Physical activity shines a global spotlight on Liverpool twice in one month

Liverpool is no stranger to the world stage: The Beatles, football and UNESCO World Heritage status, have all helped to shine the spotlight on the city over the 100 years. Now it seems it’s the turn of physical activity to bring the city to the world’s attention.

Liverpool’s ‘Global Active City’ status was formalised at a presentation ceremony at the Olympism in Action Forum in Buenos Aires on the 5th October, making it the first city in the UK, and one of the first 6 cities worldwide, to receive the certification, awarded by the Active Well-being initiative and endorsed by the International Olympic Committee. Hot on the heels of that announcement, this week Liverpool once again proved its active credentials on an international stage as work from within the city was showcased on the 16 October during the International Society for Physical Activity and Health Congress 2018 (ISPAH Congress 2018).

Of course, gaining recognition on a worldwide scale doesn’t happen by accident. Coordinated by Liverpool City Council, a small army of organisations have been coming together from across both Liverpool and the wider Liverpool City Region to get the city recognised for its commitment to physically activity. One of those organisations is MSP, who were integral in leveraging both opportunities for the city.

Speaking about MSP’s role Nicky Yates, Strategic Physical Activity and Sport Development Manager for Liverpool City Council, said,

“Partnership working was fundamental to achieving the Global Active City certification. MSP was asked to collaborate on the bid because of its strong networks, its reach across the wider Liverpool City Region, and its ability to influence leaders. MSP was also part of the working group, chaired by Dr Sandra Davies, Director of Public Health at Liverpool City Council, that developed the work showcased at the ISPAH Congress. As part of the Liverpool Active Strategy 2014-21 programme, they collaborated with Liverpool City Council, NHS Liverpool Clinical Commissioning Group and multiple stakeholders to develop innovative ways to get the city’s workforce to be more active. The result was the Liverpool Active Workplaces Programme and we’re delighted that the congress organisers selected our submission as one of the oral presentations from amongst the entries it received. It allows colleagues from across the world to see some of the impacts, which have included: reaching 49,500 Liverpool employees across 82 organisations; producing improved staff activity rates of 91%; reducing absenteeism by 45%; and improving moral rates amongst 91% of participants.”

Commenting on MSP’s involvement and the further impact it’s hoped will be delivered through it MSP’s Chief Executive, Jean Stephens said,

“39.5% of people in Liverpool aren’t as active as the official recommendation of 150 minutes per week*. Contrast that with whole population figures of somewhere like Uganda, where just 5.5% of people do below the recommended levels of activity** and it’s clear that the city can take inspiration from this example that a more active society, with all the benefits it offers for individuals, communities and the economy, can be a reality and not just a vision.”

So, what’s next? Well, as an organisation dedicated to unlocking the benefits of sport and physical activity across not just Liverpool, but the whole of the Liverpool City Region, MSP certainly expects the ripple effect of the global attention Liverpool is getting to be felt across the whole of the region, not just in the city itself. It’s also confident that the effects will go on to inspire other cities in the UK and internationally.

Speaking about the role MSP is set to play going forward in making that a reality, Helen Cartwright, Head of Commissioning and Mobilisation for the Champs Public Health Collaborative support team said,

“We’ve worked with MSP for over 15 years. As a like-minded organisation with shared outcomes we were delighted that MSP has been closely involved with both these opportunities to bring physical activity to the forefront of minds on a global scale. Closer to home we know that they will be pivotal in ensuring Liverpool’s neighbouring boroughs of Halton, Knowsley, Sefton, St. Helens and Wirral benefit from the momentum that has come out of Liverpool.”



Notes for editors:


**Sport England Active Lives Survey 16/17 (Nov)

**BBC –


About MSP

MSP is the only strategic organisation dedicated to unlocking the power of sport and physical activity across the whole of the Liverpool City Region.

Vision: To inspire all people to be active every day

Mission: Working together to improve the quality of life for all people through sport and physical activity

MSP is one of 43 County Sports Partnerships across the country. Its works towards 5 key outcomes to ensure:

  • lives are enriched
  • wellbeing is improved
  • communities and networks are strengthened
  • the economy is enhanced
  • skills for life are developed

For further information visit


About the Liverpool Active City Strategy 2014-21

The Liverpool Active City Strategy 2014-21 is resourced via a partnership between Liverpool City Council, NHS Liverpool Clinical Commissioning Group and strategic stakeholders

Liverpool City Council is the lead delivery partner for the Liverpool Activity Strategy 2014-21 programme and works with a range of stakeholders, including Liverpool Clinical Commissioning Group and Sport England, to resource and deliver the vision and aims of the strategy.

NHS Liverpool CCG is responsible for commissioning (planning and buying) hospital and community health services for the people of Liverpool. It has a budget of around £840m a year. The CCG is made up of representatives from each of the city’s 93 GP practices, and is led by a governing body of GPs from across the city.

Since 2015, the Liverpool Active City programme has reached over 100,000 people via initiatives such as the Fit for Me and This Girl Can Liverpool campaigns, GP Brief Advice Scheme, Community Capacity Building Programme and Liverpool Active Workplace Programme.


About The ISPAH Congress 2018

The ISPAH (International Society for Physical Activity and Health) is an international professional society for those interested in advancing the science and practice of physical activity and health.

The biennial ISPAH congress presented the latest in physical activity research, policy and practice. 2018 marked the 7th congress in the series.

It featured renowned international speakers from academia, policy and practice and explored:

  • addressing inequalities within and through physical activity
  • evidence into policy and practice to achieve population change
  • physical activity and the wider detriments to health

MSP spoke on the 2nd day of the conference (16th October 2018) as part of a session themed ‘Promoting physical activity in communities and workplaces.

For more information about the ISPAH and the ISPAH 2018 Congress visit


About Global Active Cities

The Global Active City programme was founded by Evaleo, a sustainable health association, and TAFISA, The Association For International Sport for All, with the support of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

The Global Active City programme was created to help cities, towns and regions empower their residents to make long term lifestyle changes to be more active in their daily lives – and therefore happier and healthier.

It is not about people who already do physical activity and sport – it is about making physical activity and sport accessible for everyone, especially those at risk of inactivity related diseases – and to help remove the barriers that are preventing them from being active.

Partner cities work towards a model described in the Global Active City Standard, which requires that cities form a strong alliance between different sectors to create and carry out an effective, far-reaching physical activity and sport strategy.

Joining the Global Active City programme enables a city staging or preparing a major sporting tournament to ensure a long-lasting legacy for its local people, placing people’s quality of life at the heart of the project. With this innovative model, social transformation is on par with urban transformation. The focus is on individual and collective well-being and designing and operating cities so they become environments that are conducive to movement and more sustainable living.

The Active Well-being Initiative is in talks with governments in China, Saudi Arabia, Japan, Russia and others, to roll out the programme on a national basis.


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