London aims to be the most physically active city on the planet
A new not-for-profit sports organisation with a £5.5m budget to improve sports facilities and inspire more Londoners to be physically active was unveiled in the capital today.
London Sport will ensure London continues the legacy of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, and inspire one million Londoners to be more physically active by 2020.
London Sport was today unveiled at the Westminster Boating Base by the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, and the Chief Executive of Sport England, Jennie Price.
There are multiple benefits for London in getting people more active:
o There is an annual health benefit value of £11.2 billion*
o In 2008 sport generated £2.6 billion for the London economy**
o Fit employees are more productive and have fewer sick days than sedentary employees. Exercise can reduce absenteeism by 23.5% and staff turnover can be reduced by 16%***
London Sport’s vision is to get one million people more active by 2020 and to ensure London becomes the most physically active city in the world. London Sport is in discussions with Loughborough University to develop an index comparing levels of participation amongst Olympic and Paralympic host cities.
The Mayor of London and Sport England are investing over £5.5million a year into London Sport to help it achieve its ambitions.
London Sport has set out the principles of its work in its new strategy:
o investing £5.5million in grassroots sport and physical activity projects across the capital
o unlocking and sharing insight and knowledge of grassroots sporting and physical activity habits gained from delivering sports programmes in London
o influencing the public and private sectors to provide increased funding - with a target by 2018 for London Sport’s annual income to have increased to £10million - for London Sport to pass on to grassroots sport and physical activity in London.
The Mayor of London also announced a further £1million investment into his Sports Legacy Programme over the next 12 months to help to deliver the ‘Blueprint for a Physically Active Sporting City’. The Mayor’s Sports Legacy Programme, set up in 2009 and spearheaded by the Mayor's Commissioner for Sport Kate Hoey, is supporting London’s promise of an Olympic and Paralympic legacy by investing £22.5m in projects across every London borough and creating hundreds of thousands of opportunities for Londoners to get into sport. London Sport will bring together the Mayor of London and Sport England into a formal partnership for the first time.
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson said: “Through my Sports Legacy Programme, we have already been able to refurbish or upgrade more than 100 sports facilities; trained 13,000 more sports coaches; and got almost 400,000 more people playing sport. I look forward to working alongside London Sport and helping hundreds of thousands more Londoners to get active, try something new and lead healthier lifestyles.”
Kate Hoey MP, the Mayor of London’s Sports Commissioner and Chair of the London Sport Board said: “The launch of London Sport marks a hugely significant moment for grassroots sport in London. Both Sport England and the Mayor through his Sports Legacy Programme have been doing tremendous things to encourage more people to be physically active, but now, with shared ambition and vigour, we hope to make London the most physically active city on the planet.”
Results from Sport England’s latest annual Active People Survey indicate an that over the Olympic and Paralympic period (2011 – 2013) there was an upward trend in people taking part in physical activity and sport in the capital. The challenge for London Sport is to accelerate the levels of growth over the next five years.
Peter Fitzboydon, CEO of London Sport, said: “London has proven it can host the most prestigious sports events in the world, now it is time to prove that we can deliver for grassroots sport. Not enough people are realising the benefits of being physically active and our role is to work out why, and do whatever is needed to give everyone the opportunity to be more active.. Our team will help the private and public sectors offer opportunities to people of all ages and abilities to find an activity that inspires them – from parkour to pilates to pentathlon. There is an activity for everyone; our job is to make sure opportunities to be active inspire and reach many more people.”
Jennie Price, Sport England’s Chief Executive, said: “I am confident London Sport will make a real difference. As a rapidly growing city with a reputation for hosting fantastic sporting events, London has a major role to play in Sport England’s ambition to get more people active. But Londoners also face significant challenges, including pressure on open space and the cost of living.
“That is why we need a single, strong and creative sports partnership, with in-depth knowledge of the grassroots and focused on making it easier for people to play sport and exercise.
“This blueprint sets ambitious targets to make London the most physically active sporting city in the world which sets exactly the right standard and will be a great way to continue the legacy from the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.”
* Sport England, Value of Sport Monitor
** Sheffield Hallam University, 2008
*** BUPA, 2012