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Home > Sport England announces £45million funding as part of new environmental sustainability push

Sport England announces £45million funding as part of new environmental sustainability push

Sport England announces £45million funding as part of new environmental sustainability push

Major new investment to help the sport and physical activity sector respond to climate change has been announced as part of Sport England’s first-ever environmental sustainability strategy.

A package, worth more than £45 million of new National Lottery funding, comes off the back of the new strategy and action plan entitled ‘Every Move’, which was launched today.

This is on top of the £80 million joint investment by Sport England and government in the Swimming Pool Support Fund previously announced to make hundreds of swimming pools across the country more environmentally and financially sustainable.

The money will be used to help more people get active in nature, restore flooded sports pitches and help sports clubs become sustainable.

Research, which forms part of Sport England’s latest Activity Check-in report, reveals three in five adults and children (60%) say extreme weather has harmed their ability to be active.

One in four of the children negatively affected cited the cancellation of PE and games lessons.

Chris Boardman, chairman of Sport England, said: “There is no doubt that our changing climate is already impacting our opportunities, motivation and ability to be active.

“Extreme weather is increasingly making it difficult for us to live healthy, active lives by creating a ‘doom loop’ where people become less motivated and more fearful of injury, with sporting opportunities increasingly cancelled and disrupted.

“Without change now, the government’s target to get 3.5 million more people active by 2030 is very much in jeopardy – and our children will be the ones to suffer most.

“The FA has estimated that 120,000 football games will be lost each year. A third of community pitches are already unplayable for two months of the year due to flooding – and it’s only going to get worse.

“If places to play are unavailable, people will go and do something other than sport and physical activity, leading to small clubs going under and vital community organisations disbanding.”

Chris added: “It’s not too late to make a difference. Today’s strategy launch is a vital moment for the sports and activity sector and together we can unite to fight against the impact of climate change.

“Sport holds a privileged position in our nation’s psyche – it can reach and influence millions of people to tackle this global issue.

“It’s time we moved from informing and encouraging to enabling and requiring, and ensure our language leaves no room for the status quo.

“We know the sector wants Sport England to provide support, guidance, and leadership on this issue and Every Move sets out how we have listened.

“As a contributor to climate change through major events and travel, it’s time for us to become part of the solution.”

A key part of this new strategy is that 130 system partners, including the national governing bodies of all major recognised sports in England, will be required to have robust sustainability action plans in place by March 2027 as a condition of their funding.

Sport England will also work with partners and stakeholders to ensure end-of-life recycling for all newly funded replacement artificial grass pitches from June 2024, as a condition of funding.

Anthony Statham, Head of Operations at Active Sussex, said he welcomed this strategy.

“Active Sussex has been highlighting the importance of environmental sustainability in our sector for the last couple of years, with a focus on it at both our Active Sussex Conference in September 2022 and our Active Sussex Network event in March this year.

“We have also recently highlighted this as an important factor for our partners to consider in any funding bids.

“We look forward to working with more of our partners to see how we can make sport and physical activity in Sussex more sustainable to help protect both our environment for future generations and our industry as a whole.”

You can read the full strategy here.

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