Will a £100m Pilot Get Poorer Communities More Active?

  • Posted on Dec 11, 2017
  • News

It’s no secret that happier children are healthier children. If you were happy as a child it will have had a positive impact on your well-being. It’s also well documented that happier children who enjoy an active and happy lifestyle will have better mental wellbeing too, something we’re very passionate about promoting here at the FSPA.

We recently heard about a great new pilot scheme to be launched by the public body, Sport England, who are sharing a £100M pot of cash to inject some more active and hopefully happier lifestyle choices into areas that need it most.

In poorer communities, activities that many take for granted are rejected in favour of food on the table. It’s hard to believe that this can still be the case in 2017, but it is. The good news is that this pilot is facing the situation head on.

Research carried out by Active Lives Survey suggests that nearly a quarter of the UK are inactive (doing less than 30 minutes of exercise a day).

The project’s main aim is to improve that with access to better facilities and activities.

The research also points to those on low incomes, women, older adults, people from certain ethnic groups and those with disabilities who tend to struggle to get active due to financial constraints and other factors in their lives.

The benefit to health in the communities is an obvious one, but as we know, sports and play are great ways to build relationships, and that can only be a great spin-off in a community from this pilot scheme.


Mark Hardy, Chair of our lead play association at the FSPA has said:

“We’re living in a society that’s becoming increasingly divided, and with obesity rising and divisions evident, particularly in deprived areas, we see time after time how a well designed and implemented play and fitness area brings the local community together.

Getting involved in the early consultation process through to implementation brings diverse members of these communities together, and once built it is truly heart-warming to see the community come together socially around the children playing and being active together.”


Mark Kirkup, Chief Executive Officer of the FSPA commented that:

“Pilot schemes such as this are incredibly important to the ongoing work of improving and introducing sports and play into communities.

The sad reality is that not everyone has access to good facilities although we hope that one day this won’t be the case. Good luck to the fortunate communities involved in this pilot programme who I’m sure will benefit from it greatly.”



We’re very excited to see this pilot get rolled out to the first 12 chosen places in the UK and trust that the process will be a great success

The benefit to the communities, particularly the young people who don’t currently have access to great sports and play facilities, is obvious to us.

The 12 places selected by Sport England partners, including Public Health England, are:

  1. Birmingham and Solihull
  2. Bradford
  3. Calderdale
  4. Doncaster
  5. Essex
  6. Greater Exeter
  7. Greater Manchester
  8. Hackney
  9. Pennine Lancashire
  10. Redcar & Cleveland and Middlesbrough
  11. Southall
  12. Withernsea


The lottery-funded pilot gives struggling communities a ray of hope to bring them together in a way only sport can. “I’ll be watching the pilot and the eventual results with much interest.

The scheme is tackling an issue in sports and play in communities that’s very close to our heart, and we wish all 12 of the chosen communities the best of luck. We’re excited to see what we can learn from this and apply it to our ongoing work in the sector.

Happier and healthier communities can only be a good thing for everyone, right? Well done to Sport England and the partners involved in this bold and hopefully ground-breaking pilot.

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