Every £1 spent on local sport earns £4 for economy, say researchers

Every pound spent on community sport and physical activity generates nearly £4 for England’s economy and society, researchers in Yorkshire have estimated.

Community sport 'pays dividends'

Their findings also reveal that local sport makes an annual contribution of £85.5bn to the country, in the form of social and economic benefits.

The research, commissioned by Sport England from the Sport Industry Research Centre at Sheffield Hallam University, claims that investing in physical activity creates a return in health and social care, improves wellbeing, builds stronger communities and develops skills in the economy.

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It also helps to address inequalities within communities, the analysts say.

Dr Larissa Davies, who led the research, said: “It really demonstrates the wider contribution of community sport and physical activity to society, beyond economic value.

“The research also reveals that sport and physical activity generates significant social value across multiple areas, making it a potentially cost-effective investment for the public sector.”

The social value of investing in sport, including physical and mental health, wellbeing, individual and community development, is estimated at just under £72bn, with £13bn in economic value also generated.

The economic value includes employment for more than 285,000 people in the community sport and physical activity sector.

Tim Hollingsworth, chief executive of Sport England said the figures could help local authorities, businesses and the voluntary sector understand the value of promoting activity.

“It will play an important part in helping the national to recover from the challenges 2020 has brought,” he said.

“Today more than ever community sport and activity has a vital role to play in offering a solution to some of society’s biggest problems like our health, both mental and physical, helping to make life fairer for everyone, and growing and improving our economy.”

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James Mitchinson