to get out for a walk in their local area
New research from Doncaster Council reveals that lockdown has had a huge impact on the health of Doncaster residents, with physical activity and exercise falling sharply during the pandemic.
The study shows that nearly half (45%) of Doncaster residents reported doing less physical activity in the second lockdown compared to in the summer.
Even before the pandemic, Doncaster was below the national average for physical activity, with around one in three residents finding it hard to do at least 30 minutes of physical activity regularly each week.
Councillor Nigel Ball, Portfolio Holder for Public Health, Leisure and Culture, says the impact of lockdown has shown that being active is more important than ever.He is urging people to take the first step by getting out for a walk or another form of leisurely activity in their local area.
As Cllr Ball says: “We know that lockdown has had a major impact on the health and wellbeing of people in Doncaster, as it has done across the country, so it’s concerning to see that physical activity levels have fallen so sharply during the pandemic.Of course, this is understandable given the restrictions people have been living under, but it presents new challenges for the long-term physical and mental health of people in our communities.
“That’s why we want to raise awareness of our Get Doncaster Moving strategy and showcase how being more active can be a fun and positive thing for the whole family to enjoy.
"By focusing on walking for the first phase of the campaign, we wanted to highlight an activity that remains easily accessible in lockdown, and that has huge benefits for mental and physical health.
“This campaign comes at the right time for our residents, as lockdown measures begin to ease, the weather improves and the evenings get lighter, hopefully enabling people to spend more time outside and to be able to appreciate the positive benefits that this can have on health and mental well being.”
The findings come as Doncaster Council is set to launch a new campaign to ‘Get Doncaster Moving’ – supported by Sport England and the National Lottery.This is an initiative to increase participation in physical activity and sport in the borough, with a view to making Doncaster a healthier and more vibrant place to live.
The new campaign, which launches this week, will be broadcast across social media, via targeted leaflet drops to Doncaster residents and via the council’s own newsletter, with a focus on real people in Doncaster who have experienced the physical and mental health benefits of getting active.
The first phase of the campaign focuses on walking as a free, accessible activity that can be done at any time of year, including during lockdown.The campaign talks about the physical and mental health benefits of walking and demonstrates the many green spaces that people can enjoy in Doncaster, from parks to countryside.