Skip to main content

Vivify has announced a new strategic partnership with ukactive to help make hiring school facilities readily available across the UK, giving more people the access and opportunity to stay active.

The organisation, which has joined ukactive’s  , is concerned about the welfare of communities and wants to support sports and leisure groups across the country, ensuring they have somewhere to practice.

With 39% of UK sporting facilities being behind school gates, Vivify’s goal of opening more school facilities out of school hours – with reasonably priced hire costs – is designed to help address some of the issues. Last year approximately 2.4 million people went through school doors alone, proving what is possible at a time when sport and leisure need spaces most.

Last summer, ukactive collaborated with Nike on the Open Doors initiative to provide safe spaces in local schools over the holidays, which helped young people to develop through sport.

Why this partnership now?

The current cost-of-living crisis could have a significant detrimental impact on the leisure and fitness sector, in turn risking a decline in people’s mental and physical health. Forty-three per cent of people said the rising costs of living will have a negative impact on their ability to participate in sports and exercise, and it was recently reported by ukactive that up to 40% of leisure facilities are at risk of closing if greater support is not received from the Government.

Every pound spent on leisure, which includes community sport and physical activity, equates to an economic return of investment of £3.91 in social value back to individuals and society. Of this investment into sport and physical activity, a social value of up to £42bn is estimated to be generated in support of mental wellbeing, with £110m of this linked to prevented cases of depression.

Alongside this, £20bn in social value is generated that supports social and community development – which includes fewer incidents of crime and enhanced social capital – indicating that if investment in leisure stops, the ripple effect on society would be devastating.

The effects will likely be felt most by those who cannot afford to attend private gyms, those participating in non-sporting activities, and those on the lowest incomes, risking further health inequality across the country.

In July 2022, one-third of UK adults stated that the cost-of-living crisis has discouraged them from using their local leisure facilities. Currently, just 14% of leisure participants attend gyms, but what about the other 85% – how do we cater for the rest of the community?

Looking to the future 

On the new partnership with ukactive, Vivify CEO, Russell Teale said: “The stats we’re hearing on the impact of the cost-of-living crisis are frightening. At a time when people were just getting back to normal post-pandemic, it feels like another blow to a sector that’s priority is to improve mental and physical health while preventing more serious health issues which already pressurise our overstretched NHS.

“We simply can’t sit by and watch this happen. So, we’re looking forward to seeing where our partnership with ukactive can take us.”

ukactive Head of Membership Experience, Danny Melling said: “We are excited to welcome Vivify onboard as a Strategic Partner of ukactive. Schools are at the heart of every community and what Vivify do so brilliantly, by working in collaboration with school leaders, is unlock the potential of these fantastic facilities to bring exciting opportunities to the doorstep of the communities each school serves.”

Vivify is a member of the ukactive Strategic Partner Group – find out more here.