Activity levels reach record high but more must be done to reach every community

Sport England has announced that activity levels were on the rise before COVID-19, but this was not the case for every community.

Responding to the latest Active Lives Adult Survey, Sport and Recreation Alliance CEO, Lisa Wainwright said:

“These statistics show the incredible work our sport and recreation members have been doing to get the nation active. It is pleasing to see that we have been able to help a record number of adults to become happier and healthier.

“By working collaboratively and celebrating high profile campaigns such as This Girl Can and We Are Undefeatable, our members have helped to increase activity levels among communities who had previously failed to connect with sport and recreation.

“Sport England’s research also highlights the positive impact physical activity and volunteering has on tackling loneliness.

“This is why we are working with government to support their new Let’s Talk Loneliness campaign. The power of being involved in sport and recreation, whether as a participant or volunteer, can have a profound impact on levels of happiness.

“Worryingly, the group most likely to experience loneliness is those aged 16-24. This is coupled with the update that the 16-34 age group have witnessed a steep drop in activity levels.

“With physical activity proven to help in this area, this must be an area of focus moving forward.

“Other areas of inequality continue to persist. Those from low socio-economic groups are 18% less likely to be active than those in the most affluent set. There also remain large differences in activity levels among different ethnic groups.

“This is why the Alliance wants to see school facilities opened outside of school hours. Making local, familiar facilities of a good standard available will increase opportunities and encourage communities to be active.

“As a sector, we believe in removing the barriers that stop people from accessing activity and this is one way in which we can provide support on the doorstep of every city, town and village across the country.

“The biggest challenge at the moment is undoubtedly that of COVID-19. It has been sharply felt by the sector, but it has also allowed us to innovate, evolve and grow the products on offer. It has allowed us to re-think the audiences we connect with and how we deliver to them.

“Alliance members have been leading the way, and our continued response as a sector will provide us the opportunity to strengthen our voice as we demonstrate the pivotal role of sport and recreation in society.

“Remaining fit and healthy has rarely been in such sharp focus and with the appropriate support from central government and external partners, we hope to see activity levels increase for every section of our community over the next 12 months.”

You can read the Sport England and the latest Active Lives Adult Survey here.