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The Sport for Development Coalition, is supporting a sector-wide call for the Chancellor to capitalise on sport’s potential as a ‘team player’ in levelling up deprived communities and building back better from the Covid-19 pandemic as the Government undertakes its Spending Review 2021.
The Spending Review culminates with Rishi Sunak delivering his three-year spending plan on October 27, and the Sport for Development Coalition has made four specific recommendations centred on ring-fencing funding for sport-based interventions within current commitments aimed at levelling up, improving health and wellbeing, supporting jobs and reducing crime. The Coalition – which is a UK-wide network of more than 200 charities, sports bodies, community and voluntary organisations over-arching thousands of projects and programmes intentionally using sport and physical activity to generate positive social outcomes – argues these policy decisions have the potential to produce substantial cost savings and multiple returns on investment across priority policy areas for Government.
It calls for ‘sport and physical activity social impact and regeneration projects’ to become dedicated sub-themes for investment in future rounds of Levelling Up and UK Shared Prosperity Funds, and proposes ring-fencing investment for strategically-designed sport and physical activity-based interventions as part of funding committed through the Plan for Health and Social Care, Plan for Jobs, and Beating Crime Plan. It backs Sport England’s strategic vision for physical activity to be a catalyst in transforming lives and communities, and calls from other national sector partners for long-term funding for the PE and school sport premium, and the holiday activities and food programme; bridging the funding gap for public leisure facilities, and opening school-based sports facilities, with a focus on delivering for those facing the greatest inequality of opportunity.
Ollie Dudfield, Executive Director of the Coalition, said: “This Spending Review presents a unique opportunity for the Government to further elevate sport to be an important ‘team player’ in levelling up and building back better. In this difficult fiscal climate, where we urgently need innovative and cost-effective solutions to reduce the burden on health care and other public services, it’s essential we capitalise on the impact sport for development can make across priority areas identified by the Government for Spending Review 21.”
Investment in targeted sport and physical activity-based interventions, and sport for development approaches in particular, can disproportionately deliver outcomes in areas of high deprivation and for communities most in need of levelling up. An analysis of almost 35,000 beneficiaries across leading sport for development interventions showed that 64% of participants were from the 30% most deprived areas of the country.
The cost savings delivered through targeted sport-based interventions are clear, and include:
Posted on 1st October 2021