ONE in five adults in Somerset does less than 30 minutes of activity per week, and one third of adults in Somerset do less than 150 minutes of activity each week.

The link between physical activity and good health is proven, and national statistics now show that four in five young people are not active enough to maintain good health.

Somerset Activity and Sports Partnership (SASP) launched its Physical Activity and Sport Strategy to help achieve a step change in physical activity in the county.

The multi-agency strategy is the first time that key organisations within Somerset have worked together to help local residents increase their physical activity and improve their health and quality of life.

The launch took place on Tuesday (February 20) at the Bridgwater Arts Centre.

Attendees included representatives from education, NHS and public health bodies, local authorities, businesses, clubs, sports facility operators and voluntary organisations, with 45 people in attendance.

Speakers included Jane Knowles, chief executive of SASP, Louise Woolway, Public Health Consultant and local residents from Sydenham Walking Football Group, Highbridge Ladies Running Club and Somerset Young Ladies Running Group.

Jane Knowles said: "Move, Play, Achieve is one of the only countywide, multi-agency strategies that have been developed to tackle the issue of physical inactivity in the country, with SASP leading the way with this initiative.

"The link between lack of activity and poor health have been proven, and by getting our county’s residents more active we aim to support the transformation of health inequalities in Somerset, helping make our population healthier and happier.”

The launch focused on how to change behaviour in those groups who are least active which are mainly those aged 65 and over, those in lower socio-economic groups as well as women and disabled people.

These are sectors of the community which have been identified as being ‘stubbornly inactive’.

Dale, 80, from Sydenham Walking Football Group said: ''Walking football is a friendly, exercise session, with positive training and advice.

"It's good fun and great to chat over coffee with everyone afterwards. Great to meet new people''.

Jane Knowles added: "Somerset has an increasingly growing aging population, and by 2023 at least 25 per cent of the population will be aged over 65.

"The county also has some areas of social deprivation - Halcon ward in Taunton is in the bottom 10 per cent in the National Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD) and West Somerset is the worst performing area in England for social mobility for children and adults.”

The launch demonstrated how SASP and its partners can help increase sport and physical activity, through finding funds, influencing change and providing clear strategic direction.

SASP, which has been operating as an independent charity since 2012, has already established its reputation as being a key agency for change through providing expertise, training and support across statutory, charitable and other third-party organisations.

This role has become increasingly significant with the reduction in local authority input into sport and physical activity.

SASP’s objective is to inform, enable and support people to live as active and independent lives as possible at every life stage.

“Bringing together key partners with a focussed and measurable approach will ensure the best use of all resources to create a healthier, more active Somerset, and we look forward to demonstrating how this will work at the launch,” said Ms Knowles.

For further information on SASP's county strategy, contact sports development manager Sarah Coombs on or call 01823-653990.