Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Why are we not participating in sport?

There was a big piece on BBC Breakfast this morning about how adult participation in sport in the UK has decreased, despite the promised "Olympic Legacy". The Sports Minister is now looking at how funding can be improved in the hope that this will encourage people to take up a sporting activity.

If you scroll down the page I've linked to above you'll find a table which shows the particular types of sport or physical activity which have seen a decrease in participant numbers, and also those which have actually seen an increase. They highlighted some of these on the news this morning and I thought that these figures might actually give some indication of the reasons behind the overall decrease; for example, more people are cycling - could this be because more people are taking it up as a method of transport to work, college, town etc. to save money on their commute? Athletics has also increased - is this anything to do with the free ParkRuns which now happen on Saturday mornings in many towns and cities (including Bedford)? Economic factors surely play a massive part in how and when adults participate in sport; many people simply don't have the spare cash to pay for games or lessons, or court hires, or swimming pool entry, and budgetary pressures in many towns and cities may well have forced local leisure centres to reduce their opening hours or increase their fees.

So what's the solution? The government and Sport England are hoping that an overhaul in funding will help; in the BBC article it is suggested that organisations such as ParkRun will receive more financial support. I think it's free and informal events and activities like these which are likely to encourage adults to take some time out of their busy lives and to give things a go, without feeling pressured financially or personally.

What do you think?

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