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Behaviour expert sparks debate at Active Sussex Network

Behaviour expert sparks debate at Active Sussex Network

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Behaviour change expert Professor Jim McKenna sparked debate and enthused attendees at the Active Sussex Network 2019 this week. 

Jim, an award winning teacher and researcher, charismatically  delivered his keynote speech - 'Simplexity of Sport and Physical Activity' - where he challenged delegates to focus their attention on how they can make an impact in their area of work, especially about how to engage inactive and hard to reach audiences. 

The speech set a motivational tone for the network and how to directly affect behaviour change in a positive way was Jim's key message. He spoke passionately about previous projects he has worked on including the promotion of healthy lifestyles, especially physical activity, capitalising on the unique drawing power of major football clubs including Liverpool F.C.

Jim, the Professor of Physical Activity and Health at Leeds Beckett University, said: "What's really important about events like this is they are so beneficial because we can share ideas and everyone can pick up new ways of thinking about things they are already familiar or perhaps completely new. 

"I talked about the way that humans are likely to act in any given situation and how we can operationalise that to make them adopt physical activity on the initial occasion and help them stick to the physical activity over the longer term. We do that by using principles we know already work and that drives what we call human centered design. 

"I wanted to provide delegates with a list of ideas that they might want to try that will enhance the already good work that they do... it's about amplifying those effects to draw in more of the inactive people into the active programmes that they are offering." 

Jim's inspiring presentation resonated with the Active Sussex Network audience. 

Laurence Elphick, Head of Sport from Platinum Publishing Group, said: "Jim McKenna, was absolutely fabulous - he talked about a lot of key subjects and he spoke about things I didn't know about but he also talked about things I was aware of and has made me look at in a new light. There is so much that has come out of today.

Chris Coleman, Head of Community Cricket, Sussex Cricket Foundation added, “I thought his ideas about behaviour change and how we can link idea sharing across sport, national governing bodies and geographical regions were eye opening and is definitely something I can take away and think about."

In partnership with Freedom Leisure, the conference opened with industry-sector updates, delivered by Sadie Mason MBE, Active Sussex CEO, including Active Sussex Trustee recruitment and our latest video project, with Tess Agnew, our Active Sussex This Girl Can Ambassador, This Girl Can: FitGotReal - movement around the home! 

Whole System Approaches to Engaging Inactive Audiences

Following on from Jim's 'Simplexity of Sport and Physical Activity' was a facilitated Q & A panel debate by Active Sussex on the subject of 'Whole System Approaches to Engaging Inactive Audiences.'

Leading the debate was Active Sussex Trustee Viv Woodcock-Downey, who has a background in community sport and a strong interest in inclusion, in particular ensuring that there are no barriers to LGBT people being active and playing sport.  

And in the panel hot seats alongside Professor Jim McKeena was, Sadie, Active Sussex's CEO, a former international basketball player of 13 years and awarded an MBE for her contribution to sports development spanning more than 20 years, including roles at Sport England and the County Sports Partnership Network. 

Adam Chugg, the CEO at 3VA, who support and develop local community organisations and local communities,  for the past 10 years was also on the panel. 

Completing the line-up was Everyone Active's Sport Development Officer, Ben Polhill, who has spent two years developing a sport and physical activity blueprint for the Chichester District Council and Stuart Ramsbottom, Rother District Council's Active & Health Communities Specialist, a coordinator for the Active Rother programme and the partnership approach within the district to developing and increasing sport and physical activity participation. 

Best Practice Examples of Engaging Priority Audiences 

Round table examples and discussions of best practice examples of engaging priority audiences, facilitated by Active Sussex followed, covering five areas. Disability was led by Aroop Tanna, Sussex Cricket Foundation's Disability Cricket Manager, Active Sussex's This Girl Can Ambassador Tess Agnew guided the women and girls while Holly Prescott, Director of Sport Strategy at Mid Sussex Active focused on 14-19 year olds. 

Transition and primary/secondary schools was steered by Tom Hall from Future Proof and the tables were completed by Jacqueline Youldon, a coach from RunningSpace: Running to Beat Suicide Walk2Run group, who discussed hard to reach groups. 

Inactive to Active - The Journey 

In the final section of the event, after a networking lunch, delegates attended the galvanising workshop - Inactive to Active - The Journey led by Henry McLaughlin, Active Sussex's Insight Officer. 

When people begin to think about being more physically active, there are several key stages where this behaviour change can fail or succeed. In this dynamic workshop Ross Joannides, one of Active Sussex's Strategic Relationship Manager, discussed the behaviour journey from being inactive to active.

EMD UK also presented on how their open-data powered Classfinder will give people the information that they need as they prepare to become active, and in a moving finish Jacqueline and two participants from RunningSpace: Running to Beat Suicide Walk2Run group talked about what helped them to become and remain active. 

Delegate feedback 

Nick Hurley, Mid Sussex Wellbeing's Wellbing Officer said: "This event has been a fantastic opportunity to engage with other local services, to network and share ideas.

"I think coming here is vital! An important thing to avoid is duplication on projects which is so key if you are thinking about a new type of audience you want to engage.  At this event you discover if there might be a similar service that does that similar work or has that leg work in place, so rather than starting again and reinventing the wheel you could potentially support that service through referring in or even doing a joint partnership project with them. It's been really useful attending."

Tom Hall from Future Proof said: "It's great because of the range of people here - from education, from sport from behaviour change etc. all coming together and it creates so many opportunities for collaboration and partnerships going forward."

Tess Agnew, Active Sussex's This Girl Can Ambassador and fitness blogger added: "It's been a really good networking opportunity, I have been in touch with a lot of people who run some really interesting sport events and activities that I would really like to get involved with... and really looking forward to where those relationships go."

The provisional date for the Active Sussex Conference & AGM is Thursday 19 September 2019. 

The Active Sussex Network 2019 photo gallery is available HERE

And videos from the event will be available soon...