Blog post -
2020 Review of the Year
The year 2020 will be one to remember. There have been challenge but also, positives. At London Sport, we have seen, once again, the incredible impact of the capital's grassroots physical activity and sport sector unite to keep Londoners active. Here, we look back at London Sport’s memorable moments for 2020.
Recognising London’s inspirations
Physical activity and sport’s power to change the lives of Londoners was placed squarely in the spotlight at London’s Guildhall as the glittering London Sport Awards shone a light on the capital’s grassroots sport and physical activity heroes. Carers4Carers lifted The Community Impact Award for their work in Lambeth improving the physical and emotional wellbeing of unpaid carers while Nafisa Patel took Volunteer of the Year and Vanessa Nsilu was the first Inspirational Young Person of the Year. See the full list of winners . Held in early March, the event was a fitting celebration of our incredible grassroots sport and physical activity champions.
FitTech, SportTech and HealthTech supported activity at home
Just a few shorts weeks after the Awards, the national covid-19 lockdown measures were introduced. Importantly a daily stint of exercise remained a valid reason to leave the house but, it was quickly recognised that, for some, getting outside for a daily walk or run was not going to be the solution. Therefore, in collaboration with a host of tech innovators, Sport Tech Hub looked at the role of digital and tech in keeping the country active. They collated a range of free or low-cost physical activity offers and the ‘Active At Home’ database including programmes from Bua Fit, GoodFit and more, was born.
Moving activity classes online
In response to the pandemic, Sport England launched a national campaign to support people to be active in their own homes: #StayInWorkout. As we all started coming to terms with our much-changed lives, and exercise moved into a digital world,we spoke to Marie Page, a digital marketing expert and part-time yoga instructor about her experiences of shifting to online delivery. Marie compared various online platforms for live online training including Facebook Live, Zoom, Skype, YouTube and her tips for delivering online classes.
Managing throughout Covid-19 pandemic
The covid-19 pandemic also saw the creation of the ‘Talking Covid-19 and Sport’ online webinar series hosted by London Sport and the Mayor of London’s Sport Team. The series aimed to provide practical solutions to the challenges faced by the community physical activity and sport sector. The nine-part series heard from experts such as Georgie Frost and Natalie Morris whilst exploring a range of topics from ‘Leadership in Times of Crisis’ to ‘Coping with a Return to Lockdown’. The series is available on demand.
Featuring representatives from more than a dozen of London's community sport groups, our We Are Not Spectators campaign highlighted the incredible impact of the capital's grassroots sport sector. Organisations across the capital were working to keep Londoners active, supporting covid-19 relief efforts, and help people to adapt to changing circumstances across the city. In the summer, our We Are Not Spectators showed people across the country the unique and powerful contribution of grassroots physical activity and sport to physical and mental wellbeing across the capital.
Addressing the impact of covid-19 on physical activity levels for ethnically diverse and LSEG groups
During the first lockdown, data from Sport England was quick to identify that ethnically diverse and lower socio-economic (LSEG) background communities had seen their activity levels disproportionality affected by the covid-19 outbreak and lockdown restrictions. While these inequalities had been thrown into sharp relief by the impacts of covid-19, they were also not new. In partnership with Sport England a project was developed to address this. The campaigns used digital marketing and advertising techniques to target BAME and LSEG communities and provide them with home-based exercises. Findings of the project saw 1.2 million Londoners reached within the first two weeks of July. The full findings can be found here.
Welcoming seven new Trustees to our Board
In July, we welcomed our new Trustees who brought a wide range of experience and specialisms to complements our current Board’s areas of expertise and have helped to enhance our connections with a range of industry stakeholders operating across the capital. The appointments reflected our focus on increasing the diversity of the organisation’s workforce, making us more representative of the communities we serve.
Active London 2020 turned digital
For the first time ever, our Active London conference took place virtually in October. Due to the covid-19 pandemic Active London was a four-day online offering investigating having the inequalities experienced by many Londoners which were thrown into sharp relief by the virus. This gave us an excellent opportunity to welcome a greater number of world-class speakers and attendees, with Active London 2020 offering a varied and thought-provoking agenda whilst exploring inequality, within the physical activity and sport industry. The event highlighted that there are challenges which we, at London Sport, will need to work with a wide range of partners to help to address but our commitment to supporting community physical activity and sport in London is long-term, and, working together, we have a bright future in the capital.
Celebrating our Black Heroes throughout Black History Month
October also provided us with the opportunity to celebrate Black History Month by recognising the past, celebrating the here and now and looking forward to a positive future. This year London Sport staff members reflected on their black sporting heroes at both grassroots and elite level. Heroes included: Gil Heron, Dame Kelly Holmes, Sir Mo Farah, Emerick Kaitell, Dina Asher-Smith and many others.
Sport Tech Hub supports more than 130,000 Londoners to access physical activity
A three-year review released in November found that Sport Tech Hub has helped more than 130,000 Londoners access physical activity in the capital since its launch in 2017. The report found that the ground-breaking London Sport-backed SportTech innovation programme has made significant progress made towards bridging the gap between traditional physical activity organisations and the capital's thriving tech innovation sector in recent years.
It has been a difficult 2020 but helping people to get active and remain active remains one of the most powerful things we can do to our communities’ physical and mental health and their overall wellbeing. We will continue to support the capital in every way we can. We are Not Spectators. We are here for London.