England Golf has joined forces with more than one hundred other sporting bodies to send a letter to the Prime Minister urging him to ringfence funding for the recovery of the sports and activity sector – or risk fuelling physical inactivity and related illnesses for a generation.
On behalf of England Golf, Chief Executive Jeremy Tomlinson was one of 102 signatories to a letter which has been delivered to PM Boris Johnson during the Great British Week of Sport. The letter highlights the contribution of the sports and physical activity sector to society, driven by a combined workforce of more than 600,000 people.
The coalition has requested an urgent support package from the government, as has been provided to arts and restaurant sectors, that will enable the sport and activity sector to continue to provide programmes and facilities that address the health inequalities highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic and support the NHS by improving health outcomes.
It calls for a “Sports Recovery Fund” to be delivered at the Comprehensive Spending Review, as part of the Better Health campaign. The fund would help protect existing jobs and facilities so that the sector can:
- Support programmes and facilities that address the health inequalities highlighted by COVID-19, particularly inactivity among women, lower socio-economic groups, BAME communities and people with disabilities.
- Expand the innovations across the sector that we have seen during COVID-19 – making opportunities digital and increasing accessibility across the country.
A report published by Sport England and Sheffield Hallam University this month showed that every £1 spent on community sport and physical activity generates nearly £4 for the English economy, providing an annual contribution of more than £85bn a year, with a social value of more than £72bn a year, measured by physical and mental health and wellbeing, individual and community development.
Grassroots sport and physical activity is an essential part of the UK’s recovery, not just in terms of improved physical wellbeing and reducing the burden on the NHS, but also for the positive impact it has on mental wellbeing, as well as helping to overcome societal challenges such as loneliness, crime and isolation.
However, the sports sector has been heavily impacted by COVID-19. Golf clubs in England were closed for a seven-week spell from March before reopening in May and a number of local and national grassroots campaigns and initiatives have had to be cancelled or postponed for a year.
Huw Edwards, CEO of ukactive said: “Our sector is united in its call to the Prime Minister to back grassroots sport and physical activity so that our clubs, gyms and leisure facilities can throw their full weight behind fighting this pandemic.
“This is a health crisis and our sector can play a vital role in supporting our NHS by restoring the nation’s physical and mental resilience in the face of this terrible virus.
“We call on the government to deliver the urgent fiscal, taxation and regulatory support required to save sports and activity providers across the UK from disappearing from our communities at the time they are needed most.”
Lisa Wainwight, CEO of the Sport and Recreation Alliance, said: “The strength of this coalition from the sports, recreation and activity sector cannot be ignored in its public call to the Prime Minister.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has put an incredible strain on our sector, which was forced to close for a prolonged period.
“It is imperative that our sector gets the support it requires from the government to get back to business, in order to ease the pressures on the NHS and play a central role in our nation’s recovery from COVID-19.”
The letter to the Prime Minister can be found here.
The full list of signatories can be found below:
|Pete Ackerley||British American Football|
|Jane Allen||British Gymnastics|
|Justin Andrews||You Fit|
|Craig Anthony||British Wrestling|
|Simon Bailey||Serco Leisure|
|David Bibby||Everyone Active|
|Jason Brautigam||British Dressage|
|Mark Bullingham||Football Association|
|Peter Burt||Inspiring Healthy Lifestyles|
|Bill Bush||Premier League|
|Béatrice Butsana-Sita||Greenhouse Sports|
|Marcus Capel||The Pony Club|
|Joanna Coates||UK Athletics|
|Jon Cockcroft||Bowls England|
|Fran Connolly||England Netball|
|Laura Cordingley||Chance to Shine|
|Mark Coups||England Lacrosse|
|Dave Courteen||Mosaic Spa and Health Clubs|
|Richard Darwin||The Gym Group|
|Andrew Denton||Outdoor Industries Association|
|Lisa Dodd-Mayne||University of Warwick|
|Michelle Draper||British Ice Skating|
|David English||AJ Products|
|Mike Evans||EFL Trust|
|Tim Fawke||Snowsport England|
|John Fletcher||Northampton Leisure Trust|
|Peter Gilpin||LED Leisure Management Ltd|
|Kevin Gorman||National Council for Metal Detecting|
|Iain Graham||British Equestrian / British Showjumping|
|Peter Guy||Gym Works|
|Glenn Hall||Parkwood Leisure|
|Dean Hardman||AoC Sport|
|Julie Harrington||British Cycling|
|Tom Harrison||England and Wales Cricket Board|
|Sara Heath||Pentathlon GB|
|James Hicks||British Horse Society|
|Stephanie Hilborne||Women in Sport|
|Si Hill||UK Ultimate|
|James Hope-Gill||Skateboard England / Skateboard GB|
|Ivan Horsfall Turner||Freedom Leisure|
|Phil Horton||Miha Bodytec|
|Councillor James Jamieson||LGA|
|Gethin Jenkins||England Boxing|
|Chris Jones||England Athletics|
|David Joy||British Canoeing|
|Natalie Justice-Dearn||Rounders England|
|Arun Kang||Sporting Equals|
|Peter Kay||Fusion Lifestyle|
|Neil King||Energie Fitness|
|Marcus Kingwell||EMD UK|
|Sophie Lawler||Total Fitness|
|James Lawrence||Lifestyle Fitness|
|Scott Lloyd||Lawn Tennis Association|
|Stuart Margetts||Our People|
|Lee Mason||Active Partnerships|
|Marg Mayne||Mytime Active|
|Paul McPartlan||Places Leisure|
|Ashley Metcalfe||British Weightlifting|
|Sarah Mortiboys||Dallaglio RugbyWorks|
|Jane M Nickerson||Swim England|
|Phil Nunnerley||Endurance GB|
|Tove Okunniwa||London Sport|
|Ali Oliver||Youth Sport Trust|
|John Oxley||Places Leisure|
|Andy Parkinson||British Rowing|
|Rebecca Passmore||Pure Gym|
|Lisa Pearce||British Wheelchair Basketball|
|Matthew Pengelly||Matrix Fitness|
|Nick Pink||England Hockey|
|Brendon Pyle||The Golf Foundation|
|Andy Reed||Sport for Development Coalition|
|Ralph Rimmer||Rugby Football League|
|Scott Rolfe||Halo Leisure|
|Mark Sesnan||Greenwich Leisure Limited|
|Mike Sharrock||Paralmpics GB|
|Bill Sweeney||Rugby Football Union|
|Chris Symons||BH Live|
|Peter Thompson||English Indoor Bowling Association|
|Jeremy Tomlinson||England Golf|
|John Treharne||The Gym Group|
|Chris Turner||GM Active|
|Mark Tweedie||Community Leisure UK|
|Jean-Claude Vacassin||The International Fitness Business Alliance|
|Colin Wagget||Third Space|
|Lisa Wainwright||Sport and Recreation Alliance|
|Ben Wilkins||Good Boost|
|Sue Wilkinson||Association for Physical Education|
|Mark Winder||Goalball UK|
|Tom Withers||Gladstone MRM|
|Keir Worth||England Squash|