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Dear  %%first_name%%,

It is ukactive’s year in review! Just like everyone else on the internet, we’re using December to look back and reflect on our favourite moments of 2023. It’s been a whirlwind of a year, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

But before we get into it, we also wanted to use this opportunity to thank you, our ukactive members, for your ongoing support and incredible hard work in continuing to develop and improve the sector alongside us. Together we are achieving more.

1 – Digital Futures

​​​​The most recent of our highlights is the release of our third annual Digital Futures report, in collaboration with Sport England, following consultation with the fitness and leisure sector. The report provides a measure of how well organisations are embracing digital and highlights the main areas for improvement to digital strategies, services, and connections for consumers showing that organisations who continued investment in digital transformation are moving ahead of the competition.

Read more here.


2- Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

Stepping back just two weeks earlier, we launched our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) self-assessment tool which will be instrumental in helping to drive the development of the sector to provide a more inclusive service. After completing the short assessment, facilities, providers, and suppliers receive an instant score to show how inclusive they currently are and are then signposted to recommendations to help improve EDI practices.

Read more and complete the self-assessment here.

3 – ukactive Awards

At the end of October, we celebrated the top operators, suppliers and facilities from across the physical activity sector, as the winners of the prestigious ukactive Awards 2023 were announced at the Royal Armouries in Leeds.

The Awards, sponsored by STA, saw Professor Greg Whyte OBE and award-winning fitness author and PT Laura Hoggins host the evening and announce the amazing winners across the 15 categories.

Our winners from the night are featured on the link below.

Read more here.

4 – National Fitness Day

Powered by our members and partners, National Fitness Day 2023 took place under the theme ‘Your Health is for Life’ and reached a total audience of 88.5 million people, helping to inspire healthier lives across the UK and beyond. The campaign culminated with thousands of activities being held across the UK on 20 September, beginning with the National Fitness Day kick-off event, which for the first time was held in Manchester, hosted by GM Active in partnership with ukactive.

The event saw participants from the Prehab4Cancer programme join a morning of group workouts at Salford Sports Village and share their own stories, providing a powerful example of the essential benefits of physical activity and underlining the campaign’s theme, ‘Your Health is for Life’.

We also welcomed three new partners –  Movember, Optimum Nutrition and Endurance Zone to support the campaign, with Endurance Zone creating the first ever National Fitness Day app.

Read more here.

5 – Open Doors

Throughout the summer, ukactive and Nike hosted the Open Doors programme, which provides safe and exciting spaces for children and young people to keep active over the summer months.

Open Doors was recognised in the Government’s recently published ‘Get Active’ strategy for sport and physical activity as a strong example of how unlocking school facilities can help to keep children healthy and active outside of the school calendar.

The 2023 programme offered sports, activities and food to children and young people in underserved communities across London and saw more than 2,000 visits.

Read more here.

6 – Safer Spaces to Move

In May, Sport England’s ‘This Girl Can’ campaign and ukactive released new guidance to help fitness and leisure facilities create safer spaces for women and girls to be active.

A new guide was produced to help tackle the gender activity gap called ‘How to make your spaces safer for women: A call to action from the 51%’, which aims to address safety concerns experienced by women while getting active.

It builds on the work set out in the previous guide, ‘How to improve your services for women and girls: As told by the 51%’, published in November 2021, by providing practical steps for facilities to help create an environment where women and girls can feel safer and more confident being active.

Read more here.

7 – MSK Hubs

We have made a lot of progress with our health work this year, with two particularly notable breakthroughs. We achieved a successful roll out of the UKRI pilot project “Transforming Gyms into community MSK Hubs”, delivering programmes at 100 sites offering an inclusive, accessible, gamified, and personalised health service to older adults with musculoskeletal conditions. The post-pilot report will be released in 2024, and we will continue to look at options for developing the ‘Hubs’ to incorporate more health conditions within our wider membership. We also advanced our engagement with the health sector, hosting the first ‘ukactive Health Summit’ which brought together senior leaders from the NHS, Integrated Care Boards, representative for charities and businesses and ukactive members. Further engagement is scheduled for the New Year.

Read more here.

8 – Spring and Autumn Budget

The 2023 Spring Budget was presented by the Chancellor on 15th March, amid a background of continuing pressure on energy bills. The month prior to the Budget, ukactive and a coalition of over 200 organisations and individuals from across the sport and physical activity sector had written to the Prime Minister urging him to provide support for gyms, pools and leisure centres or see widespread closures.

This led to the announcement at the Budget of the Swimming Pool Support Fund, £63 million to support public sector leisure centres, including up to £20 million for immediate support and £40 million for longer-term improvements.

In addition, the Chancellor announced further funding for musculoskeletal hubs in order to tackle the continued problem of long-term health conditions causing workplace absence.

Delivered on 22nd November 2023, the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement was more limited than the announcements eight months previous, but still a significant milestone for the sector.

Key announcements included an extension of business rates relief for the leisure sector for an extra year, 75% relief on businesses with a rateable value below £110,000. There was also a continued freeze of the small business multiplier, although the standard multiplier did rise with inflation. This followed a joint campaign from ukactive and other organisations for continued business rate support.

The Chancellor also announced full expensing would be made permanent, incentivising investment through tax breaks on equipment. Government confirmed some of the details of their Back to Work plan, which would include further support for MSK work and a review of the fit check system.

9 – ukactive Membership

Throughout 2023, we have seen fantastic engagement from both new and existing members of ukactive in all of the projects listed above, and beyond.

This year, we have seen a 2% increase in ukactive overall membership and a massive 22% increase in our Strategic Partnership members. We have also seen over 1,200 individual viewers of our monthly webinars across the year whereby we inform our membership of our work, sector updates and share sector knowledge.

Thank you once again for your continued support and engagement with ukactive.


10 – Partner Events

Lastly, a huge thank you to our incredible event partnerships at PAF, Elevate, ActiveNet, Independent Gyms and W3Fit, PerformX, Rimini Wellness, Fibo, Xplor, Fitronics and ProInsight for hosting such amazing events throughout 2023, and for bringing the industry together, allowing us to all continue working in unison, share our insight, and achieve our joint goals and milestones for the physical activity sector.


And that’s a wrap!

Don’t forget, Active Uprising is taking place on Thursday 1st February and will be the first industry event of 2024. We hope to see many new and familiar faces there (early bird tickets are still available).

We wish you all a fantastic Christmas and can’t wait to see you in the New Year!

From the team at ukactive.