Delivering 'Climbing Higher' - A More Active, Healthy and Inclusive Wales.
The Welsh Assembly Government sets the sport and physical activity policies and priorities for implementing its strategy (Climbing Higher). These focus on increasing rates of participation in sport and physical activity along with achieving sporting success on the World Stage. The Sports Council for Wales is the Welsh Assembly Government's main delivery agent for implementing its Climbing Higher strategy. It develops and administers the programmes which deliver the Government's policies and translates the strategy into action.
In response to the challenges posed by the Assembly's 'Climbing Higher' strategy, a new framework for sport and physical activity was launched by the Sports Council for Wales in 2005. This framework repositions the Council from being seen predominantly as a distributor of funding to one which focuses on being a ‘Development Agency’, achieving specific outcomes in line with Government policy.
The focus will be the marketing of physical activity, advocacy and innovation in programme development. In particular, it advocates supporting people through training and supporting organisations with the development and evaluation of good practice.
Sport and physical activity need to be re-branded and packaged differently to appeal to more people. Leisure is a crowded marketplace these days and exercise competes with many other activities for people’s time, but few competitors have such a strong unique selling point; physical activity is fun and prolongs life!
We know from campaigns such as those to reduce smoking and promote safe sex that these messages are quickly accepted by some social groups, but for others, particularly people in disadvantaged areas, the task is more challenging. Adapting messages and activities to local circumstances will be extremely important, as will developing an understanding of the process and components of behaviour change in different social contexts.