Investing in local areas

We're going to be investing time, expertise and money in 10 places across England to develop and deliver local pilot schemes

Over the next four years, we'll aim to capture the learning from a mix of types of areas, including rural, urban, semi-rural and coastal, plus a mix of population sizes.

But the pilots must be a true collaboration. We're firmly committed to supporting pilot locations with focussed time, expertise and investment which will be led by the needs of local people.

With a total budget available across the 10 pilots of £130 million, the pilots will need to be insight and demand-led and challenge every aspect of the offer in a locality asking not just what is provided but how

Behaviour change approach

Our strategy Towards an Active Nation sets out a clear principle: focus on the customer.

We know all our current and potential customers are part of communities across England, each with its own unique structure, relationships and geography. We want to understand how we can use those local identities and structures to deliver sustainable increases in activity levels across the country. 

We want to test whether taking a behaviour change approach in a place can develop those increases. A behaviour change approach has already led to scale change in other important policy areas such as smoking, safer driving, and recycling. Testing this within the confines of a place will allow us to confidently measure the effects.

Empowering local communities

Additionally, within any individual community, we know there are stubborn inequalities in activity levels. Certain groups of people don't take part in sport and physical activity and may not have done so for quite some time – older people, people with a disability and people from lower socio-economic groups are three common examples.

We want these pilots to focus on closing the gap in whatever inequalities are most persistent in a place. We want to understand how we can empower local communities to tackle this themselves.

We know that the pilots will need to innovate to drive real change. While we can provide insight and prior learning, there are no tried and tested methods or models. We don't have all of the answers – which is why we want to work in a genuinely collaborative way to design, implement and evaluate a series of pilots.

We don't have all of the answers – which is why we want to work in a genuinely collaborative way

We know that continuing financial pressure on local communities makes it incredibly challenging to genuinely experiment and find new solutions. Yet, we're also well aware that local services, networks and connections are going through a necessary period of rapid change due to those financial pressures.

We want to support that change and find solutions that are genuinely sustainable for this new reality. This will help inform our future investments and also drive local solutions to some of these difficult challenges.