Active England successful in getting more people playing sport

18 Mar 2009 03:22 PM Active England, a £95 million programme funded by the National Lottery, was successful in getting nearly one and half million people participating in sport and left a sustainable legacy, a report published yesterday reveals.

The programme, funded and managed by Sport England and the Big Lottery Fund, helped hundreds of thousands of people from traditionally hard to reach communities to take up sport and physical activity. These included:
  • 578,000 women and girls
  • 217,000 people from black and ethnic minority communities
  • 173,000 people who had been inactive for the previous 12 months
  • 665,000 people from deprived communities.


The report evaluates the impact of the 241 projects funded by Active England and sets out a number of key learning points that will benefit all those delivering grassroots sport such as national governing bodies of sport (NGBs), local councils and smaller community sports groups.

The report’s findings include:

  • The funded projects levered in an additional £131 million from other sources
  • The most successful projects were led by ‘outstanding people’ – with three sets of skills essential to success
  • Outdoor and outreach projects were the most successful in driving up participation
  • 77% of the projects now have sustainable funding arrangements in place.

Coventry City Council received over £300,000 for their Active Meadowlands project which funded the construction of an outdoor multi-use games area for football, netball, tennis and other sports. The area suffered from high levels of deprivation and had no outdoor sports facilities. Local groups were fully involved in the project which included free coaching sessions and activities to attract women and girls, including mums’ netball and streetdance. Last year – Active Meadowlands won a prestigious BBC Power of Sport Award.

Judith Dean, Sport England’s Director of Communities, said:

“Active England has brought sporting opportunities to nearly one and half million people – and the focus on sustainability has ensured that these projects will go on delivering for years to come. Learning from the best examples of partnership and innovative ways of working will help us to achieve our goal of getting one million people playing and enjoying more sport.”

Sanjay Dighe, Chair of the Big Lottery Fund’s England Committee, said:

"Getting almost one and a half million people active and participating in sport goes to show the resounding success of the Active England programme. Across the country these projects have strived to make sport accessible to a diverse range of people, ensuring everyone in the community has the opportunity to enjoy physical exercise, while keeping fit and healthy.”


Notes to editors:


Active England had three main objectives:

  1. to create sustainable, innovative multi-activity environments in areas of sport, social and health deprivation
  2. to increase participation in sport and physical activity among all the sections of society but particularly those sections that are under-represented in sport and physical activity participation
  3. to ensure the sports sector and key partners adopt new ways of working.

The report published today, along with the 10 themed ‘legacy reports’ and 29 case studies, was produced by Hall Aitkin and Bearhunt and is available on the Active England Learning Zone website: www.aelz.org/index.asp

The 10 themed legacy reports bring together important Active England learning on topics such as ‘widening participation’, ‘innovation’ and ‘involving volunteers’.

Active England was a three year funded programme (2005-2008).

Sport England
Sport England is a non-departmental public body and National Lottery distributor. We are committed to creating a world-leading community sport system and increasing participation in sport. Sport England’s annual budget (lottery and exchequer) is c£250m.

Sport England’s new strategy was launched on 10 June 2008 and commits Sport England to deliver on a series of demanding targets by 2012/13:

  • one million people doing more sport
  • a 25% reduction in the number of 16-18 year-olds who drop out of five key sports
  • improved talent development systems in at least 25 sports
  • a measurable increase in people’s satisfaction with their experience of sport – the first time the organisation has set such a qualitative measure
  • a major contribution to the delivery of the five hour sports offer for children and young people

Big Lottery Fund
The Big Lottery Fund (BIG), the largest distributor of National Lottery good cause funding, is responsible for giving out half the money raised for good causes by the National Lottery.

BIG is committed to bringing real improvements to communities and the lives of people most in need and has been rolling out grants to health, education, environment and charitable causes across the UK since June 2004. The Fund was formally established by Parliament on 1 December 2006.

Since the National Lottery began in 1994, 28p from every pound spent by the public has gone to good causes. As a result, over £22 billion has now been raised and more than 300,500 grants awarded across arts, sport, heritage, charities, health, education and the environment.