Sport England is to triple the amount of money it invests in tackling inactivity (£250 million over four years) as part of its new strategy for supporting grassroots sport.
More than one in four people in England (28 per cent) do less than 30 minutes of physical activity a week. But research shows that those who are least active stand to benefit the most, even if it’s just small changes like gentle jogging, or swimming. As well as continuing to support people who already play sport, there will be a greater emphasis on groups who are typically much less active – such as women, disabled people and those from lower-socio-economic backgrounds.
The strategy will help deliver against the five health, social and economic outcomes set out in the Government’s Sporting Future strategy. Key features include:
- Dedicated funding to get children and young people active from the age of five, including a new fund for family-based activities
- Offering training to at least two teachers in every secondary school in England to help them better meet the needs of all children, irrespective of their level of sporting ability
- Working with the sport sector to put customers at the heart of everything they do, using research and the principles of behaviour change to inform their work
- Piloting new ways of working locally by investing in up to 10 places in England – a mix of urban and rural areas
- Investing up to £30 million in a new volunteering strategy, enabling more people to get the benefits of volunteering and attracting a new, more diverse range of volunteers
- Helping sport keep pace with the digital expectations of customers – making it as easy to book a badminton court as a hotel room
- Working closely with NGBs and others who support people who already play regularly, to help them become more efficient, sustainable and diversify their sources of funding.
Jennie Price, Sport England chief executive, said: “Week in, week out, sport and activity plays an important role in the lives of millions of people across the country. We will be the single largest national investor in projects for people to whom sport and physical activity is a distant thought, or not even on their radar.”
Sport England has been trialling approaches to tackling inactivity through its Get Healthy, Get Active programme since 2013. Run by less typical sporting partners like the mental health charity Mind, 33 pilots have so far been delivered. These have had over 36,000 inactive people taking part.