The latest Sport England Active People Survey reveals the number of people playing sport regularly has increased.
More women are getting active, but there’s more to be done for disabled people and those on lower incomes.
Less than a year into the This Girl Can behaviour change campaign, the number of women playing sport and getting active once a week, every week, has increased by 148,700.
Bucking the normal trend, the number of women playing sport and being active is increasing faster than the number of men. The gender gap has begun to narrow slightly – from 1.78 million to 1.73 million – a sign that the campaign’s approach of focussing on the consumer is beginning to have a positive impact.
The results support the need to think about target audiences as individual consumers, understanding the things that get in the way of their taking part in sport and their motivations.
The increase in the number of women playing sport has driven an overall increase in the number of people regularly playing sport. This stands at 15.74 million in the 12 months to the end of September, up by 245,000 compared to the previous figures published in June.
The requirement for a change in approach and focus on the needs of individual consumers is seen starkly in the figures for lower socio-economic groups and disabled people, where the numbers are low and remain static:
– Lower socio economic groups – 25.9 per cent of people in the lowest socio economic groups (known as NSSEC 5-8) play sport once a week, a very small increase on the 25.7 per cent in June 2015. This compares to more affluent socio economic groups where 39.1 per cent of people are now active.
– Disabled people – 17,500 more disabled people are playing sport once a week, now at 1.58 million (17.2 per cent), meaning that a disabled person is still half as likely to play sport as a non-disabled person.
Jennie Price, Sport England’s chief executive, said: “It’s good news that more women are playing sport, and driving an overall increase in the numbers. It’s particularly great to see This Girl Can is making a real difference. That’s because we’ve really focused on what drives women’s attitudes and behaviours. If we’re to see a further step change in the total number of people playing sport, we need to take a similar, consumer-focused approach in areas where the figures are stubbornly low, like disability and lower socio-economic groups.”
Locally, the results show the number of people volunteering in Lincolnshire has increased by 3% whilst club membership has also slightly increased.
Active Lincolnshire and partners have worked together on a number of projects across the county to encourage female participation as part of the This Girl Can campaign. This includes funding for targeted women and girls only sports sessions via Sportivate, a video competition in conjunction with Priory LSST and female only golf sessions run alongside the Golf Foundation and Lincolnshire Golf Partnership.
For the full data set click here.