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 18 April our team joined the APPG for Cycling and Walking at a parliamentary showcase in Westminster. This opportunity enabled us to discuss our evidenced behaviour change programme to many parliamentarians and local authority policymakers seeking to improve active travel choices in their localities. Co-Chair for the APPG, Ruth Cadbury, is the MP for Brentford and Isleworth which includes Hounslow within the constituency, the area in which we have delivered the most repeat Beat the Street games!
March saw the APPG for Sport celebrate International Women’s Day in the House of Commons. Some of our female leaders joined many other likeminded women to hear from the APPG Chair, Kim Leadbeater MP and Stuart Andrew MP, Minister for Sport about parliamentary progress towards parity for women and girls in sport. The event came on the eve of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport’s and Department for Education’s announcement of the extended PE and School Sport Premium.
At the end of February, we attended the Muslimah Sports Association roundtable event hosted by Sam Tarry MP. The event included speeches from Naz Shah MP and Baroness Gohir. Launched during the event, the Muslim Women in Sport report found that 97% of Muslim women surveyed wanted to increase their current participation levels. At Intelligent Health we take pride in ensuring Beat the Street is accessible for everyone. You can find out more about the work we did with partners to tackle health inequalities in Sheffield on this video here.
Since February, we have also met with Katherine Fletcher MP for South Ribble and Mark Fletcher MP for Bolsover and other organisations to discuss levelling up. We posed the question of addressing the social determinants of health through the levelling up agenda and the role of social prescribing in improving health outcomes. Our Director, Katherine Knight, also attended a meeting with the Secretary of State for Education, Gillian Keegan MP which considered developing the skills needed for the UK’s future workforce. Katherine sits on the Board for the Well Schools which places just as much emphasis on health and wellbeing as it does on academic performance and posed a question on whether the Department is looking at how to build resilience in children to tackle the mental and physical health crisis.
Finally, we are delighted to announce that on Monday 5 June, which is coincidentally World Environment Day, MP for Reading West and former COP26 President Alok Sharma will be hosting our Parliamentary Reception titled ‘People and Places Fit for the Future. The event will celebrate a decade of Beat the Street and consider what is the future for healthy communities.
During this quarter, the Intelligent Health Advisory Panel held its first in person meeting, kindly hosted by Panel Member and Co-Founder of the Eden Project, Sir Tim Smit KBE at the Lost Gardens of Heligan. Over 20 and 21 March, the group convened to consider shared priorities and determine measurable goals for the Advisory Panel. The Panel is considering what “healthy” looks like and the steps whole systems need to take in order to achieve this for future generations. Intelligent Health and other organisations involved in the Panel will be looking into how this learning can be implemented into existing interventions, like Beat the Street, to enable whole communities to make healthier choices.
On 29 March 2023 Humza Yousaf MSP, former Deputy First Minister and Health Cabinet Secretary was sworn in as Scotland’s First Minister following Sturgeon’s departure. Coined as Sturgeon’s continuity candidate, Yousaf has now appointed his SNP and Scottish Greens Cabinet.
On Tuesday 18 April, Yousaf also gave a ‘Policy Prospectus’ speech where he outlined his priorities and launched the accompanying policy prospectus ‘New Leadership, A Fresh Start for Scotland’. This includes visions from each Cabinet Secretary to achieve by 2026. Particular areas of note include continuing to increase physical activity through investment in sport and active travel, driving regional economic empowerment and ensuring the programme of community wealth building is improving resilience, and reducing child poverty.
In April, Intelligent Health was also accepted as a member of the Scottish Parliament’s Cross-party Group for Sustainable Transport.
Whilst we do not work exclusively within women’s sport, Beat the Street participants that identify as female made up 61.9% of all players and 70% of adult players in 2022. We jointly submitted this evidence with Rounders England. We advocated for steps that elevate women’s participation across sport. We considered a rethinking of women’s sport as opposed to emulating male-focussed sport structures to enable them to run in a better and more sustainable way with specific reference to women’s football. The response also discussed platforming female role models and creating accessible spaces and activities to enable all women the opportunity to participate in sport and physical activity.
The Health and Social Care Committee put out a call for proposals to its Prevention Inquiry, asking stakeholders to propose specific areas for consideration. In our proposal we called for tackling the causes of chronic stress and in turn, chronic inflammation through an in depth look into the social determinants of health. The Health and Social Care Committee has since announced the areas of interest in the ongoing Preventing ill-health Inquiry. The published workstreams signal a clear recognition from the Committee that addressing the wider social determinants of health is imperative if we are to truly consider preventing ill-health.
If you would like to input any of the subject matter 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.