Sports bodies are being helped to use innovative, non-traditional or digital ideas to drive participation thanks to a £6.5 million investment of National Lottery funding.
The money comes as part of our £35m commitment to creating a lasting national impact from the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games and will be split between the 21 national governing bodies involved in the Games.
With a focus on improving participation rates in areas of England where activity levels are the lowest, the fund is aimed at helping governing bodies to develop accessible opportunities to engage with disadvantaged communities.
Each governing body will receive up to £500,000, enabling people from all backgrounds to take part in sport and physical activity, with our chief executive Tim Hollingsworth excited by the opportunity the funding brings.
“To deliver long-term community impact from the Commonwealth Games, we have to listen to what people need, try out new and different ideas, and support our partners who know what works at a grassroots level for their community,” he said.
“Lasting impact depends on the creation of long-term, inclusive and local opportunities for people to get active, and tackling the inequalities that make it harder for some groups to take part in sport and activity.
“Today’s funding is an opportunity for us to work innovatively with sports to build a national activity legacy, targeting the people and areas who need the most support to get active.”
Our latest Active Lives Survey shows affluence and activity levels are closely linked, with 52.3% of the least affluent people meeting the Chief Medical Officer’s recommendation of 150 minutes of activity a week, compared to 71.2% for the most affluent.
It also showed a link between where you live and your activity levels, demonstrating why targeted investments is vital to break down the barriers to getting active.
This fund will focus on areas in Birmingham and the West Midlands, in addition to parts of London, Manchester and Bristol, where inequalities mean activity levels are often below the national average.
And for Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the Games are an opportunity to get the whole country moving.
“This summer, I want communities up and down the country to get excited about the Commonwealth Games by getting active.
“From swimming, to boxing and basketball, this funding from Sport England will help do just that – by breaking down barriers and levelling up opportunities for young people to get involved in sport, no matter where they live.”
In addition to the funding, the governing bodies will be required to participate in an Innovation and Digital Accelerator programme, run by CAST, which will give them access to expert support and help them maximise the impact of their plans.
An opportunity that Stewart Kellett, the chief executive officer of Basketball England, is relishing.
“We’re delighted to be part of this innovative legacy drive to create new opportunities for young people to play,” he said.
“We will be using digital engagement to help people discover new ways to play and engage with a wider audience.
“Our campaign #GameTime will elevate the voices of local people and create awareness of new activities locally, helping them create their great spaces in their communities through #ProjectSwish and new playing opportunities through 3x3 and the outdoor game.”