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Outdoor facilities can reopen on Monday 29 March
Outdoor facilities can reopen on Monday 29 March

Press release -

London Sport Chair Jillian Moore welcomes return of sport and physical activity

London Sport Chair Jillian Moore has welcomed the reopening of outdoor sports facilities and the resumption of organised outdoor sport after covid-19 lockdown.

Facilities across the capital have been closed for many months and the impacts of covid-19 have cut right across the physical activity and sport sector in London.

Community sport bodies in all parts of the capital have faced serious and significant challenges to their long-term prosperity and Londoners’ physical activity levels have declined.

Pre-existing inequalities in activity levels have been exacerbated by the pandemic with people with disabilities and Londoners from ethnically diverse communities and from lower socio-economic backgrounds significantly less likely to be active.

London Sport Chair, Jillian Moore, said: 

“This is a first and significant step towards opening up. The fact these facilities are the first to open – ahead of shops and pubs – rightfully demonstrates the importance that sport and physical activity plays in people’s lives.

“London Sport has worked tirelessly to support organisations through the pandemic and has seen some incredible work in London’s communities who have really come together to get through a long and difficult winter.

“We hope that the vaccine rollout, and good weather, will create a sense of optimism and encourage many people back to sport and physical activity.

“That said, we’re fully aware that some people will not see the vaccine as a silver bullet and we’ll be working with organisations across London to make the transition from at home activity to utilising London’s fantastic parks and outdoor spaces as smooth as possible.”

To date, London Sport has distributed almost £200,000 of Sport England's Tackling Inequalities Funding to a wide-range of organisations to address the challenges faced by communities of either becoming or staying active.

Nearly £70,000 of Sport England Satellite Club funding was distributed by London Sport at the end of 2020 to support children and young people to be more active and socially connected with delivery by 27 organisations starting online from January.

And for those who feel happier remaining at home for the time being, London Sport worked with Our Parks to develop Couch to Fitness to reach ethnically diverse communities most affected by lockdown restrictions.

With restrictions lifting, parents and guardians are being urged to help their children follow the Chief Medical Officer’s guidance of at least 60 minutes of physical activity a day, and adults to aim for at least 150 minutes a week.

Exercise and outdoor sports reduce individuals’ risk of major illnesses, such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and cancer by up to 50% and lower risk of early death by up to 30%.

The reopening of the outdoors sports sector will also seek to help reduce the impacts of these debilitating diseases and, in turn, reduce pressure on the NHS.

Physical activity is known to improve health outcomes which can include improving mental health through better sleep, happier moods, and managing stress and anxiety.

Culture secretary, Oliver Dowden MP, said: 

“The long wait is over. I urge everyone to get their trainers on, get outside and enjoy all of the positive benefits sport can bring. 

"We want to see children be active 60 minutes a day, and adults two and a half hours a week to help us build back fitter, healthier and happier from this pandemic.”

Chief Executive of Sport England, Tim Hollingsworth said: 

"The fact organised sport has been one of the first things the government has allowed to reopen underlines its potential to benefit society more widely and the message it sends is of its importance to our nation’s health and wellbeing. 

"It also reflects the responsible way those involved in sport and physical activity have approached dealing with the challenge posed by coronavirus (covid-19) over the last year."

For sport-specific guidance from your National Governing Body, check our London Sport’s Return To Play webpage.

If you have any additional enquiries around Return To Play, contact London Sport here.

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About London Sport

London Sport aims to make London the most physically active city in the world. Supported by the Mayor of London and Sport England, our target is to get Londoners more physically active.

For more information on London Sport, visit www.londonsport.org

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