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A woman takes part in a Box-Fit session in a local park
A woman takes part in a Box-Fit session in a local park

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New project to address impact of covid-19 on physical activity levels for BAME and lower socio-economic groups

Efforts to address the impact of covid-19 on physical activity levels for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) and lower socio-economic groups (LSEG) have been boosted with the announcement of a new project to be delivered by London Sport under commission from Sport England.

The project, which will use digital marketing and advertising tactics to target BAME and LSEG communities, provides encouragement and practical advice to help support new exercise habits as the impact of covid-19 continues to be felt across the country.

Data from Sport England shows that BAME and LSEG communities have seen activity levels disproportionately affected by the covid-19 outbreak and lockdown restrictions introduced through March, April and May.

At the lowest point in late April, just 27% of adults from lower socio-economic backgrounds were meeting recommended levels of regular physical activity, while between 3 April and 11 May, less than a quarter of adults that identify as Black were meeting recommended activity levels.

While these inequalities have been thrown into sharp relief by the impacts of covid-19, they are also not new.

Data from the last Active Lives survey released before lockdown took effect showed that people from lower socio-economic groups are substantially less likely to be physically active than those from higher socio-economic groups, while both Black and Asian adults are less likely to be active than white adults.

This new initiative will seek to address these inequalities in some of the areas in which they have been most acutely felt in recent months, developing locally tailored promotion and offers linked to the successful Couch to 5k programme and home-based exercise offers.

Key findings from the project will be used to shape future recommendations, including opportunities for further rollout in new locations, and practical guidance for the wider grassroots sport sector to help address long-term challenges in raising levels of participation.

Chris Norfield, Digital Marketing Lead for London Sport, said:

We are proud and excited to have been commissioned by Sport England to work on this project to address the significant inequalities that exist around physical activity.

“While recent events have made us all more aware of these inequalities, we know that this is just one part of a far wider effort to support more people of every background and ability to take part in physical activity, exercise and sport.

“We know that there are many barriers that prevent different communities of Londoners from enjoying the huge mental and physical benefits of an active lifestyle; by taking a targeted approach to supporting these communities, we hope to identify real, practical solutions that can have an impact now and in the future.

“There has never been a more important moment to begin this work, and we look forward to getting underway.”

Chris Perks, Executive Director of Local Delivery, Sport England, said:

"The launch of this new project in collaboration with London Sport is hugely important and will target important audiences, Black Asian Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities and those from lower socio-economic groups.

"We want to work together to help reduce the inequalities we know exist and this timely investment aligns with our ambition to improve the opportunities to help empower BAME communities to be active - and Sport England are delighted to support this key investment.

"As community sport slowly but surely begins to return in phases, it is crucial that we bring everyone along on the journey when it comes to having the opportunity to be active, and this project will be key in the process of reaching and informing these groups who reside in London.”

Findings from the project will be made available by London Sport and Sport England in the coming months. For more information on Sport England’s research into the impacts of covid-19 on physical activity levels, click here.

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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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