Baroness Tanni Grey -Thompson (Chair, ukactive)

What do we value most in our lives? I hazard a guess it’s a combination of a number of things: the welfare of the people closest to us, the health and happiness of our children as they grow up to become adults, and the quality and safety of our homes, the streets we live in, and the strength of the wider local community where we work and relax.

The things we value are the backbone of our daily life, a life many of us now live at 100mph with unrelenting pressures on our collective time. And yet when we can get off the hamster wheel of daily life, it’s the things we value that are our refuge, our harbour in the storm.
We’d be unwise not to protect them beyond anything else, right?

As yet there has been too little emphasis, and for far too long, on what contributes to the health and happiness of a person, a family, a community. In addition, the bite of sustained austerity has stripped communities of places, venues and facilities that encouraged health, social cohesion, and the personal development of our youngest citizens. Let’s redress that.

When I called last year for a £1bn investment into community leisure to support the future of the NHS, I did so from a position of complete belief in the value of community facilities and assets across the country. This new research on the social value of physical activity within our sector validates my belief. It shows that community leisure facilities are hugely valuable, even essential, not only to the physical health of the nation, but also for the positive impact they have on wider agendas such as education, crime, and general wellbeing.

You will hear both myself and the team at ukactive describing physical activity as the “golden thread” that runs through the nation’s psyche, positively influencing national issues, and being one of the solutions to the collective health and wellbeing of the nation. This is a message that ukactive is taking to Government and Parliament as a whole, offering our sector’s active involvement in supporting the work required to address some of the more complex, multi-lay- ered, issues we face as a nation.

The ukactive Research Institute will continue to lead the drive to bridge the evidence gap between research and real world interventions – giving the sector the confidence it needs to make decisions from an informed and evidence based potion. This is central to supporting our collective ambition to get more, people more active, more often.

This is an important report and I encourage you to work with me and ukactive and use these findings to support the drive to ensure physical activity has the focus, status, and attention it urgently requires.

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More People More Active More Often