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Every £1 spent on physical activity generates around £4 for the economy

By Tom Walker    09 Sep 2020
The study estimates that exercise provides savings of £5.2bn in healthcare and another £1.7bn in social care costs / Shutterstock.com/VGstockstudio

Every £1 spent on community sport and physical activity in England generates £3.91 in return for the economy and society.

A wide-ranging study by the Sport Industry Research Centre at Sheffield Hallam University shows how investment in exercise creates a return across health and social care – and also helps build stronger communities and develop skills.

According to the report – titled Social and economic value

of community sport and physical activity in England and commissioned by Sport England – the social and economic benefits created by physical activity and community sport each year are worth £85.5bn.

An additional £13bn of economic value is also being created through sports-related goods and services annually.

Physical activity also plays an important role in easing the burden on the NHS by preventing a number of serious physical and mental health conditions.

The study estimates that exercise provides savings of £5.2bn in healthcare and another £1.7bn in social care costs – including £450m being saved by preventing 30 million additional GP visits.

"This new research provides evidence that can help local authorities, businesses and the voluntary sector to understand the value of promoting activity, especially as it will play an important part in helping the national to recover from the challenges 2020 has brought,” said Tim Hollingsworth, CEO of Sport England.

"In keeping with a key government priority, this report also highlights how sport has a pivotal role to play in levelling up communities by bridging the gap between the ‘haves and have nots.’

"We would encourage organisations to use this research to better understand the impact that being active can have on the lives of individuals and communities, the delivery of public services and our economy."

The report comes ahead of the Great British Week of Sport – taking place from 19 to 27 September – which is designed to celebrate the value of sport and physical activity to UK communities and includes the World United campaign and National Fitness Day.

The campaign is organised in partnership by ukactive, Sport England, the UK Government and the European Commission and will showcase the variety of sports and activities.

“Physical activity has the power to transform health and social care, improve wellbeing, build stronger communities and change lives – and we will bring these stories to life during the Great British Week of Sport," Huw Edwards, CEO of ukactive.

“As we continue to battle COVID-19, public health must be the Government’s top priority for both society and the economy. By investing in the physical activity sector at this time, we can increase the population’s physical and mental resilience to COVID-19, reduce the burden of underlying health conditions on the NHS, and maximise our contribution to economic recovery.”

• To download and read the full Social and economic valueof community sport and physical activity in England report, click here.

Sport England  study  Sport Industry Research Centre  Sheffield Hallam University  ukactive 
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