Leaders from sport and physical activity sector appeal to PM for urgent funding and central role in nation’s Covid-19 recovery

Posted: Tue, 22 Sep 2020 09:00

Leaders from sport and physical activity sector appeal to  PM for urgent funding and central role in nation’s Covid-19 recovery

The letter comes during the Great British Week of Sport and highlights the contribution of the sports and physical activity sector to society, fuelled by a combined workforce of more than 600,000 people.

The coalition requests an urgent support package from the Government, as has been provided to arts and restaurant sectors, that will enable the sport and activity sector to continue to provide programmes and facilities that address the health inequalities highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic and support the NHS by improving health outcomes.

It calls for a "Sports Recovery Fund" to be delivered at the Comprehensive Spending Review, as part of the Better Health campaign. The fund would help protect existing jobs and facilities so that the sector can:

  • Support programmes and facilities that address the health inequalities highlighted by COVID-19, particularly inactivity among women, lower socio-economic groups, BAME communities and people with disabilities.
  • Expand the innovations across the sector that we have seen during COVID-19 – making opportunities digital and increasing accessibility across the country.

A report published by Sport England and Sheffield Hallam University this month showed that every £1 spent on community sport and physical activity generates nearly £4 for the English economy, providing an annual contribution of more than £85bn a year, with a social value of more than £72bn a year, measured by physical and mental health and wellbeing, individual and community development.

Grassroots sport and physical activity is an essential part of the UK's recovery, not just in terms of improved physical wellbeing and reducing the burden on the NHS, but the positive impact it has on mental wellbeing, as well as helping to overcome societal challenges such as loneliness, crime and isolation.

However, the sector has been heavily impacted by COVID-19, with gyms and leisure centres having to shut their doors, community sport being cancelled and heavy restrictions put in place since re-opening. This has significantly impacted the commercial viability of the sector, which has resulted in many local sport, fitness and leisure facilities announcing closures and job losses.

Leaders from more than one hundred sport and physical activity bodies have sent a letter to the Prime Minister urging him to ringfence funding for the recovery of the sports and activity sector – or risk fuelling physical inactivity and related illnesses for a generation.

The letter comes during the Great British Week of Sport and highlights the contribution of the sports and physical activity sector to society, fuelled by a combined workforce of more than 600,000 people.

The coalition requests an urgent support package from the Government, as has been provided to arts and restaurant sectors, that will enable the sport and activity sector to continue to provide programmes and facilities that address the health inequalities highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic and support the NHS by improving health outcomes.

It calls for a "Sports Recovery Fund" to be delivered at the Comprehensive Spending Review, as part of the Better Health campaign. The fund would help protect existing jobs and facilities so that the sector can:

  • Support programmes and facilities that address the health inequalities highlighted by COVID-19, particularly inactivity among women, lower socio-economic groups, BAME communities and people with disabilities.
  • Expand the innovations across the sector that we have seen during COVID-19 – making opportunities digital and increasing accessibility across the country.

A report published by Sport England and Sheffield Hallam University this month showed that every £1 spent on community sport and physical activity generates nearly £4 for the English economy, providing an annual contribution of more than £85bn a year, with a social value of more than £72bn a year, measured by physical and mental health and wellbeing, individual and community development.

Grassroots sport and physical activity is an essential part of the UK's recovery, not just in terms of improved physical wellbeing and reducing the burden on the NHS, but the positive impact it has on mental wellbeing, as well as helping to overcome societal challenges such as loneliness, crime and isolation.

However, the sector has been heavily impacted by COVID-19, with gyms and leisure centres having to shut their doors, community sport being cancelled and heavy restrictions put in place since re-opening. This has significantly impacted the commercial viability of the sector, which has resulted in many local sport, fitness and leisure facilities announcing closures and job losses.

Tags: Physical Activity, Policy, Sport, covid, sport policy