Posted: Thu, 24 Sep 2020 14:29
COVID-19 threatens to create a lost generation of sport and physical activity. We support the call for a Sports Recovery Fund, so our sector can help keep people fit and healthy which is a vital part of overcoming this pandemic. Leicester-Shire & Rutland Sport (LRS).
Dear Prime Minister,
Today we are calling on you to commit to positioning sport and physical activity at the heart of our nation's post-Covid renewal.
This appeal comes from a broad range of organisations that include governing bodies and those who represent hundreds of thousands of sports clubs and facilities. Our sports engage millions of children, young people, and adults.
Our sector drives economic prosperity and social change in the UK, contributing over £16bn to the UK economy and employing more than 600,000 people. A report published by Sport England and Sheffield Hallam University this month showed that every £1 spent on community sport and physical activity generates nearly £4 for the English economy, providing an annual contribution of more than £85bn, with a social value – including physical and mental health and wellbeing, individual and community development – of more than £72bn.
Grassroots sport, fitness, and wider recreational activity is proven to improve physical, mental, and social wellbeing. This makes our sector an essential service as our nation recovers from the damage caused by Covid-19.
Prime Minister – you've long been a champion of the benefits of a physically active lifestyle and we were heartened to hear that commitment renewed this summer with the launch of the Government's obesity strategy. Our combined sector is delighted to be showcasing its reach into the heart of communities this week as part of the inaugural Great British Week of Sport.
However, we are united in our concern that at a time when our role should be central to the nation's recovery, the future of the sector is perilous. Covid-19 has exposed the fragility of vital services and assets, with sports clubs and fitness facilities facing permanent closure, depriving local communities of facilities and programmes on which they depend.
Covid-19 has undermined our commercial revenue streams with both stadia and leisure facilities closed or greatly reduced in capacity. The impact of this will potentially lead to a lost generation of sport and activity. We are particularly concerned about the impact on those whose participation has been limited during the pandemic. Physical activity levels, especially in the most vulnerable groups, are significantly below where they were tracking pre-Covid-19. This is at a time when the Government has committed to levelling up outcomes and opportunities across the country.
In order to play our fullest role, we must survive and stabilise. To do this, we require a comprehensive support package for the sport and physical sector to aid its recovery. This package must combine investment, tax incentives, and regulatory reform. This package of support – a "Sports Recovery Fund" - can form part of the Better Health campaign and be directed to focus on protecting existing jobs and facilities in a way that would:
- support programmes and facilities that address the health inequalities highlighted by coronavirus especially in women, lower social economic groups, disability and BAME participation;
- expand the innovations across the sector that we have seen during Covid-19 – making opportunities digital and increasing accessibility across the country.
Our sector will be at the forefront of your Government's plans to improve the health and wellbeing of all communities. It will contribute to solving societal issues the Government faces, including reducing health inequalities, tackling obesity, cutting crime, easing loneliness, and enhancing social cohesion. But to do so effectively, we require your Government's backing.
We ask that this sector's significant contribution to our society is fully recognised in the forthcoming Comprehensive Spending Review. It will mean that, together, the Government and the sports and activity sector will invest in fulfilling the nation's sport and wellbeing potential.
We know your passion for the power of sport. You have set out your belief that sport drives positive change. This is, no doubt, hugely influenced by your role as Mayor of London in delivering the hugely successful London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games and the legacy vision for sport that event created.
By placing sport and physical activity now at the heart of our nation's renewal and using it to drive new ambitions for health and wellbeing, we can create a strong, prosperous, resilient, and healthy nation for generations to come.
British American Football
Inspiring Healthy Lifestyles
The Pony Club
Chance to Shine
Mosaic Spa and Health Clubs
The Gym Group
Outdoor Industries Association
University of Warwick
British Ice Skating
Northampton Leisure Trust
LED Leisure Management Ltd
National Council for Metal Detecting
British Equestrian / British Showjumping
England and Wales Cricket Board
British Horse Society
Women in Sport
Skateboard England / Skateboard GB
Ivan Horsfall Turner
Councillor James Jamieson
Lawn Tennis Association
Jane M Nickerson
Youth Sport Trust
British Wheelchair Basketball
The Golf Foundation
Sport for Development Coalition
Rugby Football League
Greenwich Leisure Limited
Rugby Football Union
English Indoor Bowling Association
The Gym Group
Community Leisure UK
The International Fitness Business Alliance
Sport and Recreation Alliance
Association for Physical Education