Our aim



All the evidence points to the fact that prevention is far better than cure. Habits developed when you are young tend to ingrain themselves. Studies have shown that boys and girls who were active every day at the age of 14 are respectively four and three times more likely to be active at the age of 31 – a huge impact.

What have we done?


In a challenging year for sports organisations, leisure trusts and other providers of organised sport and activity, it was more important than ever that we all continued to work together. We facilitated a GM Covid Response group, which opened up collaborative dialogue across Greater Manchester with localities and sport partners, for example National Governing Bodies.

GreaterSport has been working alongside GM Active, GM commissioners, and a wider consortium to collectively understand and prioritise the findings from the commissioned report ‘CV-19 A Moment to Pivot: The future contribution of community leisure to population health in Greater Manchester’. This is helping to shape the work from 2021 and beyond through collaboration across GM, and focussing on identified themes that will contribute to recovery.

GM Walking City Region

Walking was one of the few ways to keep moving during the lockdown restrictions faced by the people GM in much of 2020-21. The GM Walking ambition work continued and adapted to the Covid-19 pandemic to support the GM population to keep active, to get outside, and to remain connected to their neighbourhood and each other, safely. The GM Walking website provided a clear, consistent public narrative and messaging across the system about how to stay active each day through walking during each phase of lockdown and release, with adherence to government guidelines. This provided a service for local authorities and many organisations. The GM Walking social media accounts amplified these messages for the public and linked to and supported campaigns such as Ramblers #RoamFromHome. Sport England data shows how during the period March – May 2020, walking for leisure was a key driver of physical activity behaviour, and one of the few areas of growth.
The restrictions on movement and the requirement for social distancing brought about by Covid-19 highlighted the importance of space in our environments to move about on foot and by bike. The Government invested resources to create additional space for the safe movement of people. Many additional temporary cycle lanes and filtered streets were created by reclaiming road space for these sustainable and active modes.
The adaptation of planned work in response to Covid-19 has been key, for example by supporting Voluntary Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) organisations to use GM Walking grants to support increased activity in ways that adhere to physical distancing rules, creation of #GMWalkFest, a virtual walking festival. These adaptations were reflected across the work of the GM Walking Voice network of organisations and advocates, with many reporting that walking activities played a vital role in maintaining contact with and supporting the wellbeing of the people they work with.
Through the GM Walking programme, we developed a range of tools and resources that aim to further the GM Walking ambition to enable the greatest number of people possible to walk routinely, for pleasure, for travel, for themselves and for the environment. The resources help people to walk independently or as part of organised group activities close to home or discover new places to walk. Examples of the resources include the GM Daily Mile toolkit and funding a series of 30 short, step-free walks on the Go Jauntly app.

The Local Pilot

The Local Pilot network continues to work with communities to build relationships and trust in order to have positive conversations about a resident’s place and how it influences their perceptions about activity and moving more.

This year, we have:

  • Moved all of the Local Pilot network meetings online in light of the Covid-19 pandemic. These sessions have allowed localities to discuss the Covid-19 guidance and how best to adapt and diversify their offer accordingly
  • Hosted specific themed meetings around Covid-19 and its impact on inequalities
  • Created marketing assets with tailored messaging to the local pilot target audiences, which could be distributed through the Covid-19 response centres
  • Continued to focus on sharing, sense making and embedding the learning and evaluation from the pilot
  • Continued to refine our understanding of how to get more people moving through a whole system approach
  • Widened our network of trusted partners through work with DWP, health, transport, planning, the VCSE sector, and more
  • Developed more leaders throughout the Greater Manchester system through the system change development journey
  • Worked with Sport England to extend the local pilot work until at least 2023.

Case Study: The Daily Mile Toolkit

To support the GM ambition to become the first Daily Mile city-region we developed the Daily Mile Toolkit. This meant expanding The Daily Mile concept across the life course in a variety of community and organisation settings, including workplaces.

To apply one of the key principles of the GM Moving work, to involve people, we undertook a piece of community insight work to understand what a mile means to people, what helps or hinders taking a short walk every day, and what would be required to help people to walk every day. The recommendations informed the development of the tools and resources, which included support for organised ‘mile events’, for example at a workplace or community setting, and for independent walking activity in communities. The ideas produced were tested with a range of target audiences and changes were made. The final toolkit has tailored resources for individuals, families, community groups, organisations and services, as well as workplaces and employers, and is hosted on the GM Walking website.

We strengthened and formalised the existing relationship between GreaterSport and The Daily Mile Foundation to allow for co-branding of The Daily Mile Fit for Life brand with the GM Daily Mile toolkit. This opened opportunities for the toolkit to be promoted through the networks of both organisations at GM, national and international levels. The toolkit has been well received and is seen as an asset that can help embed walking into the work of organisations across the system, from business to health and community.

Elaine Wyllie, Founder of The Daily Mile said,

‘We have been working in partnership with GreaterSport for a number of years and they have a fantastic commitment to The Daily Mile. The most recent development of the GM Daily Mile toolkit demonstrates their innovation and passion to expand The Daily Mile. The Daily Mile's reach is now in 80 countries around the world and we regularly talk about the work in Greater Manchester as an example of good practice.’

Further details

For more information on on our work across the life course please contact Matts@greatersport.co.uk.