Getting Physical Activity Support Right for People With Long-term Conditions: Sharing Findings from a National Conversation

Thursday 16th June 11:05 - 11:40

Activating the Nation

Being active supports the health and happiness of individuals, communities and whole populations; in short it improves lives. One in three of us, in England live with a health condition and are twice as likely to be amongst the least physically active.

We know that the system, motivations and barriers to being active are complex and this can be further amplified for people who live with a long-term condition. Tackling inequalities is at the heart of the Uniting the Movement Strategy vision to transform lives and communities through sport and physical activity. #EasierToBeActive sought to listen to the lived experience of those with long term health conditions and those supporting them to get active to really understand the specific challenges that are being experienced.

The national #EasierToBeActive Conversation saw over 600 people contribute solutions to a co-created approach to supporting the design and redesign of systems, policy, services and practice that will empower more people with health conditions to gain the benefits of moving more, in a way that suits them.

The solutions identified mean that together, the sport, physical activity and health sectors can better connect and work differently to enable this group of people navigate the system and access the right support, in the right place, at the right time.

In this session we will share the findings which identified WHAT makes a positive physical activity experience for those with long-term health conditions and HOW the health, sport and physical activity sector can change to better support people with health conditions become more active.


Dr. Catherine Homer


Sheffield Hallam University

Dr Catherine Homer is a Senior Research Fellow in the Sport & Physical Activity Research Centre (SPARC) at Sheffield Hallam University. She is an expert in public health and physical activity with 20+ years' experience, currently specialising in co-produced evaluation methods for diet and obesity. She has over 60 publications and conference proceedings on qualitative health evaluations of paediatric/adolescent obesity, experiences of bariatric surgery, and fuel poverty health risks (old and cold). Catherine has been PI/Co-I on research grants worth over £2.4m and is currently Co-I on a £1.5m NIHR project (2020-23), developing a co-produced mixed-method evaluation of the NHS England low calorie diet pilot.

She was also Co-I on a £185k Sport England project (2020-21) working on the co-production of guidance to improve the experience of physical activity for people with long term conditions. She has co-led the development of the ‘Public Involvement in Research Group’ and is now Co-Lead of the Healthy and Active 100 theme for Sheffield Hallam’s £15m flagship ‘Advanced Wellbeing Research Centre’ (AWRC).

Suzanne Gardner

National Partnership Lead for Health and Inactivity

Sport England

Suzanne joined Sport England’s Health Team in May 2014 and is a National Partnership Lead for Health and Inactivity. She provides strategic support and delivery for Sport England’s Uniting the Movement ambitions for strengthening the connections between health, physical activity and sport so more people can feel the benefits of and advocate for an active life.

Over the last four years she has provided leadership for work with health partners such as the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities, NHS Horizons and the Royal College of GPs and the Faculty of Sport and Exercise Medicine to integrate physical activity into NHS systems. She specialises in health, physical activity and sports development and brings a variety of expertise to her work with Sport England, having worked in a variety of roles at local, county, regional and national level in the public and charity sectors including roles with local authorities, the Department of Health, the British Horse Society and the Black Country Active Partnership. Going where people are and listening and co-designing solutions are at the heart of Sport England’s implementation plans.

Suzanne has recently been collaborating with the NCSEM at Sheffield Hallam University to hear from those with lived experience of health conditions and those supporting them to get active to understand the barriers to activity and co-design solutions for ‘how’ the physical activity, sport and health sectors and systems could change to better support people into activity and tackle inequalities. She has an interest in Return on Investment and improving the evidence base for physical activity and sport’s role in delivering health outcomes and has led on the development of Sport England’s MOVES return on investment tool.

Tess Stone

Project Lead

Clever Together

Tess Stone is a Project Lead at Clever Together, an organisation that exists to help people be collectively brilliant. With crowdsourcing and deliberative methods at their core, Clever Together help people to understand and solve truly complex issues, and to co-create positive changes and cultures, together. Tess has worked across local government, health and care regulation, higher education, and the NHS, having led projects with a particular focus on improvement, innovative solutions, and putting the lived of experience of people at the heart of the process. Tess passionately believes in the power of co-creation and creates psychologically safe spaces that enable people to have their voice heard.