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At the ukactive Research Institute we are always looking for ways to utilise the expanse of data being collected within our sector to understand the trends, behaviour patterns and changes that are happening within the sport and physical ac- tivity sphere.

Our ultimate goal is to use this information to support our members across the breadth of the sector to make the deci- sions that will not only enable them to optimise their business performance, but will also contribute to our mission of getting more people active and improving the health of the nation.
We are now in our third year of working with DataHub to pro- duce the Moving Communities report, with the most signifi- cant change over this time being the continual increase in the size of the data sample we are able to utilise. From just over 300 sites in 2017, we are now able to analyse data from over 500 sites, offering a broader and more accurate representa- tion of the trends in public sector leisure.

In this report we will explore key metrics across four areas, through looking at data from the last three financial years. These areas are ‘who’ ,’when’, ‘what’ and ‘how’: in other words looking at the demographic profile of leisure centre users, the most popular times and days to visit, the sports and activi- ties that are taking place, and how these metrics differ by age, gender, and membership status.

We are not seeing seismic shifts from year to year across these metrics- instead what is happening is subtle changes, that given the size of the data set, start to tell interesting sto- ries that merit further exploration. Take for example the age distribution of members of leisure centres- again we see that older age groups are under represented, but we also see that the average age of members is slowly increasing from year to year. Likewise, ‘Health and Wellbeing’ activities have crept into the top five overall sports activities in the past two years, representing the diversification of services and products that leisure centres are now offering.

We look forward to continuing to work with our members and partners to use data and insight to increase our knowledge and understanding of what is happening in our sector, and to use this knowledge to continue to grow the sector. We hope you find this report useful. If you have any questions or would like to get in touch please email

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