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Local delivery

We help local places and partners to develop sport and physical activity in their area, as well as trying to learn more about the location-specific barriers and inequalities people face when trying to get active.

In our previous strategy – Towards an Active Nation – we set out a vision for what we wanted to achieve from investing in a range of local delivery pilots (LDPs).

We took as our starting point that every individual doesn’t live in a vacuum. They are connected to a place and its community, each with its own unique structure, relationships and geography.

Through the pilots, we wanted to understand how we can use those local identities and structures to deliver sustainable increases in activity levels across the country.

We wanted to test whether taking a behaviour change approach in a place could really unlock something groundbreaking for the whole country, and find solutions that are genuinely sustainable for this new reality.

You can take a look at where we are on our journey in our People and Places - the story of doing it differently, document.

Selecting the pilots

In December 2017 we announced the 12 selected locations. This was the culmination of a year of intense work where we discussed with many communities and organisations across the country what we were seeking to do and if they could help us.

After a series of workshops, engaging more than 700 people, we invited applications from which the 12 pilots were chosen. 

The starting point for some pilots is entire counties or local authority areas; others are very clear about focusing on specific locations or groups of people within such areas.

Some reflect the reality of inner city living, some are coastal communities and some are predominately rural. We feel all of this diversity is a real strength to what we can learn from our LDPs.

The final 12 are: Birmingham and Solihull, Bradford, Calderdale, Doncaster, Essex, Exeter and Cranbrook, Greater Manchester, Hackney, Pennine Lancashire, Southall, South Tees and Withernsea.

Getting the pilots started

Once the pilots were selected we faced a big challenge, as this was largely uncharted territory for us and all those involved in the pilots – we had never done anything like this before.

We all pledged to do things differently and avoid defaulting to the norm. Working collaboratively with the pilots to understand their needs and for them to understand how we could change our approach was critical – having the critical support of expert partners was also essential.


The story of doing it differently

When we began our journey with the local delivery pilots, we didn’t know what the answers would be but what we were sure of was that local people held the keys to unlocking long-lasting, positive change in their communities.

We still don’t have all the answers about how to use a systemic approach to tackling inactivity. But we’ve learned a huge amount about the conditions, principles and practical considerations needed to influence positive change at every level of the systems we live in.

We’ve learnt that ‘how’ the work is done is what unlocks progress.

Our newly published LDP story will take you on our journey over the four years to 2021, and the challenges and milestones of implementing a new place-based way of working across 12 local communities.

It’ll show you why we thought this approach was so important, the amazing people that’ve helped us every step of the way and where we think this journey will take us next.

Putting it into practice

Are you working in a place trying to influence and activate change that will support communities to live active, healthier lives?

Are you looking for practical approaches, models and tools that can help to support this change?

Our new resource, ‘Putting it into practice’ brings to life some of the approaches, models, and tools that have been used by places to:

  • identify relationships, map progress and identify gaps
  • embed sport and physical activity in the system and identify change
  • develop community insight and understanding.

You’ll be guided through each tool explaining why, how and with whom you might use it.

You’ll also find examples of how the tool’s been put into practice, what partners have been involved in the process, its impact and what people have learnt along the way. 

How can I find what I’m looking for?

The full resource can be found below, and the sections of this resource are organised by what we’ve found to be some of the practicalities of system change.

One of the best ways to navigate this resource is to start with the questions that you find yourself asking about the work.

Take a look at the full list of questions below, find those that you’ve been asking yourself and dive into that section to take a look at some of the approaches, tools and models places have been testing and developing. 

Common purpose/shared value

  • How can I grow common purpose and understand progress with the partners we're engaging with?
  • How do I embed physical activity in the system through supporting others to recognise and value physical activity to deliver their priorities?

Understand the lived experience

  • How can I better understand the lived experiences of local communities?
  • How can I have meaningful conversations?
  • How can I identify patterns between stories that can inform change?

Distributed leadership

  • What role could I play in helping to nurture and support leaders across the system?
  • How can I help to grow sustainable community-driven development?
  • How can I identify and articulate leadership behaviours that are important to the work?

Capacity and time to reflect

  • How can individual reflection lead to collective action and change?
  • How can time to reflect be embedded within and across teams?

Test and learn

  • How can experienced-based co-design be used to test and learn?
  • How can test and learn lead to implementation and scalability?

Power shift

  • How can I design and embed processes that help to create a shift in power?

Having the right conversations

  • How can I support partners to identify their level of influence and develop meaningful conversations with key audiences?

Understanding the system you're trying to shape

  • How can I align physical activity throughout the layers of the system, across system settings, and against organisational priorities?
  • How can I talk about the system in a way that engages people?
  • How can I better understand the relationships that connect communities as a network and how these evolve and change over time?

Understanding value

  • Does the way that you are asked to measure what you do, miss out the value that you create?
  • How can I find a way to evaluate progress in a way that was consistent with the principles of the work?

Keep in touch

If you want to keep in touch with the work of the pilots and hear about workshops and webinars, you can be added to our community of learning (CoL) contact list by filling out the form below.

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