ACTIVE Dorset has been awarded £659,300 National Lottery funding from Sport England to help reduce the number of inactive older adults.

The cash boost is part of Sport England’s Active Ageing fund to tackle inactivity in the over 55s.

It comes after Sport England research has revealed there are around 5.8 million inactive people over 55 in England and the number of inactive people is growing as people are living longer and inactivity among over 55s is responsible for as many deaths as smoking. In the age 55-64 category, 28 per cent of people do not exercise, 31 per cent of 65-74 year olds are inactive, 49 per cent of 75-84-year-olds are inactive while that figure is 72 per cent for over 85s.

Living Well and Active in Dorset is a multi-agency partnership that will target people aged 55 to 65 as they reach significant moments in their lives, such as retirement.

Martin Kimberley, chief executive at Active Dorset, said: "Active Dorset are delighted to have been selected from over 700 organisations nationally to receive investment from Sport England focussed on supporting 55 to 65-year-olds to be more active. The project is very much a partnership with Public Health Dorset and the Dorset Clinical Commissioning group central to its overall success but also all local authorities and many other public services.

“Our approach will be to facilitate local people to lead and design the activities making sure we remove barriers, whether perceived or real, and highlight opportunities from the numerous systems and services that Dorset residents interact with. We will build on the behaviour change service, Livewell Dorset, supporting this as it enters its next phase. Although we will focus on a particular age range we are ensuring that all our work will provide learning and opportunities for the wider population."

Active Dorset will work with organisations such as clinical commissioning groups, large employers - especially in the public sector - to reach employees nearing retirement, and every school in the county to discuss how to engage parents to get active with their children.