Between February 2019 and today (October 2022), there has been a significant shift in the narrative around the importance of walking to population scale change in physical activity.
Greater Manchester has moved from a place where formal walking groups were the mainstay of conversations about the role of walking, to a position where there is widespread understanding of the critical role of walking; for leisure, for travel, and for everyday activity that is so significant to population health.
As well as Active Lives data demonstrating how pre Covid, more people were already walking for both leisure and travel in GM. We have seen a shift in the perception of how important walking is for example the Active Soles movement is helping this, particularly in the active workplace agenda.
The latest Active Lives data, (May 2020-21) shows that the amount of walking for leisure that people do is at an all time high (more people have been walking for leisure year on year) but walking for travel has seen decline in participation in the past 12 months (walking for travel peaked in 18-19 and has declined since the pandemic).
GM is now 3.5 years into the delivery phase of the longer term Walking Ambition.
A social movement takes time to grow and embed (the programme was only one year into implementation when the pandemic started).
External evaluators are observing success through the development of apps and social media, through walking Champions, The Greater Manchester Way Campaign and The GM Daily Mile Toolkits, there are festivals and events, websites, animations and there have been Community Investment Fund grants for over 80 VCSE organisations.
These tangible assets and investments have been critical tools to support and enable the movement to grow, and are growing capacity and capability from neighbourhoods, through localities and GM wide leadership on this agenda.
We have strengthened relationships with key partners such as TfGM and recognise how active travel has a key role to play in increasing physical activity overall, especially amongst more inactive and disadvantaged population groups (e.g. Sport England Active Lives data for walking shows that disadvantaged population groups are more reliant upon forms of active travel to achieve recommended levels of activity).
Through the development of the theories of change (‘Enablers for Change’) we are understanding what it takes to make change happen and to enable active lives (learn more here).This has influenced and shaped our current focus and priorities to support increased walking in Greater Manchester.
We remain collectively committed to continue to work on specific priorities for walking and 'continue to grow and embed the GM Walking Ambition across the whole system and in each locality' in order to to tackle inequalities and support Covid-19 recovery and resilience
A series of deliverables include:
The latest evaluation report can be downloaded below.
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.
As part of Right to the Streets initiative, Open Data Manchester have created a Place Review tool to help identify steps you can take to create safer and more welcoming streets and public spaces. The Place Review was finalised and launched at Stretford Public Hall in September 2023 and here, Toyebat Adewale, explains how the tool was developed with the Trafford community.