Town becoming more active in fighting the flab

Cllr Emily Westley with netball participants
Cllr Emily Westley with netball participants

PEOPLE in Hastings and St Leonards are becoming more and more active, new research shows.

Figures released this week by Sport England suggest messages about the benefits of living a healthy lifestyle are beginning to hit home locally as the town’s physical activity levels rise.

Since Sport England began monitoring the number of people regularly exercising in 2006 Hastings and St Leonards have seen a seven per cent increase.

In fact, while it was tagged the least active area in the region seven years ago, just three local authority areas have shown a greater leap in participation since.

Some of the credit must go the council’s hugely successful Active Hastings scheme which offers subsidised activities to locals across dozens of sports and activities – ranging from fishing to pole dancing and football to rock climbing.

Cllr Emily Westley, who is the current lead member for leisure at the town hall, was delighted with the news – even if she did admit actual participation levels were still too low.

She said: “This improvement is very encouraging. Activity levels are still particularly low in the town, with only 24 per cent of adults taking part in physical activity on three or more days per week.

“We have a long way to go but we are heading in the right direction. In 2006 Hastings and St Leonards was classed as the least active borough in the south east, but these new figures show that we have now leapfrogged 16 other local authorities.

“I’m convinced that the proactive work of local health and community initiatives such as those organised through our local Active Hastings partnership and local voluntary sports organisations are having a positive impact.

“Our own Active Hastings team will continue to run the huge range of classes and activities they provide for all ages, alongside crèches and play sessions. It’s not just about taking part in traditional sports, or going to the gym but just becoming more active generally by walking more or taking part in a class that sounds fun. We have a new Sport and Physical Activity Strategy and the Active Hastings programme to help point us in the right direction and I’m confident that we will only build on our success.”