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Sport England’s Active Lives report 2022

This news story explains the results of Sport England’s latest Active Lives survey, which measures the activity levels of people across England.

Sport England, the arms-length body of government responsible for growing and developing grassroots sport and getting more people active across England, released their latest Active Lives Adult Survey.

It spans the period from November 2020-to 2021. This includes five months of notable restrictions (two-and-a-half months of full national lockdowns and two-and-a-half months of significant restrictions) and seven months of limited restrictions (three months of easing restrictions and four months with no legal restrictions).

The survey reveals that the activity gap between Disabled people and non-Disabled people’s activity levels has stalled. As Disabled people have been disproportionally impacted by the pandemic and continue to face barriers, including participation in sport and physical activity, this is worrying news.

The report highlighted that:

  • Activity is less common for Disabled people or those with a long-term health condition* (45%) than those without (66%)
  • Disabled adults or those with long-term health conditions remain less likely overall to volunteer to support sport and physical activity (12%) compared to non-disabled people (15%)
  • Disabled people are amongst those with the highest levels of loneliness are the groups that have seen the greatest increases, with 18% reporting feelings of loneliness.

Although the barriers that prevent Disabled people’s access to sport and physical activity are coming down, progress has been too slow. At Get Yourself Active we believe the report shows the continued importance of organisations working collaboratively to tackle these inequalities and the sport sector ensuring they are flexible in their approach.

Co-production and working in partnership with Disabled people are essential to increase opportunities and ensure that Disabled people are not left behind. Disabled people deserve more, and we want to see this change happen quickly.

Anna Denham, Get Yourself Active Programme Manager said:

“The report clearly highlights that access to sport and physical activity reflects more than just the physical health of our nation. It is very troubling that rates of loneliness are higher among Disabled people, or those with long-term health conditions, than they are among non-Disabled people, especially when people are inactive.

We believe that the survey, therefore, shows why the continued development of grassroots organisations and community sport and physical activity is vital. They are crucial spaces to support Disabled people to exercise their right to get active and have fun and be part of a community.

We continue to support Sport England’s Uniting the Movement Strategy, which has tackling inequalities for Disabled people, and other underrepresented communities, at its heart and won’t stop until we see these disparities in activity levels disappear.”

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