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New £5 million drive to help tackle inactivity

£5 million National Lottery investment available from Sport England’s Get Healthy, Get Active fund

23rd October 2014

  • £5 million National Lottery investment available from Sport England’s Get Healthy, Get Active fund
  • This comes as Public Health England publishes a national framework, Everybody Active, Every Day, showing its commitment to tackling England’s physical inactivity epidemic
  • Physical inactivity responsible for 1 in 6 deaths and costs the country an estimated £7.4 billion a year.

Groups with projects designed to get inactive people more physically active through sport can now bid for a share of a new £5 million National Lottery fund, it has been announced today.

Sport England, which invests public money in grassroots sport projects, has made the money available through its Get Healthy, Get Active fund.

This latest round of funding comes as Public Health England publish Everybody Active, Every Day, a framework for national and location action to address the national physical inactivity epidemic, responsible for 1 in 6 deaths and costing the country an estimated £7.4 billion a year.

Welcoming the report and announcing the latest round of funding, Sport England Chief Executive, Jennie Price, said: “We are delighted to be working alongside Public Health England to help drive a step change in activity levels. Our role is to get more people to play sport and exercise regularly, which can make a big contribution to tackling inactivity and improving health and wellbeing.

“Today we are making £5 million of additional National Lottery funding available for projects that will focus on the least active, as this is where we can make most impact by reducing health inequalities and producing the greatest potential health benefit.”

Twenty-eight per cent of all adults are inactive*, of these 48 per cent want to take part in sport with cycling, swimming, running, gym and football among the top sports they most want to play. The second round of Get Healthy, Get Active will help deliver on the actions set out in Everybody Active, Every Day. 

Welcoming the funding, Professor Kevin Fenton, Executive Director of Health and Wellbeing at Public Health England, said: “Physical inactivity is unrecognised as a significant health, social and economic burden on individuals and communities in England. It is the fourth greatest cause of ill health in the UK, and a leading contributor to rising levels of many long-term conditions, such as obesity, diabetes and dementia. Our modern lifestyles amplify the problem, with even those who are already taking regular physical activity at risk of damaging their health by spending long periods sitting down.”

“There is something simple we can do about it: get everybody active every day. We need to make physical activity the easy, accessible and natural choice for everyone. If we get it right, the benefits will be shared by future generations leading to an increase in everyone’s chances of living a healthy, independent and fulfilling life.”

As well as opening the next round of funding, Sport England is also publishing the interim report into the progress of the 15 round one projects that shared in £6.3 million of National Lottery funding and brought in £5.2 million of local partner funding.

The impact of the projects – which are being delivered over three years - has been positive and is providing valuable insight for future projects on the important role sport can play in getting inactive people active. So far:

  • 67,000 people have been engaged with Get Health, Get Active projects, 25,000 of whom were classified as inactive. 38 per cent of these have gone on to taking part in sport at least once a week.
  • 259 GP’s and Health Professionals have been trained to support he deliver of Get Health, Get Active projects
  • 132 coaches have gained qualifications by coaches who want to support inactive people to get active

In Leeds, the funding from Sport England has supported Leeds City Council to provide the Leeds Let’s Get Active, a programme of free physical activity sessions including gym, swim, exercise classes and sports sessions at 17 leisure centres as well as beginner running, family sports activities and health walks in parks across the city. Leeds has huge difference in income levels and health inequalities, with a 12 year life expectancy gap at its worst. Leeds Let’s Get Active is aiming to address that imbalance and to date more than 43,000 people have registered for a Let’s Get Active card and made over 130,000  visits to free sessions.

Speaking about the experience of one of his clients, Bill Owen, Addiction Dependency Solutions Manager in Leeds, said: “One of our clients, who was on an alcohol rehabilitation programme for years and has a history of mental health issues, has found the access to the free leisure card the single most helpful thing to help him stop drinking and stay stopped. He has also found the exercise has improved his mental health and is better than any treatment he’s received. He has been going daily to the gym daily and intents to keep going.”

Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, Leeds City Council’s Executive Member with responsibility for Sport, added: “Leeds Let’s Get Active has provided a great opportunity for those people who are most inactive in the city to take part in fun and exciting activity on a regular basis. The scheme has proved to be a fantastic way of supporting people to lead a more active lifestyle and gain all of the benefits that brings. The achievements to date are helping us on our way to becoming the most active city in the country.”

In total, Sport England is investing £23 million on tackling inactivity through sport. Earlier this week, Sport England awarded £1.5 million of National Lottery funding to Mind, the mental health charity, to use sport to improve the lives of 75,000 people experiencing mental health problems. A further £7.1 million has also been invested in projects focused on health outcomes from the Community Sport Activation and the Inclusive Sport funds.

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