Capitalising on the “Levelling Up Agenda” for the activities, sports, and fitness sector

Levelling Up Agenda
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The Spending Review released on October 27th has been greeted warmly by the sports, physical activity, and fitness sector; however, some reservations have been raised as to whether the Budget has fully realised the potential of the sector.

Prior to the release of Chancellor Sunak’s budget, The Sport for Development Coalition called for the Chancellor to use the sector for ‘…social impact and regeneration projects’ mentioned as sub-themes for the “Levelling up Agenda”.

The report called for specifically ringfenced investment to support ‘sport and physical activity-based interventions’ as a basis for joined-up policy across various sectors. The commitment through the sector would provide an opportunity to strengthen the employment market, support the Beating Crime plan and take the unnecessary strain off the health and social care sector.

There are clear indicators that some of these areas have been accounted for, yet questions remain as to how well the Budget sought to collaborate fully with the potential of the sector. A joint response represented by CEO of ukactive Huw Edwards, that included Active Partnerships, the Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity (CIMSPA), the Sport and Recreation Alliance, the Sport for Development Coalition, and the Youth Sport Trust looked in-depth at some of these features.

In his response, he pointed that a healthier population would take the stress of the NHS and improve the public’s resilience to conditions associated with obesity, unhealthy food, and lack of exercise. Huw went on to highlight the impact of sport for development:

“…there must be a stronger focus on sport and physical activity regeneration and social impact projects in future rounds of the Levelling Up and Shared Prosperity Funds, a clear role for sport-based projects in preventing crime and keeping communities safe, and appropriate allocation of the increased funding announced for youth services and youth employment to charities effectively using sport to generate positive social outcomes in places most in need.”