New Active Lives data published by Sport England this week reveals that there are now 28.2 million adults achieving 150+ minutes of physical activity each week.

This means that just over 6 in 10 adults (62.6%) are now in the ‘active’ category - an increase of 498,000, or 0.8%.

However, the data continues to highlight disparities between different social classes in terms of their average activity levels, with the aforementioned increases only being evident among individuals from higher socio-economic groups.

Learn more about these issues, at the StreetGames Conference and Awards, this June.

The data showed that:

  • Only 54% of adults from lower socio-economic groups (NS-SEC 6-8) are ‘active’ - achieving 150+ minutes of activity per week. That number increases to 72% among adults from the highest socio-economic groups (NS-SEC 1-2).
  • 33% of adults from lower socio-economic groups (NS-SEC 6-8) are in the ‘inactive’ category i.e. undertaking less than 30 minutes of activity per week, whilst just 16% of adults from the highest socio-economic groups (NS-SEC 1-2) are classed as ‘inactive’.

These disparities have long existed and at a time when there are deep routed inequalities and increasing levels of poverty across the UK, a collaborative leadership approach becomes more important.

Through support from Sport England, StreetGames has built up many years’ of experience in engaging and activating people from lower socio-economic groups. We understand that barriers to participation amongst these groups span multiple issues relating to capability, opportunity and motivation (see below).

  • Capability – for example: not feeling good enough, or feeling too unfit or being embarrassed about their body;
  • Opportunity –for example: having no-one to go with, activities being too expensive, too far away, not knowing where to go or not having the right kit;
  • Motivation –for example: not being interested in activities that are available, being too tired or too busy.

In disadvantaged areas there is often fewer opportunities to take part in sport - fewer voluntary sports clubs, fewer safe places to play and fewer volunteers. This means that young people growing up in disadvantaged areas are often less exposed to sport and have less sporting memories – which impacts on their physical literacy or what StreetGames calls 'Activity know-how', i.e. knowledge, skills, confidence and connections in sport.

Through investment from Sport England and others, organisations within the StreetGames network are working hard to address this – by bringing fun and friendly sporting opportunities to the doorstep of young people living in disadvantaged areas, with opportunities to: try different activities, go to different places, meet new people and spectate at live sports events all of which can help to grow their activity know-how.  

To overcome these barriers requires strong knowledge and insight: to understand the lives of these individuals and the offers that are likely to appeal to them, as well as a broad range of organisations from different sectors that are looking to collectively address this challenge.

Through investment from Sport England and other key partners, StreetGames has built up a wealth of knowledge and understanding about how to activate people from lower socio-economic groups. We are keen to share this knowledge and learning with others to help reverse the current disparities – through practical training workshops, sharing insight and resources, capacity building and on-the-ground activities.

Discover more insights, with StreetGames' extensive collection of case studies, reports and infographics - including our report on the Lessons of Doorstep Sport.

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