Today sees the launch of a new strategic organisation that will work with business, local government, the health sector, education settings, and the justice system, amongst others, to develop more active communities across Northumberland and Tyne & Wear.

The charity, which will be known as Rise, has been formed in a coming together of Tyne & Wear Sport and Northumberland Sport, two previously independent Active Partnerships.

The purpose of the change is to renew focus on reducing physical inactivity in communities throughout the combined region for the achievement of strategic outcomes including increased educational attainment and reduced absenteeism, improved physical and mental health, reduced anti-social behaviour, safer and more vibrant communities.

Research has shown that inactivity is twice as deadly as obesity. In the UK one in six deaths is due to inactivity[i]. The North East has the second highest levels of inactivity in the UK, almost 40% of adults in Tyne & Wear[ii] and 30% of adults in Northumberland[iii] are not achieving the Chief Medical Officer’s minimum requirements of 30 minutes per day of moderate to intense physical activity. More than 50% of children and young people in the UK are not meeting Chief Medical Officer guidelines of taking part in sport and physical activity for an average of 60 minutes or more every day[iv].

At the same time, the cost of inactivity on the economy, including the treatment of diseases and sickness absence, is in excess of £10bn per year in England[v].

Rise Chief Executive Clare Morley said: “Our aim is to help our strategic partners to achieve their desired goals by incorporating physical activity into their solutions, and to help create a more active approach to life and travel for residents in our area.

“Achieving these aims involves working with a broad range of local, regional and national partners including six local authorities, NHS, Sport England, businesses, education settings and the justice system  to create the conditions for success across a wide range of projects.

“Our purpose is to offer guidance, information, insight and expertise to achieve fundamental and sustained increases in the number of people participating in regular physical activity, with a particular focus on underrepresented and disadvantaged community groups.”

Professor Andrew Walton, Chair of Rise said: “It is more important now than ever that we focus at a strategic level on reducing inactivity in our communities by taking a whole systems approach and push for change at a population level.

“The team at Rise believe that change is possible and we’re ready to lead the exploration, challenge the status quo and do things differently to succeed.

“This will have positive socio-economic benefits for our communities in terms of achieving wider individual, community and project goals through a more active population.”

Strategic projects include working with the Police and Crime Commissioner’s unit, connecting with Youth Offending Teams within each local authority area to develop a needs-led intervention programme involving young people receiving court orders. Previously physical activity has not been a huge consideration for youth offending teams but the success of interventions including boxing, MMA, cycling, and instructor led gym sessions has resulted in further interventions being planned and rolled out within each local authority area.

To mark the launch, Rise will be running a week-long series of online events for its existing as well as potential partners and will be available to view from Monday morning at www.wearerise.co.uk/launch. These include an introduction from Clare Morley, Rise chief executive. Dr William Bird MBE from Intelligent Health explaining the multiple health benefits of participating in physical activity, Rob Murfin, director of planning from Northumberland County Council, providing a local viewpoint and insight into the socio-economic impact that can be created by incorporating physical activity into planning spaces, and an overview of how COVID-19 has affected physical activity by Lisa O’Keefe from Sport England.

To find out more about the Rise, please visit WeAreRise.co.uk, follow them @WeAreRise_NE on Twitter and Facebook.

[i] The Physical Inactivity and Sedentary Behaviour Report (British Heart Foundation)

[ii] Sport England Active Lives Survey 2018-19

[iii] Sport England Active Lives Survey 2018-19

[iv] Sport England Active Lives and Young People Survey 2018-19

[v] Turning the Tide of Inactivity (UK Active)