Crossbench Peer Tanni Grey-Thompson has been named as the new independent Chair of not-for-profit health body ukactive.
Baroness Grey-Thompson will turn her seasoned campaigning voice to the crucial issue of turning the tide of physical inactivity over the coming years and ensure that the next government turns rhetoric into action on the inactivity crisis.
Within the announcement that Baroness Grey-Thompson, who is one of the most successful British athletes of all time, set out clear objectives to drive ukactive’s campaign to get Britain more active to the heart of future government policy.
- For the government to have created a long-term, cross-department strategy for the establishment of physical activity best practice across all public bodies
- For the existing work of the physical activity sector to be recognised by the government as a key driver of health and wellbeing for the nation
- For the prioritisation of skills and a ‘wellbeing workforce’ to be recognised and actioned by the relevant government departments
- For physical activity to be a top-tier priority for Public Health England, and for preventative health, led by activity policy, to be a key priority for the Department of Health
- For local authorities and schools to have individual physical activity plans spanning the areas of active travel, leisure provision, active ageing and to be supported by the central government in the development of these strategies but also to be held to account by government
Over the past two years, there has been a fundamental shift in the language used by government and agencies such as Sport England when it comes to discussing physical activity as a health outcome in its own right, independent from its impact on weight management.
Baroness Grey-Thompson has said she plans to expand this change in language to definitive action backed up by long-term investment.
The appointment marks the end of the tenure of Fred Turok who announced his intent to step down from the position at the conclusion of a twelve-month consultation reviewing the governance structure of ukactive with the ukactive membership and partners.
Turok served as chairman for 8 years and was instrumental in turning ukactive into the leading not-for-profit national physical activity organisation.
Commenting on her appointment, Baroness Grey-Thompson said:
“With the formation of a new government shortly upon us, there has never been a better time to shout the message of more people, more active, more often loud and clear. I look forward to working with Steve and the ukactive team to make the greatest possible impact on the health of the nation in partnership with the thousands of ukactive members, partners and stakeholders spread the length and breadth of the UK.”
For too long, physical activity has been – in the government’s eyes – the poor cousin of sport and overshadowed by obesity. The work of ukactive up until this point has thrown into stark relief the fact that inactivity is a killer, and inaction on this issue is no longer an option.
What we have set out today will provide the base for the next five years of campaigning, lobbying and encouraging government and its executives to ensure that we turn good rhetoric into real action in order to turn the tide of inactivity and get every part of our society moving again.”