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Britain on Foot Gets Leg Up From Government

The UK Government and the Mayor of London have launched a new drive to promote physical activity across the country. It's a boost for the Outdoor Industry Association's Britain on Foot (BoF) campaign, say the people behind BoF.

The Government's ‘Moving More, Living More' initiative aims to create a more active nation as part of the ongoing effort to milk a 'legacy' from the London 2012 Games. It will be promoted as a team approach across government and all sectors. 

Yesterday's announcement signifies a major step forward for the Outdoor Industry Association's (OIA) Britain on Foot campaign, says OIA CEO Andrew Denton, who has been closely involved in events and lobbying since the launch of BoF two years ago.

Andrew Denton outside No.10, 77 kb
Andrew Denton outside No.10
© OIA

Using the BoF campaign as the OIA's calling card to government, Andrew brought together a network of contacts and built the profile of outdoor activity at cabinet level, resulting in discussions at Number 10, in both houses of Parliament, in National Health strategy meetings, and in a Parliamentary Commission on Physical Activity, all of which have contributed to this new campaign being launched. 

Andrew comments:

'I'm delighted with this cross departmental commitment from the government. The ‘Moving More, Living More' campaign aims to promote recreational outdoor activity and not just sport, which is totally in line with the objectives of BoF.'

'The OIA is working closely with the Department of Health (DH), Public Health England (PHE) and the 2012 Legacy Team, and sits on many steering groups to promote open spaces and outdoor recreation as a major solution to the issue. There are many opportunities for people to get active, along with boundless creativity and hard work from activity providers across the country. The OIA is really looking forward to helping drive this project forward.'

 

The team will be looking for stakeholders across the sectors, including local government, business, employers and local community groups and individuals, to support the campaign by making a similar commitment.

PM David Cameron said:

'The country was captured by the spirit of the 2012 Games, inspired by our sporting heroes and their many achievements. We now need to build on this, creating a nation that's physically active and improving their health for the long term. We need to provide communities with the encouragement to come together and realise the physical and social benefits of being more active. Government, Local Government, business and community groups must now join together to help make this ambition a reality.'

The government's enthusiasm for outdoor activity might be considered a step in the right direction, but to have lasting effect it may arguably need to be backed up with concrete action in related policy areas, to make sure there's a well looked after and easily accessed outdoors for people to be active in. What about helping to conserve National Parks for recreation in unspoilt surroundings, rather than slashing park budgets and proposing they be built on? Or working to protect and enhance public access to the countryside despite ongoing hostility from landowning and agricultural lobbies? An initiative to get more people off the couch is some kind of start, at least, and the OIA are pleased that their campaigning efforts have bourne this much fruit.

 



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