Physical activity creates £0.5bn of health savings amid wider £8.75bn social value to London, new research shows


  • New analysis from Sheffield Hallam University Sport Industry Research Centre and published by London Sport shows each £1 invested in physical activity returns £1.48 of social value to London
  • Over 65,000 fewer people experience clinical depression across London as result of participation in physical activity, with over 3.5m fewer instances of accessing mental health services
  • An increase of one million Londoners taking part in physical activity estimated to create additional £1.8bn social value each year for London
  • Full interactive report available at londonsportsroi.org

Participation in physical activity and sport contributes almost £9bn in social value to London each year, according to a new report published today by London Sport.  Good Investments: Physical Activity, Sport and Social Value in London uses a Social Return on Investment (SROI) model developed by Sheffield Hallam University Sport Industry Research Centre (SIRC) to assess the value of sport to London, and shows that for every £1.00 invested in physical activity and sport, £1.48 of social value is created.

Analysed using data from the 2015/16 financial year, the research shows a range of positive outcomes from physical activity in London, including almost £0.5bn of cost savings associated with preventative health[1], £10m through instances of crime averted[2], and over £5bn associated with subjective mental wellbeing among participants and volunteers in sport[3].

The research, conducted by SIRC, also forecasts the increased social value from growing participation rates in London, showing that an increase of one million in the number of physically active Londoners would be expected to create an additional £1.81bn of social value each financial year, returning an overall forecast social value in excess of £10bn per annum.

Commenting on the research, Tim Copley, Director of Insight and Performance for London Sport, said:

We have long understood that participation in physical activity and sport plays a positive role for people across London, but this report, for the first time, quantifies the incredible impact that it has on our city in stark financial terms.

For me, this research makes two things abundantly clear: that investment in initiatives which support increased participation in physical activity in sport represents a sensible economic decision, and that enabling people to be physically active has a positive impact on all aspects of their life; from improved physical and mental wellbeing to social and community benefits.

In publishing this research, we believe that the case for physical activity and sport is further strengthened, and encourage policymakers in all areas to consider seriously the opportunities presented by physical activity and sport.

[1] 36,180 cases of coronary heart disease and stroke; 18,963 cases of Type 2 diabetes; 413 cases of breast cancer; 194 cases of colon cancer; 3,788 cases of dementia; 67,583 fewer people experiencing clinical depression; over 3.5m fewer GP visits; over 3.5m fewer instances of accessing mental health services
[2] 3.164 criminal instances prevented among London males aged 10-24 years, with unit cost saving estimated at £3,168
[3] £3.42bn subjective wellbeing for participants in physical activity and sport, and £2.4bn subjective wellbeing for volunteers in physical activity and sport, creating an estimated £1,161 in subjective wellbeing value for each regular participant in physical activity, and £2.428 in subjective wellbeing value for each active sport volunteer.

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