Culture and sport and its impact on health

In local government there is no standard definition or provision of culture and sport. Besides the requirement on single-tier and county councils to "provide a comprehensive and efficient library service", culture and sport are discretionary services.

As a result the nature and extent of support vary considerably although in practice most councils have some arrangements in place to support culture and sport.

The case studies illustrate some of the many different aspects of culture and sport. They feature examples of:

  • young carers using museum collections as inspiration to produce screen prints exploring the theme of transition
  • challenging teenage attitudes to health risks through an interactive experience combining music, film, graphics and lighting effects
  • helping disaffected young people turn their lives around using football, dance and cricket to overcome challenging behaviour
  • increasing employment prospects for long-term unemployed and vulnerable adults through training in heritage land-based skills and traditional crafts
  • using photography to help people appreciate their local environment and connect them to their neighbourhoods
    improving countryside access to bring local people together to walk and socialise
  • increasing participation by women and girls in various sporting and physical activities such as swimming as a means of strengthening community cohesion
  • promoting shared reading to reduce isolation among vulnerable adults and to increase social interaction by adults with a learning disability
  • fostering a sense of place and identity in a changing built and social environment through participation in dance
  • encouraging joint working between different sectors involved in health promotion through a lantern-making workshop.

Culture and sport delivery often combines direct council provision and partnerships with external organisations. These include private sector operators, independent trusts, and voluntary and community sector groups.

Delivery through shared services and commissioning across more than one council area – including by health, adult social care and children's services – is becoming more common.

Volunteer involvement in delivering culture and sport services is both vital and long established. For example:

  • 30 per cent of Trafford Community Leisure Trust's workforce are volunteers
  • around 500 volunteers operate within the Sport Lincs project in North East Lincolnshire
  • the value of volunteering time through Shropshire's Parish Paths Partnership scheme exceeds the cost of running it.

Councils are increasingly becoming facilitators and supporters of culture and sport rather than direct providers. This is because of new models of public service delivery and efforts to increase volunteer capacity.

The case studies feature programmes led by:

  • six councils
  • a partnership of councils and charitable organisations
  • three individual charitable organisations, including a social enterprise and a trust
  • a university.

Culture and sport's impact on health: case studies

13 February 2013

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