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The All-Party Parliamentary Group for Sport met yesterday (21 May) to discuss the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the sport and physical activity sector, with ukactive’s CEO Huw Edwards appearing on the panel.

The virtual event, chaired by APPG for Sport Chair Ben Bradley MP, also featured Sport England CEO Tim Hollingsworth and Sport and Recreational Alliance CEO Lisa Wainwright. Attendees included members of the House of Commons and representatives from across the sport and physical activity sector.

ukactive CEO Huw Edwards talked about the framework ukactive has published on how gyms and leisure facilities can reopen safely, in line with social distancing guidelines and cleaning measures.

He also spoke about ukactive’s strategy for reopening, which includes research into the commercial modelling, policy calls to the Government, and an upcoming public information campaign to ensure customers feel comfortable going back into facilities.

Following mandatory closure on 20 March, gyms and leisure centres have had their income reduced to zero, putting significant strain on organisations still faced with ongoing costs.

The questioning focused on the impact of COVID-19, local authorities, charities and leisure trusts, workforce, reopening, and the future for the sector.

On the future of the sector, Huw delivered a call to action to Parliamentarians, urging them to take this opportunity to put physical and mental wellbeing at the heart of policy making going forward.

He urged all MPs to engage with gyms and leisure facilities in their constituencies to recognise their role in the community and ensure this work can continue once restrictions are eased.