Issue details

To award £70,000 Public Health grant funding to Halo Leisure for the outdoor athletics track project.

Physical inactivity is associated with 1 in 6 deaths in the UK and is estimated to cost the UK £7.4 billion annually (including £0.9 billion to the NHS alone).

In Herefordshire it is estimated that 70.2% of adults 21/22 reported being physically active, this is above both the national and regional average, whilst this is positive, 20.1% are reported as being inactive, this estimated to be around 33,000 physically inactive adults in Herefordshire.

Inactivity is a leading cause of preventable ill health as well as being a key driver of the life expectancy gap between people living in the most and least deprived areas in Herefordshire. Increasing physical activity and reducing levels of inactivity within the population is a key action in supporting local priorities to improve the health and wellbeing of the population.

Public Health Grant Funding will contribute to the refurbishment project of the athletics track on Holmer Road, which was built in 1988 and during the past 34 years it has been a popular facility for competitive athletes from local running and triathlon clubs staging training sessions throughout the year, whilst also being used for recreational physical activity use. The project will present an opportunity to increase activities to engage with more physically inactive, whilst also meeting the needs of competitive athletes.

The athletics track is the only synthetic track in Herefordshire and is managed by Halo Leisure - a registered charity and social enterprise. The current track has had almost 35 years of regular use by the local community and has received a comprehensive routine maintenance programme actioned by Halo over the past 21 years, which has significantly prolonged the life-span of the track. However the facility now requires a major refurbishment to secure its long term future and make it fit for purpose.

Due to the challenges presented by Covid and utility costs the charity does not have the funds to complete this much needed work.

This aligns with key national and local level sport and physical activity strategies including, supporting Herefordshire deliver the Physical Activity Strategy 2021 - 2026.

Halo Leisure are critical partners to delivering this plan and the project will directly support the vision:
‘In Herefordshire every person has the opportunity to: ‘get moving, be active, feel better, keep well and enjoy healthier lives as part of everyday life in their local community’
The project also meets all four of the key outcomes listed to address inactivity:

• Active Environments – environments that support and facilitate every day physical activity for everyone.
• Active Communities – supported and developed community assets to increase physical activity levels and build community resilience.
• Healthy Individuals – decreasing inequalities, increased awareness and capability in our inactive population to change their behaviour and increase physical activity levels long-term.
• Partnerships and Collaborative Working - improved partnership working to increase physical activity opportunities and participation across our population. By providing a quality training environment, we will be able to work with partners offering them a facility to support their involvement in England Athletics/Sport England initiatives aimed at encouraging people into the sport and support those who are already involved in running.

Total value of the project is £350,000 +VAT, with funding being secured from Community Ownership Fund and match funding from partners including Herefordshire Council, Sport England and crowd funding.

Decision type: Non-key

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Notice of proposed decision first published: 08/02/2024

Decision due: 8 December 2023 by Director of public health

Contact: Matt Pearce, Director of Public Health Email: Tel: 01432 383783.