Meeting will iron out a plan to get Portsmouth moving

The Portsmouth-wide strategy is designed to combat poor health and encourage people to get into sport
The Portsmouth-wide strategy is designed to combat poor health and encourage people to get into sport

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A CITY-WIDE sports strategy is being created to combat poor health and drive up the number of people getting into sport.

It comes as figures show the NHS spends £2.8m a year in Portsmouth helping patients with conditions related to being inactive.

It has also been identified that people in the south of the city do the least amount of exercise.

Pompey in the Community, the charity affiliated to the football club, has thrown its weight behind the initiative.

Clare Martin, the charity’s chief executive, said: ‘I completely support this.

‘This was started through the city of football bid and it’s building on that.

‘Often, people just don’t know how to get involved in something like this.’

A meeting is being held by Portsmouth City Council on Friday to iron out the objectives of the scheme.

This could involve making sure existing sport facilities are fit for use, and developing new and non-traditional places for sport.

This could mean hiring out spaces such as car parks at certain times of the day when they are less busy for those who want to play games like football.

A particular focus would be put on driving up sport participation, particularly among groups where sport level is low, and promoting healthier habits.

More high-profile events focused on physical activity could be created and making sure local communities are involved in whatever is set up.

As previously reported in The News, Portsmouth lost out on becoming the UK’s City of Football to Nottingham, but Sport England bosses have pledged to work with the city to improve what is on offer.

Councillor Linda Symes, cabinet member for culture, leisure and sport, is being tasked with approving the vision of the strategy.

‘This is about getting people moving,’ she said.

‘Queen Alexandra Hospital is over-stretched.

‘Even if you walk half an hour a day, that improves your health and well-being dramatically.

‘You don’t always have to do sports in a gym.

‘There could be a room set aside in the civic offices for people who want to do aerobics.’

A financial appraisal will be prepared to consider how much the council can contribute to the project and where external funding is available.