Our response to the new Sport England strategy
Today, Sport England revealed their new 10-year strategy, Uniting the Movement. It sets out their vision to transform lives and communities through sport and physical activity and identifies the longer-term challenges in the decade ahead. At its heart, their strategy seeks to tackle long-standing inequalities that have existed and been reinforced by the COVID-19 pandemic disruption. Activity Alliance’s Chief Executive responds to our partner's new focus.
Launched via an online event on Tuesday 26 January, the strategy runs through to 2031. It is most immediately focused on supporting the people and organisations delivering grassroots sport and physical activity to cope with the pressure of the pandemic.
They identify for certain people, including disabled people, there’s a clear pattern of low levels of activity. As a result, Uniting the Movement demonstrates Sport England’s focus on providing more opportunities for those who are being left behind.
Barry Horne, Chief Executive at Activity Alliance, said:
“We are delighted to see the emphasis on inclusion, fairness and equity in Sport England’s 10-year strategy. Disabled people remain the least active in our communities and the hardest hit by COVID-19. To have truly positive and welcoming environments, we must have a level-playing field. We must build on the opportunity to do things differently, and one of those is to ensure disabled people are the priority in this movement. We must not allow anything in sport and activity that isn’t inclusive and accessible.
“Every disabled child and adult must feel happy in the range of offers and motivated to be active where they live, in whatever way. This is not a simple task and that’s why we particularly like that the strategy stretches over a decade. Changing huge systemic barriers won’t happen overnight. There are deep-rooted inequalities that impact how active disabled people are. That includes in education, health and the environment. Uniting the movement must work for the disabled person who wants to jog around a local park as much as for the next, who, if talented, can go down that elite pathway.
“We recognise the challenges ahead in recovering from a national crisis and are pleased to see Sport England’s emphasis on putting investment where it is needed most. We, alongside our members, are preparing our strategic plans to drive fairness for disabled people in sport and activity. These plans, working collaboratively with Sport England to embed their new game-changing strategy, mean disabled people can expect fairer, more meaningful opportunities.”