However, while many sports will celebrate their return, there remain major challenges to overcome to help restore activity levels to pre-pandemic levels.
“Some audiences are certainly finding it harder than others to be active and our insight bears this out,” added Tim. “Many will require significantly more support than ever before and we are taking decisions now to ensure these numbers don’t slide further – for example adding £20 million of extra investment into our Tackling Inequalities Fund, which focuses on specific target groups to encourage and enable them to return to activity.
“We know too that facilities are under strain, with publicly-owned leisure operators under huge financial pressures in particular and we’re continuing to work with the government to offer support as they are absolutely vital to local communities.
"We also continue to work with the sports who require high levels of physical contact and with the government so that they can return fully as soon as possible."
Today we take another giant step on the road to recovery and I am thrilled to see those indoor sports who were so badly hit by closures and restrictions getting back underway.
Chief executive, Sport England
And Tim believes that, despite all the challenges of the past year, the reopening of sport has shown there to be major opportunities to build back positively too.
“The last year has helped to cement the importance of sport and activity as being essential for our health and for bringing communities together,” he explained. “The public messaging about the importance of staying active and protecting the ability to exercise outdoors for an hour a day in the the first lockdown, was hugely important and welcome.
“There’s also been a surge in activities like cycling, running, walking and fitness-at-home, and that has made the importance of the local environment even more obvious - the better local facilities near where you live, the more likely people are to be active.
"This means the streets, the green spaces, the walking routes and cycle paths – as well as more obvious settings like leisure centres, gyms and sports pitches and courts. Improving and investing in these areas is something we are very ambitious to do as part of the delivery of our recently published long-term strategy.”
Did you know?
Indoor sports returning more fully today include squash, netball, table tennis, and badminton.
Was played by over three-quarters of a million (1.7%) adults and just under 400,000 (5.5%) children and young people pre-pandemic. It's particularly popular amongst younger adults with roughly 200,000 (3.2%) of 16-24-year-olds taking part and adults from Asian (excluding Chinese) backgrounds, with just over 80,000 (4.2%) taking part.
Was played by over 400,000 (1.0%) adults and 280,000 (4.0%) children and young people pre-pandemic. It's particularly popular amongst younger adults with roughly 120,000 (2.0%) of 16-24-year-olds taking part.
Was played by over 320,000 (0.7%) adults and just under 650,000 (9.1%) children and young people pre-pandemic. The majority of participants are women (300,000/1.3%) and girls (just under 490,000/13.9%). It's particularly popular amongst younger adults, with roughly 140,000 (2.4%) of 16-24-year-olds taking part.
Was played by roughly 300,000 (0.7%) adults and just under 15,000 (0.2%) children and young people pre-pandemic.
Gym or fitness
Was undertaken by just under 14 million (30.8%) adults and just under 850,000 (12.0%) children and young people pre-pandemic. Fitness sessions are more common amongst younger adults aged 16-24 (2.3m/37.6%), particularly gym sessions, and women (7.7m/33.3%).
All stats from our most recent Active Lives Adult Survey and Active Lives Children and Young People Survey.