Coca-Cola Great Britain is today launching a new, long-term national programme of free and fun activities in parks. Designed to inspire people to get moving, Coca-Cola Zero ParkLives will be delivered in partnership with local authorities.

In its first year, Coca-Cola Zero ParkLives will be run in Birmingham, Newcastle and Newham London over the summer months, with organised activities taking place in more than 70 local parks.

Coca-Cola Zero ParkLives is a key part of Coca-Cola Great Britain’s commitment to play its role in tackling the global issue of obesity by offering people a greater choice of drinks and promoting physical activity. As part of this, Coca-Cola Great Britain has pledged to invest £20m between now and 2020 in physical activity programmes.

Launching initially in three key cities, Coca-Cola Zero ParkLives aims to expand across the UK, year-on-year, to help get one million people active by 2020. The initiative is designed to appeal to a broad cross-section of the local community, particularly families and young people, and offer a wide range of fun, informal activity sessions aimed at encouraging people to enjoy being active in a sociable, inclusive atmosphere. 

Crucially, activities will be free to participants and thousands of structured sessions will be on offer, from Hula-Hooping to Table Tennis, Tai Chi to Zumba. The activities on offer in each city have been informed by local research and insight and will be led and delivered by trained coaches from the local area.

Jon Woods, General Manager of Coca-Cola Great Britain said “It’s widely acknowledged that leading an active lifestyle is one of the most important things we can all do to increase our overall health and happiness – after all, the more you move, the happier you feel.  We’re thrilled to be working with local councils to deliver Coca-Cola Zero ParkLives.

We know that cost is a barrier to participation so we hope that the free programme of activities will inspire local people to enjoy getting active a bit more and come together with friends and family in their local parks. We will expand the programme in the years ahead to provide more people in more cities with the opportunity to get moving and have fun.

Coca-Cola GB and local councils are working with the national physical activity expert, ukactive, to rigorously measure the impact of Coca-Cola Zero ParkLives and ensure it delivers the right results for each city. The evaluation of the programme will be guided by an expert panel convened by ukactive and chaired by Prof Greg Whyte, Liverpool John Moores University. It includes representatives from the National Centre for Sports and Exercise Medicine in Sheffield and the University of Aberystwyth*.

Professor Greg Whyte OBE, chair of the Coca-Cola Zero ParkLives Evaluation Committee said, “As a nation I believe we need to get more physically active. Research shows us that there are wide ranging benefits available by increasing the amount of exercise we do. Spending time outdoors, regularly moving and being active can only be a good thing.

That is why I think Coca-Cola Zero ParkLives is a fantastic initiative, as in year one it will see more than 70 parks across the country hosting a range of free and accessible activities that will get everyone moving and having fun. I’ll certainly be getting my family involved.

I'm very proud to chair the expert evaluation committee and one of my roles is to help robustly measure and evaluate this initiative to ensure that the programme delivers locally targeted opportunities to get more people active and genuinely supports the needs of each local community.

The first year of the Coca-Cola Zero ParkLives programme will include:

  • Thousands of free, fun sessions offering more than 20 different activities, including Badminton, Tennis, Zumba, Frisbee, Hula-Hooping, Pilates, Tai Chi , Basketball, Table Tennis, Rush Hockey, guided Bike rides, Parkfit, Canoeing, Rounders, Archery and Netball
  • Daily timetabled sessions across  70+  parks in Birmingham, London and Newcastle.
  • A partnership approach with sport, leisure & parks teams in Birmingham City Council, Newcastle City Council and the London Borough of Newham.
  • Funding contributing towards the delivery of sessions alongside kit and equipment.
  • Tailored media and marketing support to drive awareness and participation of the programme.

Deputy Leader of Birmingham City Council, Cllr Ian Ward, said, "This new exciting partnership with Coca-Cola Great Britain not only builds on our successful Active Parks initiative, taking activity into more than 50 parks, but it will take the initiative into another league. We have a shared ambition of reducing inactivity in Birmingham and this programme really does offer something for everyone, from canoeing on Edgbaston Reservoir and Tai Chi in Handsworth to Buggyfit and Rounders in Walkers Heath Park and Zumba at Witton Lakes.

"Active Parks has shown that the city's parks and open spaces can play a key role in bringing communities together for physical activities and I'm sure Coca-Cola Zero ParkLives will mean many more people across Birmingham can now enjoy a wide range of free, fun activities in safe and open environments across the city. I’m confident it will prove to be a big hit."

Commenting on the partnership, Leader of Newcastle City Council, Cllr Nick Forbes said, “Newcastle has some fantastic parks and Coca-Cola Zero ParkLives will help open them up to our local communities. This programme is a great fit with the work we’re doing to promote more physical activity, but it gives us a much greater scale.

This is a pioneering partnership between the council and Coca-Cola Great Britain. To tackle inactivity we need to bring together the smartest thinking from public and private sectors to develop activities that really engage local people and help them become fitter and healthier.” 

Sir Robin Wales, The Mayor of Newham said, “The London 2012 Games were won on the promise to inspire a generation and encourage more people into sport. As the main host borough, we’re doing our bit to fulfil that promise. We launched Newham’s every child a sportsperson programme to give our young people the opportunity to try new activities and become more physically active.  Our partnership with Coca-Cola Great Britain will enable us to build on this scheme and reach even more of our residents, helping them to live healthy and active lifestyles. We strongly believe that these fun and social activities can inspire people to live a healthy, more active way of life that will help them achieve their potential.

The programme has also received backing from Sebastian Coe, CH, KBE, the Prime Minister’s Olympic and Paralympic Legacy Ambassador The next 10 years must be about capturing the spirit of the extraordinary summer of 2012 and converting it into lasting change.  I am passionate about seeing more people being physically active – that’s why I recently helped launch the Government’s ‘Moving more, Living more’ campaign to get more people active.   I am delighted to support Coca-Cola Zero ParkLives to bring business, local authorities and communities together to help people to move more, in local parks which are loved by communities and open to all. Moving more will help us to thrive as a population, as an economy, and as healthy neighbourhoods.

From 2015, Coca-Cola Zero ParkLives will expand to work with more cities, in partnership with local authorities, growing towards the ambitious target of getting one million people active by 2020. It’s Coca-Cola Great Britain’s ambition that by working together with local authority partners, Coca-Cola Zero ParkLives will demonstrate the real value of parks and green spaces as important community assets to help improve public health and wellbeing.

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Notes to Editors

For further information please contact:
 
Emma Capon
ecapon@coca-cola.com
0208 237 2434 or 07920 581 515

Vanessa Pine
vanessa.pine@theopen-road.com
0203 542 1120 or 07779 151 720

*Coca-Cola Zero ParkLives Evaluation is being led by ukactive, the national physical activity expert committed to improving the health of the nation through promoting active lifestyles. The evaluation process will seek to ensure that the right activities are targeted in the right areas, with a focus on getting the most inactive people in our society moving. The evaluation will consider the effectiveness of Coca-Cola Zero ParkLives as an intervention, as well as ensuring that it continues to improve year on year, in response to feedback and evaluation insights. The expert evaluation panel includes Professor Greg Whyte OBE, Professor of Applied Sport and Exercise Science at Liverpool John Moore's University; Dr Robert Copeland, Reader in Physical Activity and Health and a Chartered Psychologist (BPS, HCPC) at The National Centre for Sports & Exercise Medicine, Sheffield Hallam University; and Dr Chris Beedie, University of Aberystwyth, Psychology and Sport & Exercise Science specialist.

Background on physical inactivity in the UK

ukactive Turning the tide of inactivity Report -  January 2014

  • One in four people in England fail to achieve more than 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity per week over a 28-day period even though they can do it in three ten-minute bites.
  • Highest deprivation areas are almost 10 per cent more physically inactive than lowest deprivation areas.
  • There is a disproportionately low spend on programmes to tackle physical inactivity by local authorities compared to other top tier public health concerns.
  • Reducing physical inactivity by just one per cent a year over a five year period would save local authorities £1.2 billion.
  • Birmingham is ranked 132 out of 150 councils nationwide in terms of activity levels. 34.27 % of adults in Birmingham are inactive.
  • Newcastle is ranked 32 out of 150 councils nationwide in terms of activity levels. 25.63 % of adults in Newcastle are inactive.
  • Newham is ranked 137 out of 150 councils nationwide in terms of activity levels. 35.11% of adults in Newham are inactive.
  • 27.55% of the London region is green and open space, almost 20% less than the national average (46.85%).

Background on the use of Parks across the UK:
Policy Exchange Parkland Report– November 2013

  • There are 27,000 parks around the UK: they’re inclusive, sociable and family-friendly, and available to everyone in a community to use free of charge.
  • 93% of people think it’s important to have green space nearby and 92% of us visit public green spaces.
  • Parks are at the heart of the local community. They are often much loved but occasionally potentially under-utilised as an asset and resource to promote public health through increased physical activity and better social engagement and cohesion in a community. The benefits of exercising in the open air and the psychological uplift in mood we can enjoy simply by being outdoors is well documented.
  • Local authorities are being squeezed by increased financial pressures leading to a reduction in spending on parks and other green spaces under their leisure provision.  Spending cuts which are only going to get more severe in years to come.
  • The cuts were felt most deeply in the North East with councils cutting the amount they spend on green spaces by almost 40% over the past three years. This compares to just a 3.4% reduction in spending in the South East.

Coca-Cola Great Britain

Coca-Cola Great Britain is responsible for marketing 21 brands and more than 100 products to consumers across Great Britain, with a focus upon developing new brands and extending existing brands including Coca-Cola (recognised as the world’s most valuable brand).

Other Coca-Cola Great Britain brands include Diet Coke, Coca-Cola Zero, Fanta, Sprite, Dr Pepper, Oasis, Glaceau vitaminwater, Schweppes, 5 Alive, Lilt, Kia Ora, Relentless Energy Drink and Powerade. The Coca-Cola Great Britain portfolio is worth £2,095 million with value sales growth of 4.8% in the past year.  Within this, the My Coke trilogy (Coca-Cola, Diet Coke and Coca-Cola Zero) is worth £1,162 million (Neilsen, w/c 20/04/13).  More than 40% of the cola we will in UK is sugar free, no calorie (Diet Coke + Coke Zero).

Encouraging people to be more active is just one way in which Coca-Cola Great Britain is helping people to make healthier choices and live a more balanced lifestyle. Last year we reformulated Sprite to include 30% less calories, introduced a new portion size with a new 250ml can for Coca-Cola, Diet Coke and Coke Zero, and increased our investment in the marketing of no and low calorie brands.

Coca-Cola has a long history of investing in and supporting active healthy lifestyles - from sport on the world stage to at the grassroots. Movement inspires happiness and Coca-Cola has always been about promoting happiness and optimism; it’s a natural extension of our brand. We’re proud of our partnerships with the Olympics, FIFA World Cup, Special Olympics and StreetGames.

For more information about Coca-Cola Great Britain, please visit our website at www.coca-cola.co.uk.