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Young people playing football

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Investment to tackle inequalities will provide lessons for the whole sector

Specialist Advisor for Physical Activity for Health, Barry Kelly, looks at what London Sport hopes to learn from the £200,000 Tackling Inequalities investment into eight London boroughs and how key lessons from the project will benefit the wider sector.

So heavily used in recent months as a result of the impact of the covid-19 global pandemic, “the new normal” is itself becoming something of a paradox.

The sense that we are going to have to do things somewhat differently in terms of how we work, socialise and play presents us all with a real challenge.

And for some, this new normal will likely have a more profound impact than others.

The developing evidence suggests that those who were already experiencing stark levels of inequality will be disproportionally impacted - not just economically, but also their health and wellbeing.

As became apparent during lockdown, and even as the relaxing of these restrictions have taken place, people have had limited access to local outdoor space and no classes at local community and leisure centres.

In the case of people with disabilities, many have found their local support networks decimated, making it all the more difficult to stay active.

To try to address these significant issues, last week we launched details of £200,000 of National Lottery funding, distributed by Sport England, to invest in projects in eight London boroughs.

This investment will ensure that vulnerable Londoners can safely access sport and exercise opportunities as the capital continues to reopen following the covid-19 lockdown.

The Tackling Inequalities Fund will support those most at risk of inactivity due to the impact of covid-19 and will support deaf and disabled people, those with long-term health conditions, older adults, people from lower socio-economic groups, and BAME communities. More details here.

And to ensure this money has the biggest possible impact, London Sport will be sharing our findings with our partners so they can learn from our successes and mistakes.

What we learn from working in these areas, building greater equality within these communities, will supercharge our efforts in the coming months.

We will work to identify what the challenges are for delivery partners and how we might overcome these and what works well throughout the projects.

We’ll aim to pinpoint the key findings, both from our and our partners’ perspectives and from those that participate in physical activity, possibly for the first time.

We want to learn alongside new partners and study how we might make investments like this sustainable and how we measure and demonstrate success for this type of investment.

We hope all these findings will help you and your colleagues across the sector see new and different ways you could do things that strengthen your own work.

We will keep you updated with regular updates as the projects progress, so watch this space.

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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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