The winning formula: a look at team Active Essex in action!

In this feature, we take a deep dive into Active Essex's year of action. We highlight the team’s outstanding performance, and the keen strategies and ways of working that led to their success. We also spoke to the team about their accomplishments, challenges and outlook for next year. The team consists of Grace Hilton, Holly Adams, Beth Higgins, Jack Berry and Issy Lyons. 

a group of people at an awards ceremony

Move With Us campaign and the Essex Activity Awards 

Active Essex's most noteworthy milestones in 2023 included the successful launch of the Move With Us campaign, a tailored initiative stemming from the Find Your Active campaign of 2021. Find Your Active was a behaviour change campaign to inspire and motivate residents to get active and find an activity they love. But the team found that they needed to find a more relatable approach for young people.  

Holly Adams, Marketing and Communications Officer at Active Essex said, “This summer we undertook some significant research and focus group testing to understand the barriers and motivators for young people, and alongside children and young people from across the county, we designed a campaign, called Move With Us to try and inspire and encourage young people to get moving however they choose.” 

“It’s been important to develop this campaign using youth voice and understand the pinch points for where young people disengage with sport and activity.” 

The team did that successfully by engaging with GB athletes, producing inspiring videos, and designing creative challenges and resources for schools and clubs to utilise. 

The team’s second (of many) noteworthy achievement was the Essex Activity Awards held at Prested Hall. It was a chance to honour and acknowledge the community's efforts in promoting active lifestyles among themselves and each other. 

Overcoming challenges through teamwork  

The main challenge of the Essex Activity Awards was working with a new venue. This was overcome with multiple and thorough site visits, and meticulous planning to ensure accessibility and understand the venue's layout.  

The challenge for the Move With Us campaign was ensuring the campaign’s message and findings were communicated to key partners and stakeholders across the county.  

“To overcome this obstacle, we have held a webinar where they could hear first hand from young people the research collected and how they can get involved in the campaign. With numerous toolkits and resources sent out, we’re hopeful for this to continue as we head in to 2024,” said Holly. 

“The Marketing Team at Active Essex worked collaboratively together, using each of our skills to achieve great things.” 

Innovative social media strategies 

To keep up with the ever-changing nature of social media, the team focused on analyzing and adapting social content for various platforms. Regular monitoring and analysis allowed them to tailor messages, media, and calls-to-action, enhancing engagement and reach across platforms. Holly said, “This really helped us, and as we close 2023, I think we did a great job of trying new creative solutions to increase our reach and engagement.” 

Key learnings and takeaways 

The introduction of new team members prompted a renewed focus on continuous learning and knowledge sharing for Active Essex. Internal evaluations became instrumental in identifying successes and areas for improvement. The team emphasized the importance of leveraging these insights for future planning and development. “We each cover different programmes, initiatives and events that the wider team connect with, and so it’s been really vital for us to regularly catch up, and share what has worked and what hasn’t worked,” said Holly. 

Outlook and goals for 2024 

Poised for another great year, the team has plans to carry forward their teamwork, community engagement and commitment to creative strategies to foster active lifestyles.  

“Active Essex like to try new things, and to launch a podcast would be really exciting,” said Holly. “With Move With Us launching this year, the Find Your Active campaign has taken a bit of a back seat, and therefore we will look at ways we can build upon the foundations already set out, and reengage with some of our ambassadors who support this important campaign.” 

 Game on!

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