Burnley’s OutdoorTown and Pennine Lancashire’s Together an Active Future influence £250m. nationwide funding decision by Sport England
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Outdoor events such as Beat the Street – which encourages people of all ages to see how far they can walk, cycle, skate and scoot throughout the borough - Park Yoga, The Big Burnley Walk and the Burnley Nature Festival are among the many that come under Burnley’s ‘#OutdoorTown’ banner, which in itself is a part of 12 pilot schemes across the UK called Local Delivery Pilots (LDPs).
Burnley is in the Pennine Lancashire LDP, which is known as Together an Active Future (TaAF), along with Blackburn with Darwen, Hyndburn, Pendle, Ribble Valley and Rossendale - with each borough running its own schemes but with similar themes.
The Pennine Lancashire LDP was one of the first to be established with the support of Sport England in 2017 and is now credited with influencing the £250m. investment by Sport England to expand into more areas.
Claire Ramwell, Pennine Lancashire’s strategic lead, said: ‘‘It’s fantastic to see our work in Pennine Lancashire being recognised on a national scale and being used as a tool for decision making in Sport England’s plans to invest into new places – ensuring opportunities to be more active are available to all.’’
Paul Foster, deputy chief executive of Burnley Leisure and Culture (BLC), which is working with the Active Burnley Forum and several other partners to make the outdoor town and TaAF a success, added: “Together an Active Future has given Burnley the opportunity to host all sorts of activities that support our 10-year vision to make more use of the borough’s outdoor spaces for health and wellbeing.
“Whether that's through being active or through cultural programmes, but also connecting to and protecting nature. It’s all part of a holistic approach to getting more people active outdoors and learning to cherish the environment around them.”
This year’s Beat the Street game attracted more than 12,350 players who clocked up 155,251 miles between them. A post-game survey found that 38% of inactive adults said they became more active, while the figure for less active children was 40%.
Participants were awarded points for the distance they covered, and for every 2,000 points earned, a tree is to be planted, with work starting on planting 2,400 saplings this month.
And Burnley was the first and only town in the north of England to host free weekly Park Yoga, attracting average attendances of 75 per week in Queen’s Park over the 20-week season.
Park Yoga is returning every Sunday morning in Spring 2024 and will be joined by another new event, Park Play, two hours of free community play, every Saturday morning in Scott Park – the only event of its kind in East Lancashire. Other events such as the Big Burnley Walk with its short (3miles), medium (6.8miles) and long (13.4 miles) routes and the nature festival will also return next year, along with many other #OutdoorTown activities.
Cheryl Goodman, BLC’s health partnership manager, added: “Together an Active Future invests in the strengths we have throughout the borough, creating positive impacts through partnering with great people who really know their people and communities.”