Intelligent Health’s Head of External Affairs, Emily Carter provides a quarterly round-up on the organisation’s multi-sector policy influencing activity along with relevant updates from across the devolved administrations.
On World Environment Day (5 June), we were joined by 80 of our guests for our parliamentary reception titled ‘People and Places Fit for the Future.’ We brought together this cross-sector group to celebrate 10 years of Beat the Street and to launch the findings of a report we commissioned with State of Life to determine the social and economic value of Beat the Street delivery. The event was hosted by our longstanding supporter and local MP, Sir Alok Sharma KCMG MP, who opened the evening speeches by discussing the intersection between health and an intrinsic connection to nature. Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Sport, Kim Leadbeater MP also addressed the room, talking about the economic power of community sport and her recently published report Healthy Britain. Our CEO Dr William Bird reflected on the last decade of Beat the Street and mused on what Intelligent Health hopes to achieve for the future. Paul Foster, Deputy Chief Executive at Burnley Leisure and Culture, brought to life the delivery of Beat the Street in a place and how the programme was used as a springboard for Burnley’s vision as an outdoor town. We were honoured to spend the evening with so many partners past, present and future and were enthused by the networking throughout the night with representatives from the public health, active travel, nature connectedness, sport and physical activity and community sectors.
It’s been a busy few months for our CEO in respect of Intelligent Health’s parliamentary activity. As ever, we maintain a strong stance on advocating for accessible, nature-connected physical activity at the forefront of preventative health.
William was invited by Nuffield Health to join an esteemed group of experts from across healthcare, physical activity and academia at a parliamentary roundtable to discuss ‘The impact of the cost-of-living crisis on the nation’s health: Time to get proactive on prevention?’ The session was hosted by Kim Leadbeater MP and focused on three topics: the impact of the cost-of-living crisis, the role of physical activity and getting proactive on prevention.
As part of our organisational membership to the Sport and Recreation Alliance, we were invited to attend a parliamentary reception celebrating the social value of movement and dance. Notable guests included a few from BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing, with Head Judge, Shirley Ballas and professional dancer, Marius Lepure in attendance. As within our work at Intelligent Health, the evening celebrated bringing communities together through movement and dance, and in turn fostering greater community connections.
The hot policy topic here at Intelligent Health during this quarter has been unlocking the health benefits of nature access, and in turn being active outside. We have partnered, along with dozens of other organisations such as Wildlife and Countryside Link for the Nature 2030 campaign. Our Head of External Affairs and CEO attended the campaign launch in Whitehall on 18 July, hearing from representatives from across the major political parties about their manifesto commitments for nature. Of the five manifesto asks, the legal right to a healthy environment is what resonates most. We are joining this campaign to call for the establishment of an enforceable human right to clean air and water and access to nature to help hold our Government to their promises. In turn, this will improve health outcomes for millions, particularly within disadvantaged communities who experience the most harmful levels of pollution and least access to healthy nature spaces, and ultimately save billions for the NHS and social care. If you too, are committed to protecting and restoring nature by 2030, you can sign the petition here.
On 3 May, we had quite the day in Manchester for the second annual Include Summit! For those who may not know, the Include Summit is the sport and physical activity sector’s pioneering equity, diversity and inclusion conference. During the day attendees were encouraged to sign up and play Beat the Street, which we had set up as a minigame around the venue using our mobile Beat Boxes. Our Business Development and Partnerships Manager, Debbie Chesterman, was tasked with recruiting players with the opportunity to win prizes by collecting the most points by the end of the day. Our Director, Katherine Knight, presented a silent seminar in the morning, which was introduced by no other than the Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham! Our CEO and Head of External Affairs were then tasked with guiding the Mayor around the venue, getting involved in the activities available and speaking to exhibitors all whilst playing his own part in Beat the Street. Later in the afternoon, our CEO William participated in a panel discussing ‘Using sport to enhance communities’ on the main stage with other leading voices across the sector operating within community-led sport and physical activity.
Keeping up the momentum of earlier in the month, on Tuesday 23 May we were one of the sponsors of New Local’s Stronger Things conference at Guildhall. Many of our team were in attendance, to talk about our programmes including our Insights offer as well as Beat the Street. William was also able to showcase how through Beat the Street we enable communities to take ownership of tackling health inequalities. The event was attended by hundreds from across the local government network.
At the end of June, we submitted written evidence to the Department for Health and Social Care’s Major Conditions Strategy. In this, we advocated for the impact that physical activity can have in the early prevention of major conditions including Cardiovascular disease, Chronic respiratory diseases, Dementia, Musculoskeletal conditions and poor mental health. We highlighted the value of accessible programmes, such as Beat the Street, that have reach into whole communities and make being physically active a social norm to have the greatest impact for the most in need.
The response can be read in full here.
If you would like to input any of the subject matters in any future evidence submissions or to collaborate on a joint response, please contact Emily Carter, Head of External Affairs.
We will continue to provide relevant political updates throughout the year, if you have not done so already, please sign up to our Partner Newsletter to receive quarterly policy round-ups directly to your inbox.