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“One of the biggest shake-ups of funding in decades” announced by Sport England

£250m will directed towards deprived areas with lower levels of physical activity across England, in what is being called one of the biggest shake-ups in decades.

Over the next five years, Sport England advised that the £250m investment would be redirected to target up to 100 local communities where inequality is greatest. This is an extension of the Place Partnership work to help more people access physical activity.

How will the place partnerships work?

In order to focus investment and resources on the communities that need it most, Sport England have significantly increased the number of places across England that they partner with.

This work is done through collaboration with the Active Partnership network, and the 12 Place Partnerships (formerly known as LDPs). These organisations will foster relationships with communities, in order to identify and overcome specific barriers to physical activity facing that community.

Sport England have advised that over £190m of National Lottery and Exchequer funding will be invested into the 80-100 communities.

“Our new sports strategy sets out an ambitious aim to get 3.5 million more people active by 2030 and this £250 million investment from Sport England will help make that a reality.

This targeted place-based funding gives greater access to quality activities and clubs for people of all ages in areas of the country that need it most.
Keeping active is essential for our mental and physical health and wellbeing, so it is crucial we continue to break down barriers for people to stay fit and healthy.”

Stuart Andrew MP, Sport Minister

An additional £35 million will be invested to strengthen work with Sport England’s existing Place Partners; with up to £25 million being made available to create a Universal Offer for other parts of the country to help tackle inactivity and the associated inequalities which prevent people from moving more.

Why is this change being made now?

“Too often, people in low-income communities don’t have access to the same facilities or opportunities as wealthier areas.

This is manifestly unfair – and must be addressed as a real priority. That is why our expanded Place Partnership programme will unashamedly see us target our resources and efforts on communities that need the greatest levels of support and experience the greatest levels of inequality.”

Tim Hollingsworth, Chief Executive of Sport England

This announcement follows shocking data showing that the most active place in England has nearly double the activity levels (81%) in comparison to the poorest place (43%).

This new way of working – one of the biggest shake ups of sports funding in decades – directly supports the Government’s recent Get Active strategy which set ambitious targets of getting 2.5 million more adults – with 1.4 million of these being from least affluent households – and 1 million children active by 2030 to tackle the disparities in activity levels across society.

How are Active Norfolk getting involved?

Since 2017, Sport England has tested this place-based approach of working with ‘Local Delivery Pilots’. These were trialled in 12 of the country’s most disadvantaged and least active communities. 

Combined with investment made through the 43 Active Partnerships across England, Sport England has used funding to target systemic barriers to activity. Consequently, all places have benefited from increased activity amongst the people who are typically less active.  These learnings will now be applied as Sport England rolls out the additional funding over the next five years.

Our director Eve Dewsnap says: “Today, Sport England announced a 5-year commitment to invest £250m across England. This investment will support the development of place partnerships and deliver their Uniting the Movement Strategy.

In Norfolk, with the support of our partners, we have developed a strong approach to working in place. Our Locality team work closely with partners and local communities across the county. We use data and insight to inform shared action plans and direct funding from all our key programmes to where it is most needed. The commitment set out in today’s announcement resonates with our locality approach, and this alignment will enable us to secure support from Sport England to deliver our shared objectives.

We are excited about the potential to deepen and accelerate our work in areas where there are the greatest inequalities, and where we can have the most impact.”