Government teams up with sports stars to launch new physical activity drive
Posted: Wed, 30 Aug 2023 16:33
The Government will join forces with former sports stars, health professionals and fitness experts to help an additional 3.5 million adults and children get physically active by 2030, as part of a major national activity drive.
Appointed by the Prime Minister and Culture Secretary, the new National Physical Activity Taskforce will be led by the Culture Secretary, Lucy Frazer, Sports Minister Stuart Andrew and former England Rugby Union international Ugo Monye as an independent co-chair.
It comes as part of the Government's new sport strategy published today. 'Get Active: A strategy for the future of sport and physical activity' sets out a blueprint to improve the nation's health and fitness, enhance corporate governance in the sport sector and make it more resilient to future challenges at elite and grassroots level.
The new participation targets - to have over 2.5 million more active adults and over 1 million more active children by 2030 - are intended to reach people of all ages and backgrounds, and meet the UK Chief Medical Officers' guidance that:
- Adults should aim to carry out at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity a week
- Children should aim to carry out at least 60 minutes of physical activity a day
Figures from the Sport England Active Lives Survey indicate that 25% of adults are currently deemed to be 'inactive' in England, with over 11 million doing less than 30 minutes of activity in total a week. Meanwhile figures indicate that 53% of children and young people are not meeting the CMO's guidance of at least 60 minutes of activity a day - with 23% being fairly active, but 30% doing less than 30 minutes a day.
NHS statistics from 2021-2022 indicate that almost a quarter (23%) of year 6 children were obese in England, an increase of 3% from 2018-19, the last figures recorded prior to the COVID-19 pandemic - making a national activity drive all the more important.
As part of this new strategy, the expert taskforce will advise on how to deliver on these targets, challenge how ambitions are being delivered and hold the Government, National Governing Bodies, the physical activity sector and schools to account for delivering the targets at both the national and local level.
Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer said:
"As Culture Secretary I want to increase opportunities for everyone to find the sport or activity that they love, which will help them be healthy and happy. Whether that's playing with friends on the basketball court, getting on your bike or working out in your living room we want everybody to find a sport or physical activity for them.
"Our new taskforce, jointly led with Ugo Monye, will work across government and the sports industry to turn these ambitious targets into a reality, helping to break down barriers to help people enjoy the benefits of getting active.
"Through our support for school sports and our continuing investment of millions of pounds in facilities in local communities across the country we are making sure that people have welcoming and accessible places where they can get active."
National Physical Activity Taskforce co-chair and former England Rugby Union international Ugo Monye said:
"As a former international player and dad to young children, I know the importance of instilling the benefits of sport and physical activity.
"It is clear that a major effort is needed to get Britain moving and boost our national health. I'm determined to use my experience and drive forward this ambitious strategy."
It is the first sport strategy to be published since 2015, and builds upon the Government's record investment of almost £400 million in grassroots facilities, including in multi-sport facilities, swimming pools and park tennis courts, to ensure communities across the country have access to high quality, safe facilities.
This is alongside investment of over £600 million for school sport and PE over the next two years, with a focus on making it clear that girls have the same access as boys, building on the success of the Lionesses at UEFA Women's EURO 2022 last year and in their recent FIFA Women's World Cup 2023 campaign.
The strategy also sets the vision for the future of the sector in the country.
In recent years, the responsibilities of sport governing bodies around integrity issues, such as misconduct (including bullying, discrimination and safeguarding issues), doping and corruption, have highlighted concerns on how some athletes have been treated, the mechanisms for raising complaints and how disputes are resolved at elite and grassroots level.
The Government is clear that sport needs to be a welcoming, inclusive and fair environment that participants and their parents or guardians can have confidence in.
In light of this, a call for evidence is being launched today on current experiences of how issues and concerns in sport across the UK are dealt with in the sector, and how these could be strengthened. The call for evidence is open to participants in sport, parents and guardians, coaches, athlete support personnel, sports governing bodies, academics and other relevant stakeholders.
Sports Minister Stuart Andrew said:
"It is vital that everyone participating in sport feels safe and secure. We want to ensure that we have the strongest possible systems for addressing sport integrity issues and that we remain at the forefront of global efforts around fairness and inclusion in sport.
"UK Sport and Sport England have taken significant steps to improve safeguarding including the revision of protections for children. The Government has also strengthened positions of trust legislation to now include sports coaches.
"I urge everyone with relevant experiences to contribute to this call for evidence process."
The new sport strategy also seeks to ensure that the sector moves towards a more sustainable future, both financially and environmentally.
DCMS will support the sector to attract additional forms of investment to help the sector continue to grow and thrive, including new sports and areas with significant growth potential, such as women's sport. The department will also highlight best practice, examples of good governance, and work with the tech sector to identify innovative solutions to help increase participation and physical activity.
It follows the Government providing more than £1 billion in financial support to the sector during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The department will also continue to work with UK Sport, host cities and sporting bodies to bid for, and successfully host, major sporting events that deliver significant socio-economic benefit across the UK, to maintain our world-leading track record in this area. DCMS will commission additional analysis of the economic value of these events to support future decision making. It follows the recent success of England hosting UEFA Women's EURO 2022, the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games and the Rugby League World Cup.
The Government's Gold Framework guidance has been updated to help DCMS and UK Sport work successfully with the sector to keep bringing the world's biggest and best major sporting events to the UK. It comes at a time when the UK and Ireland are bidding to host UEFA EURO 2028, with a decision due later this year.
These events are a core element of the Government's strategy to not only provide significant benefits across the country, but inspire people to get more active, and create the next generation of sports stars.
DCMS will also champion the importance of the sector prioritising the development of its own environmental sustainability initiatives and encourage the sharing of best practice from across sport and physical activity.
This is expected to help the sector to deliver on UK Sport's goal for high-performance sport to be having a net positive impact on the environment by 2040, and for sport national governing bodies to have reduced their emissions by 50% by 2030.
Active Partnerships has responded to the Government's Sports Strategy as part of National Sector Partners Group
"The National Sector Partners Group (NSPG) passionately believes that improving the health and wellbeing of this nation must be a central priority for this and future Governments. This is essential if we want to create sustained economic growth, support the NHS, and strengthen the fabric of our communities across all ages and backgrounds. The role of sport, recreation, and physical activity will be integral to this.
"The Government's new Sports Strategy shines a spotlight on the essential nature of sport and physical activity in people's everyday lives, and importantly recognises the many programmes and initiatives that contribute to this ambition to improve our national health and wellbeing.
"The collective responsibility to improve the health, wellbeing and economic productivity of the nation sits across Whitehall so we welcome the creation of a new Government taskforce to oversee the implementation of the strategy, with industry representatives collaborating with key Departments centrally.
"The inclusion in the new strategy of participation targets provides clarity around the Government's ambitions for a more physically active population and to reduce existing inequalities. We look forward to seeing how these ambitions translate into clear, sustainable delivery plans that focus on the growth and development of the sector.
"Only by developing and supporting a programme of delivery in conjunction with all our partner organisations and making full use of all aspects of the sector, will this strategy be able to deliver on its ambitions and unlock the full potential of the sector. We believe with the necessary resources and working collaboratively with the sector, we can become one of the world's most active nations and improve outcomes across society.
"We look forward to continuing to work collaboratively with the Government to develop and implement legislative changes and national initiatives to realise these ambitions together."
Andy Taylor, CEO of Active Partnership National Team added:
"We welcome the government's new strategy and the recognition of the important role that being physical active can play in improving the nation's health and wellbeing.
The network of 43 non-profit Active Partnerships take a place-based approach to reducing inequalities, so we welcome the importance placed on this in the strategy along with the recognition of the value sport and physical activity has in helping transform people's lives. We partner with local and national stakeholders to affect widespread social change, whether it's bringing communities closer together, connecting people to opportunities, driving greater inclusion, improving health and wellbeing, and economic productivity - we understand the true impact of being active. This also resonates with our role in implementing Sport England's Uniting the Movement in tackling inequalities and ensuring everyone is able to experience the benefits being physically active brings.
We look forward to continuing to work collaboratively across all areas of government and with our national and local partners to ensure we create a fairer, healthier nation."