Promoting Sport & Physical Activity

Sports equipment

Active Sussex are working with Rother District Council, Hastings Borough Council and 3VA to build the workforce needed to engage inactive people.

The first stage of this project has been to understand physical activity levels and attitudes of residents and participants, and the coaches and volunteers needed to support them to become active. You can download our reports on audiences here:

The methods and learning from this project can be applied to other areas, mostly at zero cost. Please contact Active Sussex to discuss how to build the workforce needed to support inactive people in your area.

Key findings

All residents regard physical activity as important, but most have insufficient confidence to take part.

Inactive people have the biggest gap between the importance of physical activity and their confidence to take part. Closing this confidence gap will be critical for the workforce to achieve if they are to recruit more inactive people to become active.

Therefore promotional materials must emphasize that activities are age-appropriate, at ‘my level’ and involve ‘people like me’. Coaches can reinforce this in sessions.

These are the issues that residents raised that would help them to become more physically active.

Messaging to inactive people should emphasize that activity can be fun and social.

Coaches and participants both rate getting fit and having fun as the most important reasons to take part in physical activity. While residents agree that getting fit is the top reason to be active, they rate having fun much lower, perhaps because they do not enjoy physical activity. Coaches and residents place high importance on using physical activity to manage weight. Participants place lower importance on this, perhaps because they have attained a weight they are happy with. All three place ‘Spending time with friends and family’ as the lowest reason, although this can be the incentive which helps people be active who otherwise wouldn’t be.

The Activity Providers involved in this project have successfully engaged Inactive people. Specifically, they have had success in engaging people with disabilities and health conditions, older people and some people from deprived areas.

Supporting these activity providers to scale-up their activities and engage more people should have an impact on reducing inactivity rates in Rother District. This will involve recruiting more coaches and ensuring that they have the skills to support behaviour change.

However, people in some deprived areas (Sidley, and the Tilling Green neighbourhood in Rye) have not been engaged. New activities based in these communities may be required.

More behaviour change training and support to use these techniques with participants is needed so that the workforce is able to support people with low fitness, low confidence, low motivation or health conditions to become active.

Each activity provider should be supported to develop their offer against the Inactivity Design Principles Checklist, so that the areas highlighted for development are improved. The key areas for development are: Using behaviour change theories and measuring behaviour change, developing more partnerships, and scaling up what works.

To discuss how you can use the methods in this project to understand your audience, and equip your workforce to support inactive people to become active, please contact us on the details below.

For more information please contact:

Henry McLaughlin

Henry McLaughlin

Insight Officer

Henry analyses activity data to provide Active Sussex and partners with the insight needed to help people become more active.