COLCHESTER will see the benefits of a multi-million pound cash boost aimed at getting people more active.

Essex is one of 12 areas to win a part of £130 million worth of funding from Sport England.

More than 100 bids were made for the cash and the scheme will be delivered over four years.

It aims to increase the amount of exercise vulnerable young families and deprived older people do.

Tina Bourne, Colchester councillor responsible for housing and communities, said: “We know that being active is the foundation for a healthier lifestyle.

“But for some families and older people living in deprived areas, more support is needed to help them grasp opportunities to participate.

“This new funding from Sport England will provide a significant boost to our efforts to ensure those who experience health inequalities the most, have the same opportunities as everyone else in the borough.”

During a three-stage bid process, Sport England inspectors visited Basildon, Colchester and Tendring to understand the circumstances which stop people taking part in sport.

They cited coastal deprivation, planning issues from new town developments and rapid urban growth as some of the issues.

Paul Smith, Colchester Council leader, added he was excited by the news of the funding.

He said: “I’m thrilled that Sport England wants to work with us to help overcome the barriers that prevent some of our most vulnerable and marginalised residents from enjoying a much healthier and more fulfilling life.

“Getting more people to embrace healthy active lifestyles doesn’t just help to improve their mental and physical wellbeing, it is also an excellent way to bring communities together.”

The Essex bid was submitted by the Essex Health and Wellbeing Board and Active Essex with significant work carried out by Basildon Council, Colchester Council, Tendring Council and Essex University.

John Spence, chairman of the Essex Health and Wellbeing Board, said: “This funding will allow Essex to tackle inactivity head on.

“Nearly one quarter of adults in Essex are inactive - doing less than 30 minutes of physical activity per week.

“Inertia puts people at risk of poor health and well-being in so many ways and it should be a worry to us all.”