Sport England announces boost for Commonwealth sports to drive participation

Sports bodies who want to use innovative, non-traditional or digital ideas to improve participation rates in areas of England where activity levels are the lowest will benefit from a new £6.5m cash injection, Sport England announced today.

The new National Lottery funding is part of Sport England’s overall £35m package of investment to make the Commonwealth Games a success and create a lasting national impact.

The investment, made into 20 national governing bodies of sport that are involved in the Games, will focus on the creation of innovative and accessible opportunities to engage with disadvantaged communities, enabling people from all kinds of backgrounds to take part in sport and activity. Affluence and activity levels are closely linked, as evidenced by Sport England’s latest Active Lives Survey.

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The survey also revealed that where you live has a huge impact on how active you are, demonstrating why investment into targeted areas is vital for breaking down barriers to getting active. The fund is aimed at reaching communities in Birmingham, the West Midlands and a number of other areas that the sports bodies have identified as needing the most support – including parts of London, Manchester and Bristol, where inequalities mean that activity levels are often below the national average.

The fund is part of a suite of investment programmes, ensuring the impact of Commonwealth Games reaches the communities in greatest need. In addition, all funding recipients are required to participate in an Innovation & Digital Accelerator, to access expert innovation and digital support to maximise the impact of their plans.

Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries said: “We want Birmingham 2022 to be the games for everyone and this fund will help make that a reality across the country.

“By reaching into new communities with fun, creative and accessible introductions to Commonwealth sports, this investment will help increase participation and secure a strong legacy from Birmingham 2022.”

Tim Hollingsworth, CEO of Sport England, said: “One mission for the Commonwealth Games is creating new ways to include those who face the most barriers to playing sport and getting active. So to deliver long-term community impact, we have to listen to what people need, try out new and different ideas, and support  partners who know what works at a grassroots level for their community.

“Lasting impact from the Games will depend on the creation of long-term, inclusive and local opportunities for people to get active, and tackling the inequalities that make it harder for some groups now. Today’s funding is an opportunity for us to work innovatively with sports to target the people and areas who need support the most.”

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