Impact of C19 will form part of new sport strategy

THE council has proposed exploring the impact of COVID-19 on mental health and the positive role of physical exercise as part of a new sporting strategy.

Council officers have been actively engaging with the Department for Communities in relation to the Strategy for Sport 2020–2030.

The Strategy for Sport aims to build on the successful foundations of the Sport Matters Strategy which was published in 2009 and continues to guide Government policy on sport and physical activity.

The new strategy is due to be published in March 2021 and is being developed through a process of co-design with a wide range of stakeholders including councils and local Community Planning Partnerships.

The council’s Head of Leisure attended the partnership’s September meeting, setting out an initial draft of the proposed council response to the survey.

A number of issues emerged from the subsequent discussion which have been incorporated into the new draft response.

These include, inevitably, the impact of COVID-19 on mental health and the role of physical activity in helping with mental health, financial challenges and impact on programming and facilities.

Other proposals include increasing participation in sporting and non-sporting physical activities and encouraging new entrants into physical activity through non-traditional routes like Parkrun, Couch 2 5k and, open water swimming.

There are also ideas for early years to old age participation and development of grant programmes like the Everybody Active Programme.

Going forward, emphasis is being placed on balancing investment between participation and performance, support for sporting organisations to become more digitally advanced and support for people development and deployment of volunteers.

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