READING COUNCIL is inviting residents to take part in its ‘Active Reading’ consultation which launches today.
One in three adults in Reading do not take part in the minimum recommended 30 minutes of physical activity a week. Obesity – particularly amongst young people – is a real concern and remains a health priority.
The Council aims to help people who live and work in Reading choose a healthy, active lifestyle and have access to the support they need to achieve this. As part of achieving this, the Council is launching a public consultation asking people what would help them lead more active lives.
The Council is particularly keen to hear from people who are not currently active to find out what barriers prevent them from leading healthier lives. The Council also wants to hear from people who are active, what works for them and what they think could be improved.
The Council is fully committed to providing modern and much-improved facilities for swimmers, keep fit and sports enthusiasts in Reading. That includes a £30 million investment in two modern new swimming pools for Reading. Plans to deliver the modern facilities are already underway and it is anticipated a new leisure operator will be appointed in autumn 2019 to take work forward as quickly as possible.
In addition, a significant finding from the Council’s recent Public Health Services consultation, which launched in 2018, identified how Reading’s range of parks and open spaces were particularly important in providing a place for people to exercise and improve their well-being. The Council is committed to investing £2.8 million in parks and play improvements across Reading, including enhancements to make playgrounds more accessible, as part of the capital investment programme over the next 5 years, with £1.6 million formally approved for 2019-2022.
Cllr Graeme Hoskin, Reading’s Lead Member for Health, Wellbeing and Sport, said: “One of the most important things we can do is to help people lead more active and healthy lives.
“Lack of physical activity contributes a major risk factor for many chronic diseases, such as obesity, coronary heart disease, stroke, type II diabetes, with obesity now the cause of as many cases of cancer as smoking. It can add to feelings of anxiety and depression.
“We know there are many residents who regularly enjoy sports and being active, whether it’s taking a regular swim or joining in with team sports or working out at the gym. Leisure isn’t just about sport in leisure centres and gyms though. It can be anything from getting out and about in Reading’s many parks and green spaces, walking or cycling instead of using the car, taking part in a dance class or trying a new activity like yoga. Regular exercise helps keep people healthier and happier.
“We are fully committed to providing modern and much-improved facilities for swimmers, keep fit and sports enthusiasts in Reading. As well as investing £2.8 million in parks and play improvements across Reading over the next five years, we are investing £30 million in two modern new swimming pools for Reading.
“As part of the consultation we have launched this week, we are really keen to hear from people who don’t currently lead active lives. If that is you or your family, we want to know how we can help you to get you more active and how can we encourage you to try new sports or activities. If you already take part in sport or physical activity, we want to know what works for you and what you would like to see improved. Please help us by taking part in the Active Reading consultation at www.Reading.gov.uk/ActiveReading.”
As well as an online consultation, there will be face to face survey work undertaken across the town and targeted work with key focus groups in the community.
All responses received will be used to create a ‘Strategic Delivery Model’ – a future vision for the sports and leisure offer in Reading. Having this strategy in place will also help the Council access additional funding towards the cost of the modern new and improved sports facilities.
People can take part in the consultation at www.Reading.gov.uk/ActiveReading which runs for one month until 14th August. The results of the consultation will be published in the autumn.