This blog shares the journey and learning so far as Greater Manchester partners work together to respond to the challenges of the pandemic, and re-design systems, processes and services to support the people and communities of Greater Manchester through public sector leisure.
Sport England has recent published its report The Future of Public Leisure.
This aims to provide a co-ordinated national vision at a time of challenge. It maps out the medium-term goals for the public leisure sector alongside commitments to provide support to services on the ground.
The report reflects the findings and learning from the Build Back Better/Pivot to Wellness work undertaken on behalf of the Greater Manchester Local Authority Chief Executives since 2020.
The pandemic, energy crisis, and cost of living crisis has accelerated the appetite for local authorities and their partners to look at leisure services more broadly and re-examine the purpose of their provision.
This includes considering their alignment with broader strategic outcomes, particularly health.
The Sport England report recommends expanding the traditional offer of public leisure into an active wellbeing service, doing more to create healthier and more active communities.
The sector has already seen good examples of the shift in approach across the country, specifically within Greater Manchester, but also recognises the need for national momentum.
Following funding and in-kind contributions from the 10GM, local authorities, GM Active, Sport England, GreaterSport and connected partners, the Pivot to Active Wellbeing Programme was launched in late January 2023.
Vision: Sustainable public leisure services working collaboratively within Greater Manchester to support improvements in wider population health through active wellbeing.
The Pivot to Active Wellbeing Programme
Partners across Greater Manchester are working together to transform public sector leisure, with a collaborative, whole system approach that changes culture, systems, policy and practice and supports the collective GM Moving mission: Active Lives for All.
This will be achieved through a focussed programme of work, supported by a community of practice and learning approach to spread and grow what is good.
The key aim of the programme is to support public leisure services in Greater Manchester to pivot to active wellbeing through:
The programme is expected to deliver the following outcomes at the following levels:
This will be achieved through:
The wider long-term ambition of the programme is also to provide a flexible, scalable, and replicable framework in England to support active wellbeing in localities.
This recognises that population scale change is best served by an organic spread and growth of practice based on learning.
Knowledge to Action framework
The University of Salford will support GM Active, GM local authorities, and connected partners, to use the Knowledge to Action (K2A) Framework (as used by the World Health Organisation) to develop their bespoke approaches for the Pivot to Active Wellbeing.
This allows a common methodology to be used by all localities. This is essential to share and level-up gains made differentially across localities. It also prepares people to sustain changes.
It provides a common, systematic, evidence based approach and allows us to understand which elements work in which contexts and adapt as necessary to share and sustain.
University of Salford’s mission is to facilitate the use of best evidence in practice, research, and policy to improve the support and treatment for people with (or at risk of) long-term health conditions.
Research indicates a vast majority of change initiatives don’t work, largely because they fail to:
A synthesis of knowledge (i.e. from practice, lived experience, and research) and effective, (i.e. stakeholder led, locality specific, strategically planned), implementation has the power to solve our most pressing health and care challenges.
Using the K2A framework provides a rigorous and replicable process that will support individual localities and communities to improve outcomes in ways that are specific for that locality.
It is important that we all use the same process because this is what makes it possible for us to share with one another and share on national and global scales our success.
However, the process needs to allow us all to find our own solutions that acknowledge the specific needs of the communities we work with.
Lastly, it is important to use tried and tested processes to reduce risk and improve value for money. The K2A framework provides these tools we need to navigate highly complex challenges and formally capture learning on which to build robust business cases.
The K2A work will sit alongside and complement the overall GM Moving evaluation, and specific evaluations attached to investments from the Local Pilot and health investment into GM Moving. A collaborative approach between evaluation partners will model the best in open, iterative, realist evaluation and learning.
5 December 2023 marks International Volunteer Day (IVD), an annual international observance which provides an opportunity for organisations and individuals to champion and celebrate the contribution of volunteerism, advocate for government support for volunteer efforts, and spotlight the contributions made by volunteers worldwide.
The GM Moving conference brings people and organisations together to re-energise, refocus and grow as a diverse and inclusive movement for movement.