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In Liverpool, a programme to get people
moving in the workplace


Liverpool City Region is fortunate to have a longstanding partnership with Merseyside Sport (MSP) who is dedicated to unleashing the power of sport and physical activity to all. A good example is the pioneering Liverpool Active Workplaces programme.


Nicky Yates, Strategic Physical Activity and Sport Development Manager, Liverpool City Council @yatesLCC

Danny Woodworth, Physical Activity and Sport Officer (Adults), Merseyside Sport (MSP) @MerseysideSport



Liverpool City Council, NHS Liverpool CCG (National Health Services for the people of Liverpool) and MSP (Merseyside Sport) have worked together to establish workplace physical activity as a city wide priority, in response to 46% Liverpool based employees not meeting minimum activity guidelines coupled with a developing trend of sedentary working. This has seen the launch of the pioneering “Liverpool Active Workplaces programme”, which has built on the existing social movement across Liverpool with 100 organisations (and a reach of over 50,000 employees) in the business community joining in.


“Pooling resources and knowledge”

The key factor in ensuring business buy-in is demonstrating the potential return on investment. Research shows that physically active staff take 27% less sick days [1], and being active is an effective way of reducing workplace stress, which accounts for 53% of long-term absences [2]. The “Liverpool Active Workplaces programme” provides businesses with a supported package to help them realise these benefits, including benchmarking and demonstrating an improvement of desired outcomes through a variety of validated monitoring and evaluation methods.

Every organisation is different in their size and working practices, therefore a tailored response is required to assist each organisation. However strong leadership is critical; the businesses that see the best outcomes are those where managers embrace and participate in interventions themselves, which increases visibility and validation to show staff that moving more at work is acceptable and encouraged.

The programme included the creation of a “Workplace Toolkit” [3] that provides best practice and guidance, the roll out of peer-support Champion training, the provision of small grants and several mass participation challenges. The programme evaluation showed 3,700+ employees were motivated to increase their physical activity levels, 45% of participating organisations achieved a reduction in absenteeism levels and a £14.64 social return was generated for every £1 invested. The key to success for this programme was the collaborative partnership developed between Liverpool City Council, NHS Liverpool CCG and MSP; all working together to pool resources and knowledge in the pursuit of a common goal.

“Liverpool Active Workplaces” is part the “Liverpool Active City Strategy”. Initiated in 2005, it contributed to the city’s successful “Global Active City” certification.




[1] ERS Research and Consultancy, Health at Work, Economic Evidence Report 2016

[2] CIPD, Absence Management 2016, Annual survey report

[3] The “Liverpool Active Workplaces toolkit” can be downloaded from www.fitforme.info

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