The council is conscious that one of the most important things it can do is help people lead more active and healthy lives.
We know there are many residents who regularly enjoy participating in sports and being active, whether it’s a regular swim, taking part in team sports or simply a weekly walk around your local park. Regular exercise helps keep people healthier and happier.
We also know there are lots of people in Reading who choose not to or are unable be active. One in three adults in our town does not even take part in the minimum recommended 30 minutes of physical activity a week. Obesity in our town – particularly amongst young people – is a real concern. It remains one of our health priorities.
Leisure isn’t just about sport, it can be anything from walking to work, cycling, taking part in a dance class or trying a new activity like yoga.
We want to help people who live and work in Reading choose a healthy, active lifestyle and have access to the support they need. To help us to do that, we are launching a public consultation exercise where we are asking people what would help them lead more active lives and how the Council can help them do that.
We are particularly keen to hear from people who don’t currently lead active lives. If that is you or your family, we want to know how we can help you to get you more active and how can we encourage you to try new activities or sports. If you already take part in sport or physical activity, we want to know what works for you and what you would like to see improved.
Please help us by taking part in the consultation at www.reading.gov.uk/ActiveReading which runs until 14 August. The results of the consultation will be published in the autumn.
The council is fully committed to providing modern and much-improved facilities for swimmers, keep fit and sports enthusiasts in Reading. That includes a £30 million investment in two new modern swimming pools for Reading. Plans to deliver these are already underway and we hope to be in a position to appoint the new leisure operator in autumn 2019 to take work forward as quickly as possible.
In addition, a significant finding from our recent Public Health Services consultation, which launched in 2018, identified how Reading’s range of parks and open spaces were particularly important in providing a place for people to exercise and improve their well-being. The Council is committed to investing £2.8 million in parks and play improvements across Reading, including enhancements to make playgrounds more accessible, as part of the capital investment programme over the next 5 years, with £1.6 million approved for 2019-2022.
We will use your responses to create what is called a ‘Strategic Delivery Model’ for Reading. This will be a future vision for our sports and leisure offer in Reading. Having this strategy in place will help the council access additional funding from Sport England towards the cost of the modern new and improved sports facilities we have planned for Reading.