“If you’re a brand and you want to do something exciting, partner with ukactive because we will make a difference and we will change people’s lives.”

This was the call-to-action made by rugby legend and children’s activity campaigner Lawrence Dallaglio during his keynote speech at the ukactive National Summit late last year.

It’s a massive vote of confidence in the collective power of ukactive and its 4,000 members, which is why our focus for the year ahead will be to convert these words of promise into actions of significant impact.

Westminster remains a key battleground for our sector and we enter 2018 confident that we will land some significant wins around some of our key policy strands – particularly in the workplace, community leisure and the children’s activity agenda.

As ever, the arguments for these policies will be underpinned by insightful research from our world-class ukactive Research Institute. Expect a raft of high-impact reports from our research team over the coming months, while the business intelligence provided by the DataHub will continue to sharpen as more operators buy into the value of shared data.

For 2018 we’re committed to breaking with tradition to open up new possibilities and this will see our Flame Conference and Awards move to Manchester with an exciting new format. We’re taking the physical activity sector’s best-loved show to a city that’s pulsing with potential through its newly-devolved status and I can’t wait to share more details of these plans in the coming months.

Learning and development will be a central strand of this year’s Flame, incorporating the ethos of the Ignite learning strand we launched last year and expanding it to address some of the biggest challenges faced by our sector at club level. We’re opening up development pathways at every level and this L&D focus in Manchester dovetails with the latest instalment of our Future Leaders programme, as well as Global Active Leaders – a new programme at IESE in Barcelona for global CEOs of the sector eager to continue their learning.

Innovation remains front and centre of our thinking and the return of our startup accelerator ActiveLab will unearth new and dynamic solutions for how we can stimulate physical activity among new audiences and at the same time better serve our existing clients.

2018 will see ukactive unveil an array of campaigns, events and member services dedicated to supporting our sector’s mission of more people, more active, more often. The outcomes of the next 12 months will be determined by how bold and collaborative we are in our approach.

And by heeding Lawrence’s call-to-action, our sector can transform lives at a greater scale and pace than ever before, laying the foundations for a truly active society.

Head of Communications