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New investment boost for OpenActive

We're working with the Open Data Institute on the project that’s vital to our long-term strategy Uniting the Movement.

We’ve awarded the Open Data Institute (ODI) £800,000 of National Lottery funding to deliver the next phase of OpenActive.

Originally launched in 2016, OpenActive is a major open data project that’s vital to our long-term strategy Uniting the Movement

The new investment will allow the ODI to continue to deliver and improve the sport and physical activity sector’s ability to publish and use open data. 

Supporting the data infrastructure required to make it easier to find opportunities to get active, will help tackle inequalities in activity levels.  

Nick Pontefract, our chief strategy officer, believes the investment will help more people be able to access opportunities to play sport and be physically active. 

“Lack of access to high-quality open data in the sport and physical activity sector is a barrier to getting people active,” he said. 

“Our goal is to ensure that everyone – regardless of your postcode, background or bank balance – has the opportunity to get active in their local area. The OpenActive investment will support us to achieve that.”  

Since OpenActive’s launch, more than 100 organisations have been collaborating to ensure opportunities to get active are easily accessible online, to everyone in England. 

This has resulted in 600,000 sessions being published monthly, by almost 70 organisations, as well as £13.6 million in additional revenue for activity providers and almost £2m for booking systems revenue per month.  

The next phase of OpenActive will seek to help the sport and activity sector to recover and reinvent from the disruptions of coronavirus (Covid-19), with open data supporting our partners to understand more about the supply of sport and physical activity across England. 

"Our goal is to ensure that everyone – regardless of your postcode, background or bank balance – has the opportunity to get active in their local area. The OpenActive investment will support us to achieve that."

Nick Pontefract

Chief strategy officer, Sport England

Louise Burke, managing director of the ODI, says the investment will help tackle inequalities that make it harder for certain groups to be active, than others. 

“The ODI is very pleased to continue delivering OpenActive and provide a much-needed service for people looking to take part in physical activity and discover the vibrant range of opportunities available in their local areas,” she explained.

“OpenActive demonstrates the importance of having open data infrastructure, and the vital role it can play in tackling inequalities, particularly in making physical activity available to underserved communities.” 

Over the next 18 months, the ODI will focus on making it easier for everyone in the sector to access and use existing open data assets, as well as creating further resources to support the sector.

They’ll also develop a long-term plan to govern open data assets, ensuring evidence of the benefits of open data infrastructure can be captured.

We’ll focus on identifying practical ways to use the data infrastructure to tackle inequalities, by working with its partners in the places where people continue to be underrepresented in physical activity.

This includes young people, the elderly, women, disabled people and people from ethnic minorities.  

Uniting the Movement identified a need for the sport and physical activity sector to have access to, and the skills to use, high-quality open data, insight and learning.

Open data about sport and physical activity opportunities are vital to support people to find them in their local area.  

Pre-pandemic, our research found it was twice as easy to order a takeaway than to find a local sport or activity class online. 

The nation’s activity levels and habits were negatively impacted by coronavirus, and while our latest Active Lives survey revealed they're showing signs of recovery, pre-existing inequalities in activity levels have widened. 

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