In the years since London Sport was founded, in 2014, physical activity and sport have seen many changes both here in London and across the country. One thing that remains the same, though, is our commitment to making London a more active city which, we believe, will improve lives and ensure London develops as a healthy, happy and more prosperous city.
When we took the decision to develop a new strategy to guide our work for the coming years, we were clear that our core vision must remain the same. Becoming an active city will improve the health and wellbeing of all Londoners.
Twelve months after our strategy has launched, with a new Chief Executive Officer in place and the long-term effect of living with Covid-19 becoming even more clear, the key aspirations of our strategy remain in place. London Sport is committed to implementing this strategy.
This strategy focuses unapologetically on the needs of Londoners who, for whatever reason, are unable to achieve recommended levels of physical activity. Our efforts will support those from under-represented and under-served communities who face the most barriers to participation.
There is recognition of the deep impacts of covid-19 on our city and it will take time to tackle the inequalities that have become further entrenched within London.
We must tackle the inequalities that exist in terms of access and opportunity in physical activity and sport but also bring physical activity and sport as a solution to wider societal inequalities, including health.
Physical activity and sport have the power to help people live happier, healthier lives so we will do everything in our power to build a brighter, more active future for London.
Where our last strategy lay the building blocks for a physically active London, our new strategy is about the city’s people, its communities, and its rich diversity. We will work with partners and communities to ensure a future with less barriers and greater access to physical activity and sport across London.
London is in a strong position. We have a world-leading reputation for physical activity, a thriving sporting infrastructure and a real commitment from leaders right across the city to use physical activity to the full extent of its potential.
Now is the time to capitalise on those assets and to drive forward a programme of measures that will help more Londoners to get active, stay active and create an active legacy for generations to come.
London Sport’s strategy exemplifies the ambition, collaboration and adaptability our sector needs to help millions more people reap the rewards of an active life.
Sport and physical activity are essential for our physical and mental health and for bringing communities together. Put simply, when we move, we are stronger. However stubborn inequalities too often deny children’s, adults’ and neighbourhoods’ access to the transformational benefits that being active can bring.
Removing the barriers to activity will be a key priority of Sport England’s own new strategy for the next decade. Our experience shows that Active Partnerships can play a leading role to provide the right options and opportunities for their areas and communities.
Before the pandemic, our nation achieved record levels of activity. Today we are confident that London Sport and their networks will work tirelessly to get that momentum back and change lives for the better in every home, and in every community across our capital.
Taken together, the benefits of physical activity create tangible monetary impacts.
Figures from Social Return on Investment in Sport: A participation wide model for England (Sheffield Hallam University).
We exist to help make London the most physically active city in the world. We believe that physical activity and sport has the ability to change lives for the better and we want to utilise physical activity to help all Londoners live happier, healthier lives.
It is an ambitious goal and it underpins everything that we do. It’s not a goal that we can, should or want to achieve alone. We want to create a movement across the capital, organisations, groups and individuals who share our vision and want to work together to make it happen.
We will work to increase physical activity levels among adults achieving less than the Chief Medical Officer recommended 150 minutes of moderate activity a week. In doing so, we will particularly focus on the most inactive Londoners – those who, for a range of reasons, get less than 30 minutes of activity a week.
It’s important to us that we champion solutions that meet the needs of these less active Londoners and also that we work to reduce the inequalities that persist in people having the opportunities to live active lives.
If we want London to be the most active city in the world, it is essential that the next generation of Londoners are more active than those that came before them.
To do that, we need to ensure they have the best opportunities to be active and the most positive relationship with physical activity that they can. By working to help young Londoners enjoy being active and to feel the benefits for themselves, we stand the greatest chance of helping them to create positive habits that will see them through every stage of their lives.
We will champion the policies and systems that create an environment that helps more people to get active across the whole of London. We’ll also continue to work to bring increased investment to the table that will help to achieve sustainable, long-term improvements in physical activity and sport. We will work to use our influence to make those changes that will have a positive impact on people’s ability to lead an active life.
We know that traditional grassroots sport is a key part of many Londoners’ lives, but we also want to ensure that new approaches are developed, considered and implemented where they can help meet the needs of the least active Londoners. We will work to champion innovation in grassroots sport to help increase overall activity levels.
Our six goals have been designed to work as a single approach that, taken together, will get us closer to making London the most active city in the world. At the heart are our two main outcomes: getting inactive and less active adults active and helping young Londoners to develop positive physical activity habits for life. Our other four goals are the tools to help us make long-term, sustainable change to the ways that people get active now and for years to come.
To achieve our aims, we need to understand much more about the lives of less active Londoners and their relationship with physical activity. We need to walk in their shoes and get a real feel for their attitudes towards physical activity, their motivations to move, the things that are stopping them and the ways they want to get active. Based on extensive research, we have identified seven ‘personas’ which provide an attitudinal segmentation of the adults in London that are not currently active; a deep dive into the attitudes that less active Londoners have today towards physical activity and sport. Taken together, these seven groups represent more than 2.5 million Londoners.
If you’re interested in finding out more of the detailed data on any or all of the seven groups, please do contact us at [email protected]
Developing an understanding of youth personalities helps us to understand the young Londoners we’re trying to reach - what are the defining traits of each personality group? What is their relationship with sport? How do they spend their time?
This helps us to understand how to attract the attention of each personality type, the principles for delivering in the right environment and providing the right type of experience for each personality type. This will help us to encourage young Londoners to stay involved and take part more often.
The ultimate impact we’re aiming for is a sustainable increase in activity levels across London’s population and, critically, a reduction in the inequalities in physical activity and sport that exist across particular parts of London’s communities.
This is what we’re gunning for and we’ll monitor progress towards this intended impact through Sport England’s Active Lives Survey. However, we recognise that we’re one player in a complex web of factors that influence physical activity levels. Our approach seeks to understand more about this broader system, the impact it has and how it can be influenced.
We are consciously implementing ways to learn as much as possible from our work, seeking to understand what works, what doesn’t and why. This is vital to our success and also to our commitment to support other organisations that share our vision by providing robust insight and new learnings.
We know we can’t achieve our goals alone. And that we are only one of hundreds of organisations that believe in the power of physical activity and sport to change Londoners’ lives.
We are fortunate to have a phenomenal network of partners and we want to work even more closely with other groups and organisations from every part of our city to make a real difference to communities right across London and together make London the most active city in the world.
Want to work with us to create a more active London? We’d love to hear from you!