The UK government has now released its new sports strategy: Get Active: a strategy for the future of sport and physical activity. It is the first sports strategy to be published since 2015 and sits alongside the updated School Sport and Activity Plan, published in July.
At the heart of the strategy is a target of getting an additional 3.5 million people (2.5 million adults and 1 million children) – physically active by 2030. Other focus points include tackling inequalities and the creation of a new cross-government National Physical Activity Taskforce to drive the strategy on and track progress against its targets.
Responding to the publication of the strategy, SAPCA CEO, Richard Shaw, said: “We welcome the new strategy and wholly support the aim of getting more people more active more often.
“At SAPCA, we believe that improving the nation’s health and wellbeing through physical activity should be a priority for any government – both at the central and local level.
“One of the best ways to encourage people to get active is to address some of the persistent barriers to participation. Among the main barriers for many in our society is a lack of access to quality, accessible facilities that cater for the needs of communities.
“Sports and play facilities – from outdoor pitches, athletics tracks and ball courts to swimming pools, leisure centres and multi-use games areas – are the engine room of physical activity. We’re delighted that this has been recognised in the strategy. As the government states in the strategy, ‘providing more than just a venue for people to play sport and get active, public leisure and sport facilities also support wider community wellbeing’.
“This is where SAPCA members will play a crucial role, because it is our members who design, plan, build and deliver the facilities that people can get active in. And, as each SAPCA member is committed to delivering their facility projects according to our codes of practice – which set out the standards needed to ensure excellence – they are in a position to ensure each facility is delivered to the highest quality.
“In the strategy, the government rightly identifies that decisions regarding the funding of new and existing facilities should be guided by those who really understand community needs – and can inform what is likely to work. We very much welcome the government’s suggestion that local leaders and local authorities should ensure that there is a clear and well-evidenced facilities plan for each local area.
“We now look forward to seeing how the government’s ambitions set out in the strategy translate into action.
“What we need are delivery plans that focus on achieving the government’s aims of getting those 3.5 million people active. What we already do know, is that sports and play facilities will be at the front and centre of those plans.”