To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the role of council-run recreational facilities such as leisure centres, parks, and green spaces in tackling obesity; and what plans they have to invest in these services to support their continued financial viability.
Exposure to the natural environment and green space is associated with lower levels of obesity and higher levels of physical activity, but there is unequal access across the population, with those living in the most deprived areas less likely to live in the greenest areas. The Government’s 25 Year Environment Plan promotes a sustainable natural environment as a pathway to good health and wellbeing. In the last 2 years Government has also invested £16.3 million on various initiatives to support parks and green spaces, including the Local Authority Parks Improvement Fund; Pocket Parks and Pocket Parks Plus programmes; and the Future Parks Accelerator programme to test and pilot new management and funding models for parks.
Grassroots sports facilities like leisure centres are also important parts of their communities and deliver vital health and wellbeing benefits. Sport England announced a £195 million package of support to help community clubs through this crisis. It recently boosted its Community Emergency Fund by a further £15 million to meet the demand, taking the total up to £210 million. The government are continuing to work closely with the sector to understand the issues they face and discuss how we can support them further.