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4. Recommendations

Based on the findings from the research the following key recommendations are suggested: 

Recommendation 1:

Prioritise the funding and support of swimming and fitness classes for adults and swimming classes/lessons for children.

The provision of more opportunities to participate in swimming and fitness classes supports year round participation in the most popular activities, is inclusive of Welsh and English language respondents of all age ranges and underpins the key motivations to maintain good health and wellbeing, improve strength, endurance and/or fitness and to stay (or become) more agile/flexible.

Recommendation 2:        

Recognise the Social Value and importance of bilingual opportunities (particularly Twmpath/folk dancing) to participate in physical activities that support the cohesion of rural communities, subjective well-being and Welsh identity, as well as helping others born in Wales but who are non-Welsh speaking / Welsh learners to integrate into the community. 

Bilingual provision of physical activities and sport opportunities supports the key Well-Being Goals of A Healthier Wales, A Wales of Cohesive Communities, and A Wales of Vibrant Culture and Thriving Welsh Language in the Future Generations Act. Bilingual provision also reaffirms Welsh cultural identity and heritage and helps to integrate non-Welsh speaking incomers into communities where the Welsh language is widely spoken. Bilingual provision builds social cohesion in rural communities.

Recommendation 3:

Develop improved communication networks with local authorities/local transport networks, schools and other leisure facility providers to better integrate decision making around provision and accessibility to facilities for families living in rural communities.

The absence of a family car and reductions in public transport services means many Welsh speaking participants and families living in rural communities are increasingly unable to access the most popular physical activity opportunities that are available further afield. Sport Wales should seek to consult with all local facility providers including leisure centres and schools as well as local transport providers to maximise the opportunities for rural communities to travel to, access and participate inphysical activity and sport in areas of existing provision.

Recommendation 4:

In order to encourage Welsh speaking participants and families living in rural communities to meet the recommended minimum levels of physical activity each week, Sport Wales should increase publicity and education about the National Exercise Referral Scheme (NERS), and liaise with Social Prescribing networks about opportunities to participate in local organised walks, Couch to 5K initiatives and other community activities.

Raising awareness and promoting the National Exercise Referral Scheme (NERS) provides a valuable mechanism to encourage Welsh speaking participants and families living in rural communities who are physically inactive, to become more active. In addition to being free of charge, liaising/supporting Social Prescribing initiatives linked to local organised walks would likewise meet the less intensive physical activity needs of less able/disabled individuals as well as those more interested in nature focused exercise opportunities. 

Recommendation 5:

Develop and publicise a data base of local physical activity opportunities, venues, contacts, language etc in each of the regions of Wales to disseminate via Sport Wales webpage and local networks.

Many Welsh speaking participants and families living in rural communities were unaware of the physical activity and sport opportunities in their local areas. Developing a central database of activities and opportunities bespoke to each region of Wales would be an invaluable resource for Sport Wales to create and share, via its online platform and regional networks, and would support awareness of the diverse range of activities that are available to rural communities.