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The London Sport team at the London Sport Awards in December
The London Sport team at the London Sport Awards in December

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2021: London Sport’s Year in Review

2021 has been a year of varying restrictions due to covid-19 but the commitment and dedication of the sport and physical activity remained undimmed we have seen, once again, the incredible impact of the capital’s grassroots physical activity and sport sector united in keeping Londoners active. Here, we look back at London Sport’s most memorable moments of 2021.

Keeping Londoners healthy to begin the new year

England’s third national lockdown came into effect on Monday 4 January throwing into sharp relief the vital role of exercise and physical activity in boosting mental health. Luckily, through campaigns like RED January, London Sport staff and 5,000 Londoners were able to build a community of support which inspired to help people get active, discuss mental wellbeing and raise £25,000 for Sport in Mind. 

Putting young people front and centre

Shortly after, we saw nearly £70,000 of Sport England Satellite Club Funding distributed to support young women. Starting in January but continuing throughout the year, London Sport worked closely with organisations including Triple Double, London Youth and Sported to support the creation of exciting online delivery activities in the absence of face-to-face sessions. The various programmes, which included table tennis, martial arts, dance and cycling, went live in January with many offers beginning online due to covid-19 restrictions. 

Reaffirming our commitment to make London the Most Active City

Just a few short weeks after January, we reaffirmed our commitment to make London the most active city. LDN Moving, our second organisation-wide strategy, was a call-to-arms to improve the lives of Londoners through physical activity and sport. The strategy outlines London Sport's six key focuses for the coming years, all built around the desire to support those currently unable to meet recommended physical activity levels.

Commercial partners back our new LDN moving strategy

The release of our strategy appealed to commercial partners, who hoped to support our broader goals. Global healthy eating restaurant, Chipotle, was the first to show their commitment in a partnership that has seen grassroots sport and physical activity heroes in London through our Chipotle Community Champion Campaign. In August, Gympass, the world's largest corporate wellbeing platform, joined as an active member of London Sport's network and celebrated the incredible achievements of Londoner's who make our mission a reality.

Couch to Fitness reaches landmark of 100,00 sign-ups

In line with our release of LDN Moving, Couch to Fitness reached a landmark of 100,000 sign-ups. The programme, designed by Our Parks with support from Sport England and London Sport, successfully appealed to the ethnically diverse communities with 46% of active users from this audience. The landmark of 100,000 users was seen as a significant success for London Sport and Sport England's digital marketing campaigns that promoted the programme throughout the past six months.

Welcoming the return of indoor sport as lockdown restrictions eased

Fast forward to July, and with restrictions eased, we distributed grants to schools to support them open or re-open their school facilities outside of school hours for local young people. By distributing grants of up to £10,000 to schools in areas of high deprivation and high obesity levels, we helped the capital's children rediscover and maintain an active lifestyle throughout the summer. The funding came from the Department for Education via Sport England and supported 84 schools receive up to £10,000.

Active London 2021 returns as a free-to-attend digital event

Following a hugely successful transition from in-person to an online event last year, Active London returned to support the capital with a digital series of inspirational keynotes, engaging panel discussions and interactive workshops. Hosting a range of speakers like Georgia Gould, Co-Chair of the London Recovery Board, Claire Harvey Paralympian and Global Inclusion Lead at Vodafone and the Mayor of London's Walking and Cycling Commissioner Will Norman, 40 industry experts and over 600 delegates joined us to discuss how we can build a brighter future for London and Londoners.

Accelerating change through activity packs

In late August, London Sport gave a helping hand to Newham residents looking for quick and easy ways to exercise by distributing 1,000 Activity Packs across the borough. The Activity Packs allowed Children and their parents to exercise at home, or if the weather allowed, move out into one of London's parks and open spaces. Alongside the packs, London Sport provided access to coaching sessions where recipients could test out the equipment and learn game ideas to make full use of the equipment.

London Sport Consultancy refresh secures support of Hillingdon Council

In October, London Sport Consultancy was re-commissioned by Hillingdon Council to support the development of a borough-wide physical activity and sport strategy. London Sport Consultancy, who have a strong history of working with the council, had previously explored the key behavioural and socio-economic indicators of inactivity within the boroughs. This time, the project hoped to help the council create opportunities for more residents to live healthier, more active lifestyles by identifying opportunities to align key areas of council departments and work towards joint objectives. 

Celebrating London's grassroots sport and physical activity sector 

Though 2021 had presented the capital with several challenges, we concluded the year with the London Sport Awards supported, for the second year running, by the City of London Corporation. This year we celebrated with an in-person ceremony at the stunning Guildhall on Monday 6 December. Our finalists and winners were entertained by a night of glamour which recognised the incredible work of those who put all their efforts into making London the most active city in the world. 

Exciting plans for 2022

To conclude 2021, we announced Emily Robinson as our new Chief Executive Officer. Emily arrived from UKAD, where she had spent four months as interim CEO, previously being their Director of Strategy and Education. Robinson will join the organisation in February when she’ll become London Sport's third CEO following the departure of Tove Okunniwa to the BBC in July.

In another turbulent year helping people get active and remain active remains one of the most powerful things we can do for our communities' physical and mental health and their overall wellbeing. In the new year, we will continue supporting the capital in every way we can. 

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Andrew Lawton

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London Sport aims to make London the most physically active city in the world.

About London Sport

London Sport aims to make London the most physically active city in the world. Supported by the Mayor of London and Sport England, our target is to get Londoners more physically active.

For more information on London Sport, visit www.londonsport.org

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