Every £1 spent on community sport and physical activity generates nearly £4 for the English economy and society, according to a new research commissioned by Sport England.
A report by the Sport Industry Research Centre at Sheffield Hallam University shows that investment in physical activity creates a return across health and social care, improves wellbeing, builds stronger communities and develops skills in the economy.
Investing in community sport and physical activity plays an important role in boosting the economy and provides the opportunity to help level up inequalities within communities, and build a healthier, happier and more prosperous society generating £3.91 in value for every £1 spent.
The findings also reveal that community sport and physical activity brings an annual contribution of £85.5bn to the country (in 2018 prices) through social and economic benefits.
Its social value – including physical and mental health, wellbeing, individual and community development – is more than £72bn, provided via routes such as a healthier population, consumer expenditure, greater work productivity, improved education attainment, reduced crime and stronger communities.
It also generates more than £13bn in economic value through the sports-related goods and services we consume as a nation.
The findings show how physical activity plays an important role in preventing a number of serious physical and mental health conditions, with the research showing this provided the economy with £9.5bn in value.
Of this amount, £5.2bn was in healthcare savings, while £1.7bn was in social care savings.
More than £3.6bn worth of savings were generated by the prevention of 900,000 cases of diabetes, while a further £3.5bn of value was generated in avoided dementia cases and the related care.
A total of £450m was saved by preventing 30 million additional GP visits.
A further £20bn in value came from stronger and safer communities, including:
· 10,000 fewer crime incidents
· The replacement value of work done by sports volunteers (£5.7bn)
· Improved levels of social trust, belonging and community engagement (£14.2bn).
“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,” said Tim Hollingsworth, chief executive of Sport England.
“This new research provides evidence that can help local authorities, businesses and the voluntary sector to understand the value of promoting activity, especially as it will play an important part in helping the national to recover from the challenges 2020 has brought.”