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FIA UPDATE fi tness in the spotlight

David Stalker, the FIA’s executive director, looks ahead to what 2011 holds for the FIA and the industry it represents

spotlight in the month of January. But this year was encouraging: not


only was negative coverage relatively contained, but the industry was also invited to play a central role in the coalition government’s fi rst major effort to infl uence behaviour: The Great Swapathon. More than 1,000 FIA members took part in the project, which saw the FIA working in partnership with a reinvigorated Change4Life campaign, given wings by its new partnership with Asda and News of the World. The FIA is learning all the time when

it comes to the ingredients needed for a successful social marketing campaign, and we’re still awaiting the results of the Great Swapathon. However, indications are that the combination used in this project – our coverage of facilities and variety of services, the government Change4Life brand, and commercial partners with signifi cant marketing reach – is the right recipe for success. It’s just a case of adjusting the measures of each ingredient to the consumer’s taste.

responsibility deal The Great Swapathon was only the start of what’s set to be a major year for the FIA. The Responsibility Deal is another key initiative – a Department of Health (DH) scheme set up to forge partnerships between business, government and the third sector to create a healthier nation. Organisations will be asked to commit to the deal’s core principles (physical activity, alcohol consumption, nutrition, workplace health and behaviour change), sign up to collective pledges to act, and pledge their own specific actions in support. FIA chair Fred Turok has been asked to

co-chair the Physical Activity Network of the Responsibility Deal alongside Simon Burns MP, Minister of State for Health. Our goal is to ensure that physical activity

20 Change4Life has been reinvigorated thanks to new commercial partnerships

is elevated up the political agenda and given the priority it deserves by the DH. It’s a major undertaking that simply would not be possible without the support of FIA members, and particularly the funding from those in the Vanguard Group. But it’s not without risk. With the

responsibility of leadership comes accountability, and our actions are likely to be scrutinised much more closely as a result of our new, elevated status. We should expect some arrows to be sent our way by an inquisitive media.

at the heart of things The FIA will also drive forward key projects for 2011, recruiting new partners and enhancing existing relationships. Shift into Sports, for example, has been

in development for almost a year since receiving support from Sport England, the Mayor of London and commercial sponsorship from Addison Lee. It provides a platform from which our sector can work with Sport England to play our part in creating a sporting legacy from the 2012 Olympic Games. This is a project

Read Health Club Management online at

that we’ve deliberately fl own ‘under the radar’, with operational procedures being developed through a pilot phase limited to London, but the system that underpins Shift into Sports has also been used for the Great Swapathon. We will also be keeping a very keen

eye on reforms to local healthcare commissioning, as the formation of GP consortia gathers momentum and local authorities prepare to take responsibility for public health services. We’ve already been asked by fi ve Essex PCTs to build a consortium of interested parties to deliver Let’s Get Moving, a physical activity care pathway that puts fi tness instructors into GP surgeries at the heart of primary care. This is a model that, if developed properly, holds great potential to bridge, at the coalface, the same gap that the FIA’s chief medical offi cer, Dr John Searle, is trying to bridge at the national and strategic level. With the development of major

strategic relationships, use of vehicles such as the Responsibility Deal, and capturing local opportunities for our members, 2011 looks set to be a busy year.

february 2011 © cybertrek 2011

here isn’t much you can be certain of in life, but one thing’s for sure: our industry comes under the


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