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London Sport’s Urgent Plea to Mayoral Candidates: End the Capital’s Inactivity Crisis

London Sport’s Urgent Plea to Mayoral Candidates: End the Capital’s Inactivity Crisis

Manifesto launches as new stats reveal how millions of Londoners’ health and wellbeing are at risk due to shocking inactivity levels. 

London Sport’s manifesto challenges all London Mayoral candidates to adopt 5 policy asks to build a healthy and active city.  

Charity’s manifesto includes calls to protect London’s swimming pools, make public spaces safe for women and girls to be active, and remove draconian “no ball game” signs across the capital. 

London Sport, a charity tackling inactivity and inequality in the capital, has launched a new manifesto ahead of the 2024 London Mayoral Elections.  

The document, titled “Let’s Move London: A Manifesto for a Healthier and More Active City”, challenges all Mayoral candidates to commit to five key policy asks aimed at tackling the capital’s inactivity crisis.  

The manifesto launch coincides with the release of a new report that unveils shocking inactivity levels among Londoners. The data, sourced from Sport England’s Active Lives Survey, shows that just over a third of adult Londoners (35.8%) are not achieving the recommended levels of physical activity and that London has not yet fully recovered to pre-pandemic levels of activity (35.5%). The report also shows that approximately 2.6m adults in the capital area have higher risk of obesity, poor mental health, cancer, stroke and heart disease – all as a result of inadequate activity levels.  

The policies outlined in London Sport’s manifesto offer an opportunity to tackle the inactivity crisis, with specific asks to the next Mayor of London to prevent widespread closures of swimming pools, ensure public spaces are accessible and safe for women and girls to be active, and create outdoor spaces for large development that encourage ball games and other activities that best serve local communities.  

Speaking about the manifesto and new inactivity figures, Emily Robinson, Chief Executive of London Sport, said: 

“This report paints a stark picture of the health and wellbeing of millions of Londoners. With 1 in 6 premature deaths caused by inactivity, we are facing a public health catastrophe that urgently needs to be addressed. That’s why our manifesto is a critical call to action to the Mayoral candidates.  

We must help children build an active habit for life, we must make our parks safe for women and girls, we must protect our pools and sports facilities, and we must break the barriers to sport and physical activity for communities who already face the greatest challenges of inequality.  

We urge the candidates to sign up to these policies to not only improve the health of Londoners, but also help tackle the climate crisis, improve mental health of young people, boost the economy and save the NHS money”.

London Sport’s manifesto also aims to address the wide inactivity gaps between different groups which have been exacerbated by the pandemic and the current cost-of-living crisis. Communities who have been worst impacted by these events include lower socio-economic groups (who are 20% more likely to be inactive compared to higher earners) and ethnic minority individuals (with Black and Asian groups 10% more likely to be inactive than White groups).  

Women in London are also far more likely to be inactive compared to men (27% vs 22.5%), in part due to safety concerns and lack of adequate provision. To tackle these barriers, one of London Sport’s key asks centres around offering a wider range of accessible equipment and facilities in parks and other public spaces, and ensuring that these spaces also provide a safe environment for women and girls to be active.  

The manifesto and the policy asks within it have also been supported by a number of regional and national organisations, including Swim England, Women in Sport, ukactive, and the Centre for London. 

The five key policy asks in the manifesto include: 

  1. Planning for new developments: Further embed physical activity, mental health and wellbeing into the blueprint for planning and design of major developments, including private and social housing.
  2. Making better use of London’s spaces: Provide incentives to enable and encourage the use of underutilised and vacant spaces to better serve local communities.
  3. Future-proofing youth sport and physical activity: Protect and future-proof sport and physical activity provision for young Londoners.
  4. Promoting walking and wheeling to school: Enable schools, parents, and children to promote and participate in walking, cycling and manually scooting to school safely and help foster healthy active habits for life.
  5. Creating environments that ensure women’s safety: Support local authorities to ensure safe access to green and public spaces for women and girls to be active. 

To read the full manifesto, please click here 

To read the report on London’s inactivity figures, please click here 

For more information about London Sport, the manifesto and the report, or for any other media enquiries, please contact [email protected] 


About London Sport 

London Sport is a charity that exists to help all Londoners live longer, healthier and happier lives through being active.  

Our focus is on children and adults in the most deprived communities who face the greatest challenges of inequality. With physical inactivity responsible for 1 in 6 premature deaths, we want to help every Londoner find their way to move more.  

We are supported by Sport England and the Mayor of London, and collaborate with London’s local authorities and other organisations to provide better access to sport and physical activity across the capital.  

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

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