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We Are Not Spectators campaign demonstrates power of London's community sports groups

Senior Communications Officer Andrew Lawton looks back at phase 1 of our 'We Are Not Spectators' campaign and the power of London's community sports group. He discusses the reasons why we launched the campaign, what it has showed us and the lessons for the future

Ordinary people can do extraordinary things and when community sports organisations bring people together, united by a single cause, the results are even more startling.

The impact that organisations have had on Londoners during covid-19, highlighted by the We Are Not Spectators campaign over the past month, has been inspirational.

Everyone has experienced their own difficulties due to the pandemic and the lockdown which started at the end of March was a challenge for the entire city.

But we launched We Are Not Spectators because so many kind and thoughtful Londoners gave up their time throughout the lockdown to make a positive difference to other people’s lives.

It has been a privilege to celebrate their efforts, whether it was running online activity sessions, telephone calls with vulnerable adults or delivering food and care packages to those in need.

The continued resilience of community sport organisations is extremely heartening, especially when they were unable to continue their usual activities with their communities due to the lockdown.

If you haven’t already, I’d strongly encourage you to take time to look through #WeAreNotSpectators on Twitter and Instagram and read the stories of 12 special organisations on our website.

It’s also been great to see so many partners eager to re-open, re-engage their communities, and restart offering physical activity opportunities to London now that restrictions have eased.

I’m sure that the re-opening of gyms, leisure centres and swimming pools on Saturday (25 July) will also be welcomed, and I hope they’re able to thrive as we try to return to some form of normality.

But we cannot be complacent. Sport England data shows there’s been a disproportionate impact on the physical activity levels of certain communities, and we must address this now, before it’s too late.

Already, £200k of National Lottery funding has been committed to tackling these inequalities and London Sport will share the outcomes of the projects we support through that fund in due course.

We must continue to support London’s most vulnerable communities through physical activity and continue to challenge inequality as life returns to normal.

This is an opportunity to build it back better, as my colleague Lorna has outlined previously.

And with organisations and partners throughout London, like those in our We Are Not Spectators campaign, coming together to tackle inactivity, there’s plenty of reasons to be optimistic. 

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London Sport aims to ensure Londoners live happier, healthier lives through sport and physical activity

About London Sport

London Sport aims to ensure more Londoners live happier, healthier lives through sport and physical activity. 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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