We are delighted to interview Alliance member Mark Ormerod the CEO / Partnership Director of Leap BMK.
Tell us about yourself and your organisation?
Leap is part of a national network of 43 Active Partnerships covering England. Our geographical remit is Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes. Together with our sister organisations, Active Oxfordshire and Get Berkshire Active we cover the BOB ICS area. Our shared focus is tackling stubborn inequalities through movement, physical activity, and sport. Leap has operated for 22 years, and I have been leading the organisation for the past decade, after 17 years at Sport England in research and strategy roles. Leap’s new strategy (2022-2026) continues our evolution – firstly, we were facilitating the delivery of sport and some physical activity to communities and in education settings (2013-17). Evolving through 2017-2021 we focused on reducing the number of inactive people through a partnering approach applying behavioural change theories. As we evolve to our 2022-26 strategy, we will focus on a systemic multi-agency approach, understanding, empathising, and co-designing coordinated, strategic responses . . . Not quick fixes, but sustainable and systemic long-term change; and this I believe resonates strongly with the ambition of the BOB VCSE Alliance.
What made you join the alliance?
Active Partnerships are integral to the health landscape, as Professor Sir Chris Whitty (CMO) reminded us during lock-downs, “There is no situation, there is no age and no condition where exercise is not a good thing“. Physical activity in its own capacity is a good thing for health and well-being but understood in the context of broader society it is brilliant for our resilience, education, socialisation, our communities, our economy and our planet . . . but to make it explode 💥 we will need greater understanding, collaboration and co-investing; some of which I hope can come through the Alliance.
How has being part of the group helped you?
The health landscape is constantly evolving, and membership of the Alliance allows me to keep abreast of these changes both locally and nationally. We often try our hardest to make clear, pragmatic, strategic connections. Quite often the informality of bringing a group of interested stakeholders together can spur unplanned, innovative and creative conversations and collaborations.
Have you built your network since joining?
Along with Get Berkshire Active and Active Oxfordshire, we secured significant Sport England investment for Active Medicine a training (or familiarisation) programme that supports people in resident-facing roles to have conversations about physical activity. We have already trained over 1,500 resident-facing Health Care Professionals and charity sector roles to have active conversations and signpost to regular movement and activity – an evaluation of the programme is here for those interested.
As a partnership organisation, our networks are well established with strong links and regular engagement with the health and care systems that operate across Bucks and MK. Along with Leap’s Head of Strategic Relationships (Chris Gregory), we meet regularly and share thinking around priorities and attend working groups with leaders in the two Integrated Care Systems/Partnerships (ICS or ICPs) operating in the county. These include Hospital Trust CEOs, Directors of Public Health, Clinical Commissioning Long Term Condition leads, ICS leads for Tackling Inequalities, Ageing Well, Mental Health and Inclusion/Disability to name a few. The priority around tackling inequalities in underrepresented groups and improving the wellbeing of residents living with long-term health conditions are shared and joint work is ongoing via the Active Medicine Programme, Live Longer Better Alliances and Sport and Activity for All Networks in each geographic footprint. New connections from the Alliance helps strengthen and expand these links.
What would you say if you were to recommend it to others?
At a time when the Health Service has faced unprecedented challenges, there is no better reason to forge alliances, explore partnerships, connect, and collaborate. The title of the Health White Paper, ‘working together to improve health and social care for all‘ is a huge clue as to what’s coming and what’s expected. The Alliance can help colleagues across BOB, prepare, connect, and begin to assemble themselves in preparation for what’s planned, in a very welcoming, relaxed environment.
More about Mark