Social and economic value of community sport and physical activity in England

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Social and economic value of community sport and physical activity in England

Sport England commissioned the Sport Industry Research Centre at Sheffield Hallam University to calculate the social impact and the economic importance of sport and physical activity in England. They published their report in August 2020 with the headline that “Every £1 spent on community sport and physical activity generates nearly £4 for the English economy and society”.

The findings, show that investment creates a return across health and social care, improves wellbeing, builds stronger communities and develops skills in the economy.

The report argues that investing in community sport and physical activity plays an important role in boosting the economy and provides the opportunity to help level up inequalities within communities, and build a healthier, happier and more prosperous society generating £3.91 in value for every £1 spent.

Report Executive Summary

Over the last three years, Sport England has focused on bringing together evidence on the contribution of community sport and physical activity to the five outcomes identified in the Government’s strategy Sporting Future. These are physical wellbeing, mental wellbeing, individual development, social and community development, and economic development.

Sport England’s aim was to assess the evidence base with a view to demonstrating the contribution of community sport and physical activity to the outcomes. Building on this foundation and other previous work, Sport England commissioned the Sport Industry Research Centre (SIRC) at Sheffield Hallam University to quantify the social and economic impact of community sport and physical activity. There are two complementary parts to the research. Part one measures the social impact (including physical and mental health) of sport and physical activity while part two measures the economic importance.

Together, both parts enable Sport England to demonstrate the contribution of sport and physical activity to the five government outcomes. The research revealed that the combined social and economic value of taking part (participating and volunteering) in community sport and physical activity in England in 2017/18 was £85.5bn. When measured against the £21.85 billion costs of engagement and providing sport and physical activity opportunities, for every £1 spent on community sport and physical activity, a return on investment (ROI) of £3.91 was created for individuals and society in 2017/18.

Report Recommendations

The findings of this research demonstrate that community sport and physical activity generate significant social and economic value to England, and in doing so contribute to the five government outcomes identified in Sporting Future.

This is a powerful message to share with stakeholders, including government, to demonstrate and broaden understanding of the contribution of sport and physical activity to society. We believe that the SROI analysis for sport and physical activity should be reviewed and updated periodically to reflect the latest evidence. This work should also provide a basis to identify where evidence building is needed and to inform future research and insight priorities.

Although it provides a national, overarching picture, this model will not meet the needs of all our partners and stakeholders with their specific responsibilities (for particular local areas, activities or audiences). However, it is important that the sector presents coherent and consistent arguments about its contribution to social and economic value. Without coordination, inconsistency of approach could also lead to inefficient duplication of effort. For these reasons, we have developed some guiding principles we urge partners to consider when undertaking similar work. We hope this enables the sport and physical activity to make the most compelling case for sport for the benefit of everyone.

Read the Full Report

For more information and to read the full Sport England summary report please click the link below:

Social and economic value of sport and physical activity – Summary

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