Participation in sport and physical activity offers a wealth of social, economic and health benefits. The UK Government recognises this and through their hard work with The Department Of Culture, Media and Sport, Sport England, UK Sport, National Governing Bodies and the wider sectors, have attempted to steer the UK towards greater participation.
In 2013 Sport England introduced the latest draft of The Whole Sports Plan. A 4 year plan with an opportunity for 46 National Governing Bodies to apply for a slice of upward of £400m of central Government funding with one aim in mind, more people participating in sport more often. Whilst there have been recent success stories in Tennis, Cycling, Swimming and Boxing which has led to a spike in participation levels, the recent statistics and research studies from the Active People and Taking Part Surveys only serve to highlight the huge challenges faced by the associated agencies and departments to achieve their goals.
At this present time it is estimated that physical inactivity is costing the NHS an estimated £7.4bn per year and the health of one in two women and a third of all men in England is at risk due to a lack of regular exercise. This is a problem that requires a long-term solution, a cultural shift that centres around an evidence based approach, building on what we know works. We need to embed physical activity into the fabric of daily life, making it an easy, cost effective and 'normal' choice in every community in the United Kingdom.
The sporting landscape is set for change. In August 2015, the DCMS introduced a consultation paper entitled ‘A New Strategy For Sport’, which will pave the way for a new and innovative approach to how we as a nation perceive sport and physical activity. The consultation paper welcomes views on what actions should be taken by Government, Sport England and the wider sector in order to achieve a long-term sustainable increase in physical activity in the UK.
The DCMS realise that to influence the sports sector and to get people of all ages more active they need to reach out and raise awareness around the subjects of behaviour change, funding, social inclusion, communication, marketing and the many health associated conditions associated with inactivity.
In the lead up to our Why Sports conference our community will be encouraged to debate current governance, future partnerships, and funding streams. Identifying the success and failures of the 13-17 plans to date, and how best Local government and the third sector can provide assistance and support towards the participation goals both current and future.
The WHY Sports Annual Conference will serve as a platform to promote professional dialogue via inspired presentations whilst dissecting and debating the current issues and problems faced. The conference will provide opportunities for the leaders and their delivery agents to come together to share their experience whilst our online forums and social media groups will enable 12 months of interaction pre and post the consultation and conference.