Sport England has announced a major expansion of their investment into local communities across England, with £250 million earmarked to ensure those in greatest need are able to be physically active.
Research published by Sport England shows the most active place in England has almost double the physical activity levels (81%) of the least active place (43%), lifespan can vary by up to nine years depending on where someone lives, and people living in some poorer neighbourhoods are twice as likely to have a disability or health condition.
To tackle this, Sport England is expanding its Place Partners programme to see up to £190 million of National Lottery and Exchequer funding invested in up to 80-100 new places across England.
Responding to the announcement, Ali Oliver MBE, Chief Executive Officer of the Youth Sport Trust said:
“The Youth Sport Trust welcomes Sport England’s expansion of their place-based Place Partners programme. As research published today shows, there are still inequalities in access to sport and physical activity. Differences in activity levels between places re-enforces the need for new, innovative approaches which are co-created with, and empower local communities. Sport England’s investment will equip and enable local changemakers to identify relevant, needs-led solutions and work together to remove barriers to physical activity.
This approach replicates our own place-based activity, working as a Sport England system partner in some of the most deprived areas in the UK. We are using data on deprivation, childhood obesity and levels of physical activity alongside community readiness to close the gaps in participation created by inequality. We are learning every day about the systemic issues affecting participation and how to maximise the roles schools play in communities and with families.
Alongside a national commitment to universal entitlement to physical education and access to play and sport in all schools and for all children, this approach is vital to levelling the playing field. Taking part in school sport and being physically active goes beyond the physical and mental health benefits; it builds social and cultural capital, fosters belonging in safe environments, and provides access to skills that are vital for improving life chances.
Providing a core entitlement to all young people regardless of affluence or background will reduce the risk of increasing inequality, while place-based investment will respond to community specific issues and challenges.”
You can read more about this announcement and Sport England’s Place Partnership work here.