Sport and recreation in the UK – facts and figures

We use facts and figures on a daily basis to shape our policy work and our arguments.

Please click on a title below to find a range of information relating to the current status of sport and recreation in the UK and the wider social and economic impact sport and recreation can have.

For references to the facts and figures below please download a copy of Sport in the UK – Facts and Figures. (Last updated January 2014).

Economy/finance/funding

  • Over £264 million of National Lottery, Exchequer and Team 2012 funding UK Sport will have been invested in Olympic sports during the London Olympiad (2009-13).
  • Over £48 million of National Lottery, Exchequer and Team 2012 funding UK Sport will have been invested in Paralympic sports during the London Olympiad (2009-13).
  • £125,000 has been awarded in research funding since 2008 through UK Sport’s Ideas4Innovation, driving projects to make a difference to the future of British Olympic and Paralympic sport.
  • 438 Olympic and Paralympic medals have been won by British athletes since the introduction of National Lottery funding in 1997.
  • Since 2009 the British horseracing industry’s core employment has reduced but still stands at c.17,400 full time equivalents, made up of over 20,000 full time, part time and raceday posts. Further activity within the economy as a result of the racing industry sustains another 29,000 jobs.
  • British Racing generated over £275m in tax revenues for the Exchequer in 2012 and over £1.4 billion in the last five years.
  • Betting on racing provides the largest proportion of tax generated for the Government at around £100m in 2012. This has fallen sharply from over £150m per annum earlier in the decade, in part as betting on racing has migrated to remote means.
  • British Racing generated an estimated £3.45 billion in direct, indirect and induced expenditure in 2012 (up marginally from £3.41 billion in 2008).
  • Racing received £175m from betting operators in 2012 through the statutory 10.75% levy applied to the profits on British Racing from British betting operators and an agreed contractual contribution by Betfair, both par to the Horseracing Betting Levy Board. Levy receipts have fallen considerably over the last five years and now represent less than 7% of the total inflows to the industry.
  • Player transfer spending by Premier League football clubs in the summer 2013 transfer window was a record. Gross spending totalled £630 million, 29% up on the equivalent 2012 figure of £490 million and £130 million more than the previous record of £500 million set in 2008.
  • In 1991/2 the 22 clubs of the then Football League First Division had collective revenue of £170m – in 2011/12 the revenue of the 20 Premier League clubs was almost 14 times greater at over £2.3 billion, while five clubs each generated revenue greater than that of the entire First Division 20 years previously.
  • For the 2011/2012 season the total revenue for Premier League clubs totalled £2,360m. They ranged from £320m (Manchester United) to £53m (Wigan Athletic) per club.
  • In 2011/12 the total revenues of the 92 clubs in the top four divisions of English football exceeded £3 billion for the first time.
  • The Premier League’s live domestic rights have been sold for over £1 billion per season, a staggering increase of almost 70% in value, and when all media rights are included the total value is around £5.5 billion over the deals’ three season duration.
  • The Premier League is one of the world’s strongest football leagues in commercial terms – overall its clubs are likely to see a £600m increase in revenues to over £3 billion in 2013/14. With a gap of 1 billion euros over the second placed Bundesliga in 2011/12, the Premier League retains its status as the football world’s leading revenue generating club competition, with the clubs’ revenue growing 16% (as measured in euros, and up 4% measured in sterling).
  • Wage costs have consumed 83% of Premier League clubs’ revenue growth since 2006/07 and the wages to revenue ratio has reached 70%, while operating margins are now only 4% and are forecast to narrow even further in 2012/13.
  • £1.3 billion in tax was contributed by English professional football to the Government in 2011/12.
  • English football clubs have maintained strong investment in facilities for the longer term benefit of the game, with more than £150m invested in facilities in every one of the 15 seasons since 1997/98. Capital investment over the 20 seasons to 2011/12 has included the building of 29 new club stadia across the four divisions with a combined capacity (when opened) of c.670,000, numerous stadia redevelopments and investment in player training facilities.
  • Many of Europe’s leading football clubs are burdened with massive debts – only 20% of them are turning a profit.
  • Global sports market revenues are projected to rise at a compound annual growth rate of 3.7% from US$121.4 billion in 2010 to US$145.3 billion in 2015.
  • Global gate revenues are projected to rise at a compound annual growth rate of 2.5% from US$39.6 billion in 2010 to US$44.7 billion in 2015. Stripping out the effect of major events, growth in ongoing events will be slightly faster at 2.7% compounded annually.
  • Global revenues from sports sponsorship are projected to increase from US$35 billion in 2010 to US$45.3 billion in 2015, a 5.3% compound annual increase. Stripping out major events, growth in sponsorships for ongoing events will average 6.4% compounded annually.
  • Global revenues from media rights fees are projected to rise at a 3.8% compound annual rate from US$29.2 billion in 2010 to US$35.2 billion in 2015. Stripping out major events, growth for ongoing events will be much faster at 6.6% on a compound annual basis.
  • Every one pound awarded by the Football Foundation generates £7.73 to the wider UK economy through a combination of indirect spending in the supply chain and increased consumer spending from incomes received.
  • Central government expenditure on sport and recreation was £1.3 billion for the fiscal year 2012.
  • In 2008 central government made a net surplus of £5.7 billion from sport. For every £1 the Government contributes to sport, £5 is taken in tax.
  • In the financial year 2009/2010, Sport England received a total of £263.2m funding. This consisted of £126.9m from the National Lottery (compared to £128.8m in 2008/2009) and £134.4m of Exchequer or grant-in-aid funding.
  • Sport England’s grant in aid (Exchequer) funding for 2011-2015 is:

          2011/12 - £95 million

          2012/13 - £94 million

          2013/14 - £88 million

          2014/15 - £86 million.

  • Sport England made a £1.7 million two-year investment into the Women’s Sport and Fitness Foundation (WSFF) to help get more women involved in sport.
  • Consumer spend on sport in England was estimated to be £20.3 billion in 2010 with more (£11.78 billion) spent on participation than on consumption (£8.5 billion).
  • The number of people with sport-related jobs is estimated to have reached 440,000 – that’s 2.3% of all employment in England.
  • The economic value of sports volunteering in England is estimated to be £2.7 billion a year –this is what it would cost to employ full time workers to carry out the work of sports volunteers, based on the median hourly wage.

Infographic volunteers

  • It is estimated that for every £1 of National Lottery funding invested into major sporting events, an average of £4.90 of additional direct economic impact is generated for the host city and region.
  • The 2011 British Grand Prix contributed an estimated £14 million to Treasury through VAT on ticket sales. Wimbledon, as the most attended sporting event of 2011 made the next highest VAT contribution to Treasury at an estimated £4 million. Looking at the levels of attendance for all of the top 10 paid sporting events combined, by hosting these in the UK, the Treasury receives an estimated £30 million in VAT.
  • In total, cycling contributes £2.9 billion to UK economy, this equates to £230 per cyclist per annum.
  • Regular cyclists take one sick-day less per year, which saves the economy £128 million per year in absenteeism.
  • A 20 per cent increase in cycling levels by 2015 would save Britain's economy £207 million in reduced traffic congestion and £71 million in lower pollution levels.
  • Halfords, the UK’s largest cycle retailer, reported a 5.7% increase in like-for-like sales from cycling in the first quarter of 2012, driven by Premium and Children’s Bikes. Preceding this, Tesco reported a 130% increase in bicycle sales following the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Team GB’s medal success and the ‘feel-good’ factor that ensued thereafter as the London 2012 Games approached.
  • Evans Cycles, one of the UK’s largest bike chains reported a 35% surge in sales and website traffic following Bradley Wiggins’ Tour de France win in the lead up to the Olympics, citing sports cyclists as being responsible for the biggest increase in bike sales in the £700-2,000 range.
  • The UK cycle tourism market was worth an estimated £635m per annum in 1997, with no accurate figures appearing to exist subsequently. This figure is now likely to be over £1 billion, with estimates that by 2019 the European cycle tourism market could be worth £20 billion a year.
  • Sports admissions, leisure class fees and equipment hire cost the average household £6.70 per week.
  • It is estimated that shooters spend £2 billion a year on goods and services. This produces a direct financial benefit to the UK – defined as gross value added – of £1.6 billion a year.
  • Every £1 invested in an adventure playground generates £1.32 in social benefits.
  • The estimated value of the long-term benefits of improved physical activity for all children attending an adventure playground is £0.31 million. The estimated value of the long-term benefits of increased social play and associated improvement in educational outcomes for all children attending an adventure playground is £2.49 million.

Major events

  • 41 out of 46 of Britain’s summer Olympic and Paralympic sports will have staged at least one major World or European level competition on home soil in the six years preceding the 2012 Games.
  • Attendances at professional sports events in the UK reached 75 million in 2012. The British public’s appetite for attending sporting events, in absolute terms and relative to its population size, is unmatched anywhere in the world.
  • In 2012 sport dominated the list of most watched television programmes. 20 million people watched Usain Bolt win the Olympic 100 metres in London, while there were over six million viewers of Jonnie Peacock’s victory in the T44 100 metres at the Paralympic Games.
  • It is estimated that for every £1 of National Lottery funding invested into major sporting events, an average of £4.90 of additional direct economic impact is generated for the host city and region.
  • The 2011 British Grand Prix contributed an estimated £14 million to Treasury through VAT on ticket sales. Wimbledon, as the most attended sporting event of 2011 made the next highest VAT contribution to Treasury at an estimated £4 million. Looking at the levels of attendance for all of the top ten paid sporting events combined, by hosting these in the UK, the Treasury receives an estimated £30 million in VAT.
  • In 2010 the London Marathon generated £110.1m of economic activity in the UK, and a further £31.7m via spending in the capital by marathon runners, spectators, organisers and visitors.
  • An estimated £17 billion was spent during visits to the natural environment during 2010/11.
  • Attendances at horseracing events grew to a modern era record of 6.15m in 2011 prior to the dampening impact of the British summer weather in 2012. Racing remains comfortably the best attended sport in Britain after football.
  • The Grand National is consistently placed in the top ten most viewed sports events in any given year. A peak audience of 8.9m viewers watched the first Grand National to be televised on Channel 4 in 2013.

Physical health

  • The Chief Medical Officers in all four home countries state that physical activity can reduce the prevalence of conditions including diabetes, cancer, coronary heart disease, obesity, stroke and musculoskeletal conditions by up to 50%.
  • Burning 2000kcal per week reduces coronary mortality by between a quarter and a third, while for every 500kcal of energy spent per week your likelihood of type 2 diabetes is 6% less.
  • Exercising for just 15 minutes a day can increase your life expectancy by three years compared with doing little or no exercise. Those who exercised for an average of 92 minutes per week had a 14% overall reduced risk of mortality and a 10% reduced risk of cancer compared with people in the "inactive" group. Every additional 15 minutes of exercise above and beyond the minimum amount further reduced mortality risks by 4% and risks of death from cancers by 1%. Individuals who were inactive had a 17% increased risk of mortality compared with individuals in the low-volume group.
  • Middle aged women who do less than 1 hour of exercise per week are twice as likely to die from cardiovascular disease and 29% more likely to die from cancer than physically active women of the same age.
  • There was a marked increase in the proportion of adults that were obese from 13% in 1993 to 24% in 2011 for men and from 16% to 26% for women.
  • In 2011 around three in ten boys and girls (aged 2-15) were classed as either overweight or obese (31% and 28% respectively).
  • In 2011 obese adults (aged 16 and over) were more likely to have high blood pressure than those in the normal weight group. High blood pressure was recorded in 53% of men and 44% of women in the obese group and in 16% of men and 14% of women in the normal weight group.
  • Over the period 2001/02-2011/12 in almost every year more than twice as many females than males were admitted to hospital with a primary diagnosis of obesity.
  • North East Strategic Health Authority (SHA) had the highest rate of admissions with a primary diagnosis of obesity (56 admissions per 100,000 population). East of England SHA had the lowest rate (12 admissions per 100,000 population).
  • In 2011 there were 0.9 million prescription items dispensed for the treatment of obesity – a 19% decrease on the previous year.
  • Lack of physical activity is the fourth most important risk factor worldwide for chronic, non-communicable diseases, after tobacco use, raised blood pressure and hyperglycaemia (raised blood sugar).
  • Regular physical activity reduces the incidence of ischaemic heart disease and stroke and reduces long-term blood pressure in both those with raised and with normal blood pressure.

Infographic physical and mental health

  • In 2012 the best estimate was that 61% of adults (66% of men and 56% of women) met the new guidelines for moderate/vigorous physical activity.
  • Studies consistently identify that only a minority of young people meet the Chief Medical Officer’s guideline for physical activity. The proportion meeting the guideline declines with age, most notably among girls.
  • A common gene called FTO is associated with a 20-30 per cent increased risk of obesity, research found that the effect of this gene was reduced by 27 per cent in people classed as physically active compared with their physically inactive counterparts.
  • By 2025 it is estimated that 47% of men and 36% of women will be obese.
  • The long-term costs of obesity in England are £588-686 million per annum.
  • A recent analysis of current trends of adult obesity in the UK projected the medical costs associated with treating obesity-related diseases to be £648 million annually in 2020 and rising to £1.9-2 billion per year in 2030.
  • The long-term annual health costs associated with treating each obese child growing up to be an obese adult are £585-683 per child.
  • In the time it takes Usain Bolt to run 100 metres (9.58 seconds), the NHS spends around £10,000 on tackling preventable ill health. In 9.58 seconds the NHS spends £1,548 on tackling obesity, £2,740 on diabetes, £4,370 on cardiovascular disease, £880 on depression and anxiety disorders and £571 on tackling dementia.
  • While, year on year, children are entering reception classes weighing less, children are leaving primary school weighing more.
  • Around 12.5% of toddlers are obese.
  • Child obesity is linked to poorer health outcomes in adulthood. Between 50-75% of those who are obese as children or adolescents are likely to grow into obese adults. Comorbidities developed in obese children, such as type 2 diabetes, are likely to progress more rapidly and to lead to earlier presentation of adult-life complications such as cardiovascular disease.
  • 31% of school pupils in 2012 aged 11-15 who reported having a long-term illness, disability or medical condition felt it impacted negatively on their ability to participate in education.
  • People who do strenuous physical activity during their leisure time have a decreased risk of hospitalisation due to severe back disorders compared to people who do no strenuous activity.

Mental health

  • 1 in 6 people experience a mental health problem every day and there is a staggering cost of £105.2 billion a year to the economy from mental ill health. NHS and social care costs are over £21 billion a year whilst sick leave absence and unemployment costs are as high as £30 billion a year.
  • Physical activity in natural environments is associated with a reduction in the risk of poor mental health to a greater extent than physical activity in other environments.
  • Annual short-term costs of emotional, conduct and hyperkinetic mental health disorders among children aged 5-15 in the UK are estimated to be £1.58 billion and the long-term costs £2.35 billion.
  • 75% of adult mental health problems begin before age 18.
  • Mental illness is the single largest cause of disability in the UK; one in four people will experience a mental illness in their lifetime.
  • There is also a strong relationship between mental ill health and physical ill health. People with long-term illnesses such as diabetes or hypertension have double the rate of depression in comparison to the general population, and where people have two or more long term physical illnesses the chance of depression is an alarming seven times higher. Furthermore, mental ill health increases the risk of physical ill health. For adults, depression doubles the risk of coronary heart disease and leads to a 50% increase in the risk of mortality.
  • Obesity and mental health have a two way relationship: obese people have a 55% increased risk of developing depression over time when compared to people of a healthy weight, and people with depression have a 58% increased risk of becoming obese.
  • Obese children are also more likely than non-obese children to experience psychological or psychiatric problems including low self-esteem, depression, conduct disorders and reduced school performance and social functioning.
  • Physical activity is as effective as medication in treating depression; a 16 week study of 202 men and women found that 45% of patients diagnosed with major depression no longer met the criteria for depression after exercising three times a week in a supervised group setting. This is on a par with the 47% of patients who no longer met the criteria after taking anti-depressants.
  • Regular exercise can reduce the risk of dementia by up to a third through increased cognitive function, improved memory and better maintenance of brain connectivity.
  • Regular physical activity improves cognitive function in older people with and without existing impairment, reduces anxiety and improves mental wellbeing.

Sports volunteering

Infographic volunteers

  • In April to December 2012, 23.8% of adults in England had volunteered and 19.2% of these volunteered in sport.
  • Nearly 2 million adults (1,914,300) in England contribute at least one hour a week to volunteering in sport.
  • The economic value of sports volunteering in England is estimated to be just under £2 billion a year – this is what it would cost to employ full time workers to carry out the work of sports volunteers, based on the median hourly wage.
  • 87% of employers believe volunteering can have a positive effect on career progression whilst 97% of volunteering organisations have experienced this happening. Employers identify communication and teamwork as the most important skills for employment (average scores of 8.8 and 8.6 out of 10 respectively). 88% of employers believe that both of these skills can be developed through volunteering.
  • The partnership between Prostate Cancer UK and The Football League contributed to an overall 50% increase in brand awareness for the charity over the 2012/13 season. The partnership also attracted around 1,000 volunteers to assist with the campaign during the season and continues to raise funding for research.
  • From a sample of 3,000 employers across the UK, it was found that four out of five (80%) employers value volunteering on a CV.

Social cohesion

  • Four in five (81%) sports club members say they make friends through their exercising compared to just 14% of fitness centre users.
  • Physical activity programmes at work can reduce absenteeism by up to 20%.

Infographic social cohesion and exclusion

  • Seven in ten people (71%) say the performance of Team GB affects their national pride, whilst six in ten (58%) people state they take pride in British sporting achievements more generally.
  • Sports club members in the UK are more likely than non-members to be politically engaged, meet socially with friends and have trust in civil institutions. Membership of a sports club in the UK has an equivalent effect on life satisfaction and happiness as moving up approximately one and a half household income categories – around £3,600.

Crime and anti-social behaviour

  • Seven out of ten teenagers believe antisocial behaviour occurs because young people are bored.
  • Thirty eight per cent of people believe that the Government’s main priority for sport funding should be targeted at using sport to reduce crime and improve education.
  • Strengthening attachments in communities and reducing social inequalities are particularly important mechanisms for preventing violence and offending.

Infographic crime and antisocial behaviour

  • It is estimated that in 2009-2010 the 201,800 criminal offences committed by young people (aged between ten and 17 years old) cost the country between £8.5 billion and £11 billion.
  • The Kickz programme uses football to work with hard to reach young people in deprived areas across the UK. Analysis of Kickz in Elthorne Park (North London) found that every £1 invested in the programme generated £7 of value for the state and local community, largely by reducing youth and gang violence.
  • 2nd Chance uses sports coaching to help young offenders build relationships, improve behaviour, obtain sports qualifications and receive guidance from mentors once released. If just five of the 400 young people they work with each year are prevented from re-offending the value for every £1 invested is £4.70. It is estimated that the cost to society and services of one offender at this institute is £80,000 per year. At a running cost of £87,000 per year, 2nd Chance demonstrates the significant value in investing in sports provision for prevention of crime.

Participation

  • In 2011/12 15.5 million adults participated in sport at least once a week for thirty minutes at a moderate intensity. This equated to 36% of adults (41% of men and 31% of women).
  • Accelerometer data shows that people are much less active than they think they are. According to objective data collected by the National Obesity Observatory only 6% of men and 4% of women actually met the government’s physical activity recommendations.

Infographic activity levels accelerometer data

  • In 2011 43% of 5-16 year olds’ main method of getting to and from school was walking, while the main method for 33% of this age group was being driven to school in a car/van. Just 2% used a bike to travel to school as their main mode of transport.
  • In 2011/12 80% of 5-15 year old children reported that they had done some form of competitive sport in the last 12 months. Over three quarters (77%) had taken part in a competitive sport in school whilst 37% had taken part outside of school.
  • One quarter of respondents in the survey indicated that they were more likely to take a UK cycling holiday as a result of the London 2012 Games.
  • Immediately following the 2012 Olympic Games 52% of respondents indicated that they were motivated to cycle as a result of the achievements of Team GB.
  • The largest influence of the Olympics has been indicated amongst social riding and occasional rides for light exercise. The latter reflected an increase of almost 30% in cyclists motivated to undertake the activity, whilst the potential for social cycling increased by 11%.
  • British Cycling has doubled its membership in the past five years alone to 50,000, whilst ‘sportives’, weekend cycling races, have increased by 900% since 2002 to over 300 a year. The success of mass participation programmes such as Sky Ride has continued, with 200,000 people taking part in major city events and 835 local events in 2011. 700,000 new people are now riding their bikes once a month as a result of the British Cycling and Sky partnership since 2008.
  • British Cycling estimates that participation in cycling has increased by 20% since the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, with over 200,000 people with a disability cycling at least once per week.
  • Since 2005/06, the proportion of 16-24 year olds participating in sport has decreased (down from 76.8% to 72.1%), while the proportion of people aged 75+ participating has increased (up from 15.2% to 19.9%).
  • 15.3 million adults (16+) in England participate in moderate intensity level sport at least once a week for 30 minutes or more.
  • 7.3 million adults (16+) in England participate in moderate intensity level sport at least three times a week for 30 minutes or more, as recommended by the Government.
  • 54.7 per cent of 16-25 year olds participated in sport once a week for 30 minutes or more.
  • 31.4 per cent of adults 26 years or older participate in sport once a week for 30 minutes or more.
  • 40.1 per cent of men (16+) and 30.5 per cent of women (16+) in England participate in moderate intensity level sport at least once a week.
  • Young people who participate in sport every day are twice as likely to have high levels of happiness than those who participate in sport on two or fewer days a week.

Sports clubs

  • There are an estimated 151,000 sports clubs in the UK.
  • Average club surplus since over the two years from 2010 to 2012 has increased by 67% and is now £1,825. Positive as this is, average club surplus remains 39% lower than it was in 2007 and nearly nine in ten clubs (84%) have been actively trying to reduce expenditure or increase income in the last year.

Infographic club finances

  • As in 2010, just under half of UK clubs (48%) are running at a surplus but encouraging the number of clubs breaking even has risen from 23% to 28% whilst those at a deficit have dropped from 28% to 24%.
  • Since 2009 club income has risen for three years in a row – the average club now has an income of £42,845. However, over the two years from 2010 to 2012 expenditure has grown at broadly the same rate as income, now standing at £40,824.
  • Over the past two years expenditure has grown at broadly the same rate as income with average club expenditure at £40,824 in 2012, an increase of £4,462 on 2011 and an increase of £6,239 (18%) on 2010. However, looking at the picture over the last five years to 2012, income has increased by 6% while expenditure has increased by 14%, showing that clubs are still not as financially healthy as they were in 2007 before the UK economic recession.
  • Around one third of clubs (34%) said that in the last year they had taken the measure of increasing membership fees in order to increase club income. At the average club the annual membership fee for adult participating members in 2013 is £78. This is an increase of £5 (7%) on 2012 when the fee was £73.
  • Clubs hire and lease from a variety of providers, the most common of which is the local authority from which half (53%) of clubs which hire or lease their facility do so. Across all clubs, this amounts to more than one third (38%) which are reliant on their local authority as a facility provider. The other main providers are schools (33%), private operators (21%) and trusts or charities (12%).

Infographic club equipment

  • Almost one in ten clubs (8%) lack access to appropriate equipment for members to participate fully in their activity. Only one in three (35%) UK sports clubs has access to appropriate equipment for both disabled and non-disabled people to participate.
  • One in three clubs (32%) would like training in how to provide for disabled people. Additional areas that clubs would like training and support in are recruiting club members (55%), recruiting volunteers (46%) and marketing (45%).
  • In 2011, the average club had 68 adult participating members. This has increased by a considerable 20.6% to 82 adult participating members in 2013.
  • Forty nine per cent of all clubs hire a facility – with the average club that hires spending £5,224 on doing so in 2012. This represents an increase of £231 on 2011 when the average club spent £4,993 on hiring. Nearly one in three clubs (31%) say that their facility hire costs have remained fairly constant in the past two years, against the rising costs experienced elsewhere in the economy.
  • More than half (58%) of sports clubs say they have one or more link with schools in their local community, with almost nine in ten (88%) of these links reported to be successful. For the majority of sports clubs, school links are important for recruiting members and developing the physical skills of young people.
  • Forty six per cent of clubs say they have a good or very good relationship with their local authority and 34% state that it is average. Amongst clubs which hire a facility from their local authority they are slightly more positive about the relationship with 49% of these clubs stating the relationship is good or very good.
  • Fifteen per cent of clubs state that over the last 12 months they have carried out less maintenance to their playing or training facilities in order to reduce expenditure, and 11% have reduced the maintenance on their infrastructure facilities.
  • Mid-sized and larger clubs are more likely to see accessing funding as a challenge in the next two years, with 60% and 65% respectively stating this compared to 43% of smaller clubs. Almost three in five large clubs (59%) see income generation as a challenge, as do more than half of mid-sized clubs (54%) whilst 42% of small clubs voice this concern.
  • Despite concerns around increasing facility costs and a lack of coaches, around half of our sports clubs are optimistic about being able to improve their facilities (54%) and train or develop their coaches, staff or volunteers (49%) in the next two years.
  • Forty nine percent of clubs state that in the last year they have increased their fundraising efforts and 45% reporting that they have applied for more funding in the last 12 months in order to try and increase club income. In addition, 44% of clubs report that they have been actively seeking to recruit new members.

Infographic club facilities

  • A third (34%) of clubs which use a combination of facilities are worried about having access to the facilities they require in the next two years. Three in ten (29%) clubs which hire, short term lease or access public space are also worried about having access to the facilities they require in the next two years.
  • Sports club members in the UK are more likely than non-members to be politically engaged, meet socially with friends and have trust in civil institutions. Membership of a sports club in the UK has an equivalent effect on life satisfaction and happiness as moving up approximately one and a half household income categories – around £3,600.

Facilities

  • Children’s access to nature has declined dramatically – fewer than 25% of children use their local ‘patch of nature’ compared with over 50% of their parents. As children, 70% of adults enjoyed most of their adventures in natural outdoor environments compared with only 29% of children today.
  • The VisitWoods project estimates that the NHS could save £2.1 billion a year if everyone had access to green spaces. Currently it has been estimated that only 14% of the UK’s population has ‘easy access to trees.’ Where easy access is defined as within 500m of their home.
  • Of the 42.4 million adults (16+) resident in England who took 2.85 billion visits to the natural environment during 2012/13: 47% were to the countryside and 43% were to the green spaces within cities and towns.

Infographic green space provision children outdoor recreation

  • Between November and April when daylight is shorter illuminating outdoor courts adds 35% more playing time. An outdoor floodlit court can provide 3,500 playing hours a year compared to 2,500 playing hours from an outdoor non floodlit court (these figures are with an allowance of 35% for bad weather).
  • Over 90% of the population live within two miles of a waterway.
  • Only 8% of the rivers in England are available for public access.
  • There have been 226 applications for the sale of school playing fields for development approved in the last 13 years that involve the sale of a school playing field. Of these 112 were in respect of closed schools where the playing field was not needed by any other local school.
  • Those with good access to large attractive open spaces are 50% more likely to achieve high levels of walking.
  • The provision of green space for physical activity could save 1,063 lives a year.

School sport

  • In an online survey which took place between March-April 2013 and covered over 1,000 respondents, over two thirds (68%) of School Games Organisers and School Sport Partnership staff surveyed reported a decrease in sports participation since ring-fenced funding for School Sport Partnerships ended in 2011.
  • In an online survey which took place between March-April 2013 and covered over 1,000 respondents, a third of primary and secondary school teachers (34% and 35% respectively) reported that there had been a decrease in participation in sport since ring-fenced funding for School Sport Partnerships ended in 2011.
  • In an online survey which took place between March-April 2013 and covered over 1,000 respondents, Sports Games Organisers and School Sport Partnership staff were asked whether they preferred the former system (ring-fenced funding of School Sport Partnerships) to the new one (PE Teacher Release, non-ring-fenced funding for School Sport Partnerships and School Games) – 88% stated the old system was better.
  • In an online survey which took place between March-April 2013 and covered over 1,000 respondents, 36% of primary school teachers reported a worsening of sport in their school under the new funding system, 48% said it had stayed the same and 16% said it had improved.
  • In an online survey which took place between March-April 2013 and covered over 1,000 respondents, 37% of secondary school teachers reported a worsening of sport in their school under the new funding system, 55% said it had stayed the same and 8% said it had improved.
  • In an online survey which took place between March-April 2013 and covered over 1,000 respondents, 68% and 58% of primary school and secondary school staff respectively reported that only some or none of the funding was being used to release teachers, which suggests that there has been a significant loss of funding channelled into school sport under the new system.
  • In an online survey which took place between March-April 2013 and covered over 1,000 respondents, 28% of primary school teachers and 34% of secondary school teachers reported that they were no longer part of a School Sport Partnership. Two thirds (64%) of School Games Organisers and School Sport Partnership staff who’s School Sport Partnership had continued reported that at least one school which previously was a member of the retained School Sport Partnership had left.
  • In an online survey which took place between March-April 2013 and covered over 1,000 respondents including primary and secondary school teachers, School Games Organisers and School Sports Partnership staff, over 90% said they believe that non-competitive physical activities must be encouraged alongside competitive activities in schools. Only 47% believed that a strategy focussed on competitive sport will inspire inactive children to engage in sport and PE.
  • In an online survey which took place between March-April 2013 and covered over 1,000 respondents including primary and secondary school teachers, School Games Organisers and School Sports Partnership staff, 97% agreed that schools should have a minimum target of two hours PE and sport a week.
  • In an online survey which took place between March-April 2013 and covered over 1,000 respondents including primary and secondary school teachers, School Games Organisers and School Sports Partnership staff, 69% agreed that schools should be required to monitor participation and make the information available to parents.
  • By 1 August 2012 8,341 schools, with 3.85 million eligible students, were participating in the School Games. In 2011/2012 there was £50.8 million of public funding announced for the School Games. This equates to an average public sector cost of £13.20 per eligible student at schools participating in the School Games in 2011/2012.
  • In March 2013 the Government announced a ring-fenced £150 million-a-year funding stream for primary school sport. Under the funding a typical primary school with 250 primary aged pupils would receive £9,250 per year. This is the equivalent of around two days a week of a primary teacher.
  • 32% of pupils in years 2-13 participate in community sports, dance and/or multi skill clubs that have links to the school. This equates to 2.4 million participants.
  • Physical activity positively affects cognition in children. Being physically active releases hormones, neurotransmitters and a protein responsible for learning, memory and higher thinking. Sport and recreation can also lead to increased self-esteem and the development of motivation and determination – these skills are useful for acquiring new information for passing exams.
  • A 12 week study with 243 schoolchildren aged nine-ten years old found that daily ten minute physical activity breaks significantly increased on-task behaviour by 8% on average, and that the average was a much higher 20% for the least on-task pupils, whilst those who took a ten minute break without being physically active demonstrated a 3% reduction in on-task behaviour.
  • Team sports and outdoor adventure activities are perceived by employers to foster desirable skills and demonstrate outgoing personalities, and more unusual activities have the advantage of catching a prospective employer’s attention and demonstrating a passion for life.

Infographic employment and education

London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games

  • The Olympics and Paralympics have made more than half of people abroad think more positively about how the UK views disability (56%) and the UK’s sporting prowess (52%).
  • In 2011 39.7% of the UK population are strongly supportive of the Games – this is a significant decrease from 2005/2006 when 48.4% felt this way. In the same time period, the proportion of those who are slightly supportive has increased to 24.9% from 22.5%.
  • 6.9% of adults reported that they were motivated to do more sport or recreational physical activity as a result of the UK winning the bid for the 2012 Olympics. 5.8% reported that they were motivated to do more voluntary work (between October 2010 and September 2011).
  • 85.6% of adults intend to follow the London 2012 Olympic or Paralympic Games – with 1 in 4 adults (25.3%) actively getting involved in the Games.
  • 75p in every £1 spent on the Olympic build was invested in regeneration.
  • The overall funding package for the Olympic Games is £9.298 billion.
  • 84% of sports clubs do not see the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games as an opportunity.
  • Only 2% of clubs believe that the Government has done everything it can to help community sport create a legacy of participation whilst one in five (19%) says it has done nothing and a further 54% say it has done only a little to help community sport create a legacy of participation. This means that three in four clubs (73%) do not feel that the Government has done enough to help community sport create a legacy of participation.
  • Two thirds of clubs (66%) do not feel that they have benefited from the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. More than half (59%) of the clubs who felt they hadn’t benefited from the Games were not Olympic or Paralympic sports.
  • For the one in three clubs (34%) who said that they had benefited from the Olympic and Paralympic Games, this was primarily as a result of increased interest and new members, including the return of lapsed members. More than four in five (85%) of the clubs who have felt a benefit from the Games have seen an increase in enquiries from people wanting to take part and in the majority of cases (78%) these have translated into new members joining the club. Over a third (35%) have also had an increase in the number of people volunteering.
  • Clubs report a new wave of inspiration amongst both existing participants and new joiners and greater understanding of their sport amongst the general population.
  • Just under half of clubs (46%) expect to see more funding being made available to grassroots clubs and the same amount expect to see increased media coverage of disability sport and women in sport following the Games.
  • Across all sports clubs in the UK, two in five (42%) say that they have seen an increase in the number of people joining their club since the Games this year. A quarter (26%) of these clubs are struggling to meet this demand as a result of factors such as insufficient facility access, not enough volunteers or a lack of equipment.
  • 240,000 people registered their interest to volunteer at the Games; 70,000 volunteers were selected.
  • Three quarters of clubs (78%) have noticed no change in the number of people volunteering following the Games, and a startling 96% have noticed no change in the number of disabled people volunteering at their clubs. However, whilst 22% of clubs experiencing an increase in the number of volunteers does not sound like a huge proportion, there are thought to be around 150,000 sports clubs in the UK, therefore even if just one new volunteer joined each of the 22% of clubs it would equate to 33,000 new volunteers to the sector.
  • One million hours of training and eight million volunteer hours were delivered by the Games Makers.

Local Authorities

  • By the end of this Parliament, funding for local council services, including sport and leisure services, will have fallen by £20 billion – a cut of 43%.
  • Over the course of the 2012-2013 spending review, local government received a 28% reduction in resource.
  • The average across the most deprived 20% of councils is a reduction of £8 per head.
  • According to the DCMS website, 'Local government is crucial in achieving our key cultural service delivery aims. It spends twice as much on providing cultural and sporting opportunities for communities as DCMS and the National Lottery combined'.
  • In 2009/10, Local Government net spend on culture and sport services was £3.46 billion (it was £3.32 billion in 2007-08).
  • Excluding the Olympics the 2010/11 Central Government spent on sport was £0.314bn (incidentally this is less than 0.001% of total spend). In 2010/11, central government spent £0.193bn on sport generally (-13.4% after inflation than in 2009/10), £0.121bn on sport England (-12.3% after inflation than in 2009/10) and £0.362bn on the Olympics (-12.7%).
  • In 2011 the LGA surveyed 349 local authorities about their budgets for 2011/12, although only 131 responded. 13% of local authorities said sports and leisure facilities would be targeted for proportionally greater savings in 2011/12 –this makes it the 6th area being most targeted, out of a list of 23 [based on answers from 102 authorities]. In addition only 4% of authorities said that their councillors are seeking to protect sport and leisure facilities in 2012 –this makes it 16th on the list out of 23, with children’s social care and adult social care at the top, 63% and 57% respectively [again answers based on 102 authorities].
  • Money to fund local council services will have shrunk by 90% in cash terms in 2020 if the current budget restriction continues. The overall gap between income and spending is estimated to be around £1.4 billion in 2013/14 and over £16.5 billion in 2019/20.

Infographic local authority funding

For references to all the facts and figures above please download a copy of Sport in the UK – Facts and Figures.

Got an interesting statistic from the sport and recreation sector? We update this page periodically so we're always happy to receive facts and figures – please send them with a reference to pcoyne@sportandrecreation.org.uk.

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