This article is brought to you by 4global

The global pandemic demonstrated the value of high-quality data and insight across every industry. In the UK, the Moving Communities programme, driven by 4global and Sport England, represented a watershed moment in how the public leisure sector can use data to operate more effectively and efficiently.

Insight and data from Moving Communities enabled strategic decisions to be made about where time, effort and money was best invested to benefit local communities and the audiences that needed the most help.

Responding to closure of the health and fitness sector

As soon as government restrictions closed the doors of clubs and leisure centres, it became apparent the industry was in need of emergency funding to ensure they could re-open safely and effectively as soon as they were allowed to.

To enable this, Sport England secured £100m, provided by the Exchequer via the National Leisure Recovery Fund, working with local government and allowing local authorities to support operators when the time came to re-open facilities.

Through the application process and allocation of funding, it became clear that in order to invest efficiently and report on the effectiveness of this recovery funding, a greater focus and understanding of data was required across the public sector. So, Moving Communities was born, a digital transformation programme underpinned by 4global’s UK DataHub initiative, and designed to bring consistent reporting standards across the sector and to provide data and insight on the recovery and performance.

From the first period of lockdown to now, Moving Communities has worked with leisure operators and local authorities, aggregating live data integrations that are automatically standardised and presented in platforms and graphical reports across the sector. Now, for the first time, we have a comprehensive view of operational and financial performance for the public leisure sector.

Moving Communities is enabling stakeholders to understand how, why, and where people are returning to leisure facilities. All local authorities and operators involved in Moving Communities can see the performance of facilities on the platform, which also benchmarks local performance against statistical neighbours and national figures. Infographics and insight reports are also being published regularly, presenting the key sector KPI’s and providing greater depth on specific demographic groups.

Tracking the recovery

This project represents a step change in the way the sector uses data to demonstrate our impact, or to inform operational planning. The critical need for this was demonstrated during the pandemic, as the industry’s ability to lobby was dependent on the robustness of the evidence we could provide. A key objective of Moving Communities is to put regular, compelling insight into the hands of decision makers, to drive further investment and support.

Moving Communities will be a central part of future engagement with the healthcare industry and a tool which enables services to be marketed to new audiences in different ways. What we have seen so far is the tip of the iceberg, with huge potential just under the surface if we continue to develop as a sector.

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Sep 28, 2021 By Carlos Fernandez