The Government has today announced its new approach to sport and physical activity in the UK in its strategy ‘Sporting Future: A New Strategy for an Active Nation.’ Their plans will see a broad expansion in the remit of Sport England, specific funding set aside to tackle physical inactivity and ukactive’s Chair, Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, appointed to chair a new Government Working Group.
Steven Ward, Executive Director of ukactive, says “The Department for Culture, Media and Sport has taken the right approach with developing this strategy and there are clear and promising signs that physical activity in its broadest sense is now the key issue for Government.
“We must ensure the focus on inactivity is relentless, and there is still so much more to be done. There is a role for everyone to play and ukactive looks forward to working with DCMS and Sport England in the coming years to get more people, more active, more often and welcomes the central role our Chair, Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, will be playing in its implementation.”
As of 2016, the distinction between sport and broader physical activity, described by the Strategy as “unhelpful, outdated and irrelevant”, will be removed, with Sport England assuming responsibility for investing in activity – including cycling, dancing and walking – as well as traditional sport. Alongside this reform, dedicated funding for tackling inactivity, prioritising the most inactive groups, will be set aside and all activity and sports providers will have equal access to funding if they can demonstrate delivering on one of five new outcomes: physical wellbeing, mental wellbeing, individual development, social & community development and economic development.
Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, Chair of ukactive, will be leading work into how the Government and sporting bodies can take a new approach to support athletes with qualified instructors and coaches and ensuring they have support once their playing days are over – with opportunities to take up other roles and careers in the future.
The Active People’s Survey, which provides an annual measurement the time people spend physically active, will be scaled up to measure a broader range of activities, and how these impact on the individual’s and community’s overall wellbeing.
More broadly, Sport England’s remit will now include children as young as five, as opposed to only those aged fourteen and over, and a regular, cross-Government Group of Ministers will meet to drive implementation of the Strategy and regularly report on its progress back to Parliament.