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Mark Tweedie envisions the sector becoming a national wellness service

By Kath Hudson    30 May 2024
Mark Tweedie talks to HCM editor, Liz Terry, in this issue / Mark Tweedie
Mark Tweedie says the fitness industry could become a national wellness service
A deep understanding of the barriers to physical activity is needed
Tweedie speaks to HCM as he joins Miova consultancy to work on pivot to active wellbeing strategies
“It’s a very challenging environment, but one that is full of progressive opportunities,” says the industry veteran

In the latest edition of HCM magazine, Mark Tweedie talks about his hopes for the health and fitness and physical activity sector, which he believes could become a national wellness service within 20 years, partnering the NHS.

Tweedie, who has been in the industry for 32 years, recently left Brimhams Active when the leisure services were taken in-house and has joined Ken Masser, Andy King and Cate Atwater at the Miova consultancy.

Speaking to Liz Terry, editor of HCM, Tweedie says: “I’d love to see a national wellness service working hand in glove with NHS primary care services, whereby every community has a welcoming front door people can walk through without fear of judgement, to receive the support they require to start and maintain a healthy lifestyle, whatever their start point.

“Given the number of leisure assets across the UK and the scale of the leisure workforce, it’s reasonable to suggest that, with a national strategy and plan, public leisure could become this partner to the NHS,” he says.

To achieve this goal, Tweedie believes a whole-system approach to collaboration is needed, whereby shared objectives are agreed by agencies working nationally and resources are pooled and targeted with precision and accountability to achieve agreed objectives. "Added to this, the recognition that investing in one part of the system will achieve savings in another – the prevention versus treatment cost-saving argument,” he continues.

A whole-system approach has been championed by a number of Tweedie's industry thought leader peers, including John Oxley, Martyn Allison, Andy King, Andy Reed and Duncan Wood-Allum.

Tweedie says a systems-based approach starts with seeking a deep understanding of the barriers people face to adopting a healthier lifestyle, before working out how organisations and groups can optimise collaboration to better meet needs.

“Leaders must achieve deep knowledge of the psychological dynamics of leadership and also appreciate the importance of understanding both self and others in order to collaborate effectively,” he says.

Tweedie believes leisure services could be a fundamental service when it comes to reducing demand in the primary and social care systems and the sector could be ambitious in extending the role more broadly and deeply into the wider domains of health and wellbeing.

“With capital investment to upgrade facilities, revenue to develop the workforce and the creation of a high-quality holistic wellness service, revenues and impact can be maximised to produce a sustainable service that can ultimately save significant costs to the wider primary and social care systems,” he says.

Launched in 2022, Miova works with councils and partner organisations in the UK to reimagine physical activity strategies, programmes and initiatives to be more impactful and is a specialist in the pivot to active wellbeing.

Tweedie says it’s a very challenging environment, but one that is full of progressive opportunities.

You can read the inteview in HCM with Mark Tweedie here

Mark Tweedie  Miova  Brimhams Active  Ken Masser  Andy King  Cate Atwater 
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