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Councils in Suffolk and Essex look to tackle problem of adult inactivity

The first Simplyhealth Great East Run in Ipswich

Picture: ANDY ABBOTT

The first Simplyhealth Great East Run in Ipswich Picture: ANDY ABBOTT

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Suffolk and Essex County Councils have been trying to improve the fitness and wellbeing of their residents with a range of community sports events.

Suffolk is vying for the title of the ‘Most Active County’ by assisting the good work of organisations that already get people into exercise, building partnerships as part of its London 2012 legacy.

Launching the scheme in 2012, former cabinet member for sport, culture, diversity heath and wellbeing, Kathy Gosling, said: “We know at the moment that a lot do not do any exercise so just starting with the gentlest exercise, even a walk around the block, can have great benefits.

“Suffolk is blessed with beautiful countryside and natural features, so go out and see it.

“We do not need an awful amount of infrastructure to do it, we need to help increase the awareness of how easy it is to become healthy.”

In June, Active Essex, the county’s sports partnership, launched a four year strategy to tackle issues around fitness and to change one million lives by getting the county active.

The scheme is backed by Essex County Council, Sport England, 12 local councils and two unitary authorities in Essex.

Launching the strategy, Azeem Akhtar, chairman of Active Essex, said: “There are many conditions associated with inactivity such as the increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, cancer and heart disease and we’ll be working with the residents of Greater Essex and our partners to change 1 million lives and get Essex Active.”

In the last few years Suffolk has seen some huge sporting events come to the county aimed at getting residents on their feet and active.

In 2012 the county hosted its first ever park run in Ipswich then in June 2014 Suffolk hosted the first stage of the inaugural Women’s Tour.

In 2015, 12,500 people in Lowestoft took part in Suffolk’s first Beat the Street programme and the Great Run was launched in Needham Market. Last year the Great East Swim celebrated its 10,000th participant and Beat the Street returned with 4,500 people in Sudbury and Great Cornard taking part. In September this year more than 2,400 runners in Ipswich took part in first Great East Run and the town’s Goodgym was launched, an initiative where runners stop off and do tasks for vulnerable residents.

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