Today, Sport England unveiled their new 10-year strategy, Uniting the Movement. The strategy, which runs until 2031, aims to transform lives and communities through sport and physical activity. Improving inclusivity and tackling deep-rooted inequalities is at the core of the strategy, recognising that there are too many people who have been left behind and currently feel excluded from being active, which has been heightened by Covid-19.

As we continue to adapt and rebuild from the pandemic, the strategy recognises the important role sport and physical activity plays in improving the physical and mental health of the nation, supporting the economy, reconnecting communities and rebuilding a stronger society for all.

The strategy highlights five ‘big issues’ that we need to address collectively to make a lasting difference:

1) Recover and reinvent

2) Connecting communities

3) Positive experiences for children and young people

4) Connecting with health and wellbeing

5) Active environments

Access Sport’s vision is to ensure that no one is excluded from the transformational benefits of community sport. Our strategy focuses on working with community organisations and volunteers to engage children and young people in deprived localities. We have developed inclusion specialisms and collaborative partnerships that will enable us to support Sport England’s vision and help level the playing field.

“We are proud to support Sport England’s ambitious new 10-year strategy. The launch represents a pivotal moment in recognising and tackling inequalities so that the powerful benefits of sport and physical activity are shared by all. This is what Access Sport is all about and we look forward to playing our part.” Mark Hardie, CEO Access Sport

Our Youth Board considered the importance of prioritising children and young people within the new strategy, whilst reflecting on the immediate impact of lockdown:

“Growing up I was always involved with sport, both in school and outside of school. It was a way to make friends and learn social skills as well as fundamental skills for later on in my life. It is so important children and young people have the opportunity to take part in sport, whether it’s recreational or competitively as it will provide skills necessary for life after school.”

 “Lockdown has been hard to keep up training and activity levels. Not going to my regular sessions and interacting with people is not beneficial for my mental health. ”

“Sport in lockdown has created new experiences because of using Zoom and doing lots of different types of exercises.”

Georgina Moore from GEM Boccia reflects on the importance of disabled people having access to sport and physical activity opportunities:

“Disabled people have been more isolated than a lot of people during the pandemic, due to their health and lots of them shielding. GEM Boccia Club will always be committed to providing a fully inclusive sport in the community. The way we get everyone to move in some way, be part of a club and socialise with their peers, as many disabled people struggle to have these opportunities in life due to the massive barriers we still face in society. If I had seen people I could relate to playing sport earlier on in life, then I might have discovered Boccia sooner! We hope that Uniting the Movement showcases more fully inclusive sports in future campaigns, such as Boccia, showing those with severe disabilities that you can be active.”