Sophie Hoseason, Strategic Partner Group – Account Coordinator, ukactive
At the ukactive National Summit in September 2018, a central theme of the day was partnership.
ukactive CEO Steven Ward called on everyone in attendance to build a new collaboration or partnership in the next year, to help drive the physical activity agenda forward.
There is no doubt here – if we are to tackle the physical inactivity crisis facing the UK, we need to bring together everyone with a stake in getting more people moving.
That of course means all of ukactive’s traditional partners – leisure operators, equipment suppliers, activity operators, major corporates and public bodies. Yet just as vital is bringing those charged with driving participation in sport across our country – National Governing Bodies (NGBs).
NGBs are funded by Sport England to get our nation active in their respective sports – and face a landscape where funding is becoming increasingly squeezed. NGBs are therefore increasingly looking at alternative ways to engage new audiences and spread their individual sport across the country.
There are 7,038 gyms and leisure centres and 9.9 million people who use them within the UK – representing an excellent platform for partnership between NGBs and the wider physical activity sector.
This is the driving force behind National Governing Bodies such as British Gymnastics, British Weightlifting, Badminton England, Lawn Tennis Association and Swim England joining ukactive’s Strategic Partner Group – looking to draw on the wider sector’s resources to engage prospective participants across the country.
Take British Gymnastics as an example, who have reported over one million people on waiting lists to take part in gymnastics, with the majority of these being children. By partnering with local leisure facilities, combining their sporting expertise with local community facilities, we can ensure the next generation are given the opportunity to experience the benefits to taking part in gymnastics.
This presents an exciting opportunity for the sector to collaborate with NGBs – providing an additional offering for leisure facilities to provide for their customers, while helping sporting bodies engage a wider audience. It really is a win-win – a great example of how partnerships can help us get more people, more active, more often.