We provide a quarterly round-up on the organisation’s multi-sector policy influencing activity along with relevant updates from across public affairs.
In January, following our submission to the Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Committee Inquiry into ‘Children, young people and the built environment,’ Intelligent Health were invited to give oral evidence to the Committee. Our CEO, Dr William Bird MBE joined a panel with three academics: Professor Helen Dodd, Professor Alison Stenning and Dr Jennifer Wills Lamacq to speak with the Committee of MPs about the realities of childhood and experiencing the built environment. William opened the day’s session and spoke about the importance of access to green space in childhood development, citing the impact that lack of green space and poor air quality has on health outcomes. Further members of the panel discussed topics such as the provision of outdoor spaces for play, roaming and inequalities. The inquiry continues and we will provide any updates as necessary.
Earlier in the month, we spoke with Mims Davies MP, the new Minister for Disability, Health and Work in the Department for Work and Pensions about the work we are doing in workplace health, to ensure that employers can support their workforce to work well for longer. At Intelligent Health, we are seeking to support sectors in improving productivity and staff wellness, this involves working with organisations to provide bespoke mixed-method learning to equip employees with tools to improve or sustain their wellbeing. Our workplace offer also includes our new ‘Chat with a GP’ weekly webinar. We hosted a free online taster session with William presenting, providing advice and answering questions on the topic of ultra-processed food. We will be continuing our discourse with the Department of Work in Pensions, to advocate for cross-sector working to improve overall health and productivity.
Finally, during this period our ongoing work to raise awareness of the health benefits of access to nature has continued. We continue to work with the MP for Copeland, Trudy Harrison on lobbying parliamentarians on this matter. Most recently, Trudy met with Department for Transport Minister, Guy Opperman MP to discuss how nature access encourages active travel behaviour. We have also been involved in two partner campaigns, both relating to the health benefits of nature access. Firstly, British Rowing are leading on the ‘Outdoors for All’ coalition with a manifesto for greater responsible access to outdoor green and blue spaces. Secondly, we supported the Wildlife and Countryside Link and others in writing to the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and former Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Steve Barclay MP with policy proposals to further boost nature and health, the letter can be read in full here.
Our Director and member of the Well Schools Panel, Katherine Knight attended the Youth Sport Trust Manifesto launch. Intelligent Health was one of the organisation that were consulted on the manifesto, which puts forward proposals to initiate the systemic change needed to transform lives, primarily through improvements to children’s and young people’s physical activity levels. The launch was supported by Sir Mo Farah and was hosted at the Houses of Parliament.
Katherine also attended a meeting for the All-party parliamentary group on Fit and Healthy Childhood and raised a discussion about play sufficiency and the importance of laying the foundations for active healthy life. She discussed the fact that children’s ability to roam has reduced significantly. Enabling children to play out lays the foundation for formal sport and lifelong physical activity and is free and equally accessible. This we believe, is something that has been lost over generations and we should be striving to recoup.
At the beginning of the year, we submitted written evidence to the Levelling up, Housing and Communities Committee’s inquiry into ‘Children, young people and the built environment.’ As discussed previously, this led to our CEO giving oral evidence to the Committee. The inquiry focusses on: the experiences of children, young people and their built environment; the planning system; best practices and evaluation; and cross-government working.
We discussed societal changes to childhood play and roaming, access to green space, provision of adequate outdoor spaces and safety concerns. We also support the wider sector joint statement issued by our friends at Playing Out and Tim Gill, acknowledging the need for child-focused design to the built environment, enabling play and ultimately, contributing to future generation of happier and healthier children.
You can read our written evidence submission 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 us via email.
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.