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Chief executive reacts to government report on sport in our communities

The inquiry looked at the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on activity levels and the future of the sport and physical activity sector.

Our chief executive Tim Hollingsworth has responded to a report from the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee calling for an increased focus of getting the nation active.

The ‘Sport in our communities’ inquiry looked at the impact of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic on people’s individual activity levels – using our own Active Lives data – as well as the effect it had on sports clubs and physical activity providers.

Issues discussed in the report include the loss of revenue from the temporary closure of facilities and clubs during the restrictions imposed, and what impact it will have on the long-term survival of the sport and physical activity sector.

It also proposes ideas about how to keep supporting people, especially children, whose activity levels have declined during the pandemic, to be active.

A man in a wheelchair uses a lat pull down machine in a gym.

“We welcome the spotlight on how the nation can be helped to get more active following the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Tim.

“Our priority groups include children, women, disabled people and people from black, Asian and ethnic minority backgrounds, whose activity levels have declined since the pandemic started.

“Since Covid-19 began, we’ve had two areas of focus: helping to keep the nation active and supporting the sport and physical activity sector.

“Two weeks after Covid-19 hit, we launched a major new campaign, Join the Movement, to support people to stay active at home during lockdown, and we are continuing that campaign to avoid further drops in activity levels.

“To support the sport and physical activity sector to stay afloat, we have provided over £270 million of National Lottery and government funding to the sector.

Many of these funds are still open for applications, including the Return to Play Fund and the Tackling Inequalities Fund, which is specifically aimed at organisations that can help those groups with the lowest activity levels.

“We also helped provide £100 million of government funding to leisure facilities and £600 million to help sports struggling with the loss of spectator income, delivered through the Sports Survival Packages. 

“To help get children and young people back to being active as lockdown eases, we’ve been investing heavily into a variety of children’s programmes.

“These include the Active Recovery Hub, showcasing over 470 practical resources for schools and parents, the Public Health England and Disney 10 Minute Shake Up campaign and the charity StreetGames.

“We’re also investing £10m of government funding to help schools keep sports facilities open, both during term-time and during the holidays. 

“But there is much more to be done, and Covid-19 has forced a national rethink on public health.

Our 10-year strategy Uniting the Movement illustrates how we’ll ensure that all children and adults have the opportunity to get active - now and in the future.

“We look forward to continuing to work with DCMS and partners in the sport and physical activity sector to make this a reality.”


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