Sports: Rural Areas

Department for Culture, Media and Sport written question – answered at on 23 October 2023.

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Photo of Neil Hudson Neil Hudson Conservative, Penrith and The Border

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, what steps her Department is taking to support sports clubs in rural areas.

Photo of Stuart Andrew Stuart Andrew Assistant Whip, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport), Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Equalities)

We know that active people are fitter, happier and healthier - which is why in our new Sport Strategy - 'Get Active’ - we set out an ambitious strategy to boost our national health by getting 3.5 million extra active people by 2030. This includes bold targets to reach communities with the lowest levels of physical activity.

The Government provides the majority of support for grassroots sport through our Arms Length Body, Sport England. Since 2019, we have invested over £773,000 in the Penrith and Borders area supporting projects such as the refurbishment of the Hunsonby Community Centre, the Wigton Baths Trust and the Castle Park tennis project. A further £50,000 has been invested in the area as part of the Multi-Sports Grassroots Facilities Investment programme, providing funding for new goalposts, floodlights and improving grass pitch surfaces.

Building on their 12 local delivery pilot areas in areas such as Withernsea, Sport England is expanding their place-based work so that at least 75% of their investment is committed to areas with the lowest levels of physical activity and social outcomes.

Sport England are using a range of data sources to inform this approach, including physical activity data from the Active Lives Surveys as well as wider social data including IMD, community need and health inequalities data. These datasets help to identify a range of communities, including rural communities, across England that need support to become more active.

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