A wide range of leading experts on sport and physical activity from across the British Isles will speak at a conference in Jersey next week (Thursday 1 March), aimed at demonstrating the stark issues the island faces because of inactivity.
The “Inspiring an Active Jersey” conference is the most high-profile of consultation events ahead of the launch of a new government island-wide strategy being led by Jersey Sport.
The event at St Paul’s Centre will be attended by senior politicians, business leaders, heads of States Departments and senior representatives from the health, sport and education sectors.
Elaine Wyllie, founder of the “Daily Mile” which encourages children in UK schools to run or jog for 15 minutes each day, is among the keynote speakers along with Dr Charlie Foster from the University of Bristol and Michele McCoy from NHS Dumfries and Galloway.
Nick Cavill, a specialist advisor to Public Health England’s obesity team, will talk on the links between transport and physical activity, while independent consultant Jo Foster-Stead will look at how sport can build communities.
The Assistant Minister for Economic Development, Tourism, Sport and Culture, with responsibility for sport, Connetable Steve Pallett, said: “This conference is an important step on the road to ensuring that all Islanders understand the need for and benefits of an active lifestyle. If Jersey is to respond to the joint pressures of an ageing population and increasing obesity, then a joint approach is needed across all government departments.
“It is about the facilities we have and plan for, about the health care priorities we promote and how we encourage all Islanders to be active. Departments and members of the sporting community have made the first commitment to this challenge by accepting invitations to this conference, to hear from those with expertise in this field how we can all have a positive impact on Jersey’s future health.”
The new strategy will be released later this year, building upon the success of the existing Fit for the Future strategy which is due to expire in 2018.
“It’s vital that the island’s key leaders understand the significant problems and associated future costs an inactive Jersey causes, and that they feed into the process of shaping these policies,” said Jersey Sport CEO Catriona McAllister.
“We can be successful if we have a strategy that encompasses all departments and all islanders, as inactivity is a major concern for the future of Jersey. Everyone has to do their bit and the conference will show that physical activity needs to be a key priority for Jersey, looked at centrally as one government, not incrementally by departments.
“It’s important that policy in Jersey is informed by strong data and at this stage, nationally recognised experts, and this conference will spark the discussions on the change in culture needed to make the island a world-leader in this area.”
A series of further consultation events will be run to help shape the plans, which will focus not just on sport but increasing the island-wide levels of physical activity.
It is currently the intention of the Assistant Minister with responsibility for sport that the strategy will then be put forward for States approval and endorsement later in 2018.