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Building Healthy Habits for Life conference

A large room full of people sitting facing forwards looking at a large projector screen
The Active Sussex Conference 2023

Building Healthy Habits for Life conference

More than 80 people attended Active Sussex’s Building Healthy Habits for Life conference on Tuesday, September 19.

The event, held at the American Express Stadium in Brighton, looked at the changing needs of individuals to be active throughout their lifetimes.

Anthony Statham, Active Sussex’s Head of Operations, said:

“We were delighted to welcome delegates to the Active Sussex Conference 2023 for a morning of connecting, networking and learning.

“The event provided an opportunity for delegates to explore physical activity across a lifespan and consider inequalities and inclusivity throughout.”

The first session was led by Active Sussex’s Strategic Relationship Manager, Andy Wright, who looked at the provision for children and young people, particularly the importance of youth voice.

Three panellists joined in a discussion about how they incorporate youth voices into their activities. This included Zoe Ward, from Fit & Fab Families, Jade Hand from DanceHub CIC and Brighton Marina Studios, and Ali O’Boyle from South Coast Sports Coaching.

You can watch a video of part of the discussion below.

The next section of the day was led by Gemma Finlay-Gray, Strategic Relationship Manager at Active Sussex, and looked at the importance of considering inequalities and inclusivity when designing and running projects.

Breakout groups saw delegates discuss the importance of socioeconomic inequalities, gender inclusivity, accessibility, cultural sensitivity, mental health, and lifelong learning and how these can be addressed within their organisations.

Following was an innovation station session, where delegates were allowed to showcase their work, and a talk by Ian Braid from Docia Sport, which uses rugby clubs as community wellbeing hubs.

The last session of the day was led by Strategic Relationship Manager Ross Joannides, looking at the importance of people with long-term conditions and older people moving more.

Professor Scarlett McNally spoke about how ‘sitting down is the most dangerous activity you can do’ and how one hour a day of exercise is the miracle cure.

Sir Muir Grey also spoke about the importance of the health instructor in supporting people to age well.

In the afternoon, a separate This Girl Can Sussex networking event, The Perinatal Period & Physical Activity Learning session, took place.

The session discussed research findings that showed only 25 per cent of pregnant women and new mums reach the recommended activity levels and how only 5 per cent of coaches and instructors are qualified to work with these women.

Guest speakers included Sarah Thorne, from the Active Pregnancy Foundation, This Girl Can ambassador Zoe Ward, and Katie McDougall , an NHS Public Health Nurse.

Slides from the learning session can be found here.


A woman approximately in her thirties giving a presentation
Sarah Thorne from the Active Pregnancy Foundation speaking at the learning session
Discussing the importance of youth voice
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