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Welsh sport creating social value of £3.4bn each year

By Tom Walker    02 May 2019
Sport participation saved the Welsh NHS an estimated £295m in 2016-17 through reduced risks associated with heart disease and other lifestyle illnesses.

Every £1 invested in sport in Wales creates a return of £2.88, according to a report by the Sport Industry Research Centre (SIRC) at Sheffield Hallam University.

The Social Return on Investment (SROI) report estimates that the £1.2bn invested in Welsh sport during 2016-17 created £3.4bn in social value.

The report – the first to measure the wider contribution sport makes in the country – shows that social value is being generated in a number of ways.

One of these is the savings made in healthcare needs through participation in sport – estimated at £295m per annum. The value is generated from reduced risks associated with heart disease, stroke, cancer, Type 2 diabetes and dementia.

It is also generated from improved good health, which leads to reduced GP visits.

A breakdown of the overall £3.4bn figure shows the social value of enhanced social capital is £651.47m; enhanced education is £91.15m and reduced crime is £2.17m.

"The heartening news is that, as with previous SROI sport studies, the estimates presented in the Wales SROI study are conservative," said Sport Wales' head of insights and policy Owen Hathway.

"The value of sport to Wales is likely to be even greater.

"However, what we see is how the findings showcase the impact of sport in Wales. How sport can, and does, support health outcomes, employability, social cohesion, the volunteer sector, crime prevention and beyond.

"It makes a strong case for continued investment into sporting initiatives and pathways, as well as collaboration with partners to see even more results."

Commenting on the estimated £295m annual savings sport contributes to the NHS in Wales, Sport Wales CEO Sarah Powell said: "There are some brilliant examples throughout Wales which see sport and health working together to get more people, more active.

"These figures show the benefit of sport and physical activity to the health budget, but behind the figures are countless stories of individuals who have been able to improve their health and quality of life by taking part in sport.

"It's vital that we continue to work together to ensure that there are projects across Wales to support everyone in preventing chronic diseases and to help people recover effectively from illness.

"At Sport Wales we are committed to working with partners who share our ambition of an active nation - a joint approach is vital to improving the health and wellbeing of everyone across Wales, and we are excited that through initiatives such as the Healthy and Active Fund we can do more work across sectors in the future."

To read the full report , click here.

Sport Wales  Sport Industry Research Centre  SIRC  Sheffield Hallam University 
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