Fighting to tackle the fact that more than half of us are classed ‘inactive’

The Leyland-based Lancashire Sports Partnership team, with Chief Executive Adrian Leather pictured far left

The Leyland-based Lancashire Sports Partnership team, with Chief Executive Adrian Leather pictured far left

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Sarah Fielden speaks to the staff from soon-to-be charity Lancashire Sports Partnership.

From football to dodgeball and from climbing to swimming, staff at Lancashire Sports Partnership work to bring the benefits of more and more sports to people across the county.

Based in Leyland, no two days are the same for the hands-on team, who work to inspire communities to take up new activities.

“It’s that challenge I enjoy – getting people to see the opportunity and engage with it”, explains chief executive Adrian Leather.

Adrian, who joined Lancashire Sports Partnership in 2006, says: “The key thing I like about my role is the opportunity to bring the benefits of sport and physical activity to a wider audience, and the opportunity to work with such exciting and innovative partners in pulling together a range of new and, hopefully, ground breaking opportunities across the county.”

He adds: “We are just about to become a charity and we hope to be able to announce that soon.

“Our core role is to generate opportunities and facilitate work which increases participation in sport and activity across wider Lancashire, and we are working with partners to build a better sporting and active lifestyle offer across the county.”

Adrian says 54 per cent of adults – 517,000 – are classed as inactive or “sedentary”.

He says: “Our role over the next three years is to engage with 55,000 individuals and we are going to get them engaged to be active – that’s our core purpose over the next three years.

“The outcome of that will be to increase the number of people participating in sport and physical activity.”

The partnership works alongside local authorities, schools, colleges and universities, as well as grass-roots sports providers.

The team runs award schemes and different programmes aimed at different age groups, and offers taster sessions to encourage people to take up different activities.

Adrian says: “Overall the team is an exciting team, it’s a diverse team, and it’s very motivated to improve people’s lives.

“We’ve got great relationships with people out there in the field and we are really working hard over the next year to communicate more effectively with partners and think about how we connect with the wider community to get them to engage in an active lifestyle.”

Coach development manager Jayne Wilson has worked with the partnership for more than six years and says every day is “completely different”.

She says: “My role is working with coaches. Primarily I work with governing bodies of sport, which come and say ‘This is what we need to develop’, or, ‘This is a product we need to develop’.

“And I have a coaching plan that I pull together.”

She says: “There is a good team ethos here – everybody works together and if you’re on a tight deadline everybody mucks in and helps out.

“Everybody has got their own jobs, but everybody works as a team.”

Jayne added: “At the weekend I was out observing some coaches.

“I can be writing a development plan one minute, and the next minute out on the ground working with coaches hands on, so it’s quite varied, which is fab.

“It’s interesting and I love what I do.”

Research and insight officer Debra Jones adds: “What I do is I provide research and insight to the internal team and also to our local partners.

“I’ve only been here just over a year but I really enjoy it – it’s a really good team to work with and so far so good!”