More People More Active More Often | Our Partnership With ukactive
Opening school facilities can support communities facing the cost-of-living crisis
We are delighted to start 2023 by announcing our strategic partnership with ukactive. ukactive exists to improve the health of the nation by getting more people, more active, more often. In terms of our mission and values, Vivify and ukactive could not be more aligned.
Why this partnership now?
It’s no secret that the cost-of-living crisis is having a detrimental impact on communities across the country. When financial challenges arise, people start cutting on perceived ‘non-essentials,’ as shown by the recent ukactive stat demonstrating that 43% of people said rising costs of living will have a negative impact on their ability to participate in sports and exercise.
Recently it was reported that up to 40% of leisure facilities are at risk of closing if government intervention is not received. However, the impact on our local communities isn’t just a financial burden, the impact of these potential closures is likely to be a decline in community participants’ mental and physical health.
Every pound spent on leisure – which includes community sport and physical activity -, equates to an economic return of investment of £3.91 in social value back to individuals and society.
Of this investment into sport and physical activity, a social value of up to £42 billion is estimated to be generated in support of mental wellbeing, with £110 million of this linked to prevented cases of depression. Alongside this, £20 billion in social value is generated that supports social and community development – which includes fewer crime incidents and enhanced social capital - indicating that if investment in leisure stops, the ripple effect on our society would be devastating.
This ripple effect will likely be felt most by those who can’t afford to attend private gyms, those participating in non-sporting activities, and those on the lowest incomes, risking further health inequality across the country. In July 2022, one-third (33%) of UK adults stated that the cost-of-living crisis has discouraged them from using their local leisure facilities. Currently, just 14% of leisure participants attend gyms, but what about the other 85% - how do we cater for the rest of the community?
What can we do about it?
Both ourselves and ukactive are concerned about the welfare of our communities, with good reason. We want to champion and support our sports and leisure groups across the country, ensuring they have somewhere to practice and get together.
And with 39% of UK sporting facilities behind school gates, we believe that opening up more school facilities out of school hours, with reasonably priced hire costs, can help address some of these issues. We see circa 3.3 million people a year, come through our school doors, proving what is possible at a time when sport and leisure need spaces most.
In the summer, ukactive ran the Open Doors initiative with Nike to provide safe spaces in local schools over the holidays, helping young people to develop through sport.
Together we are on a mission to make hiring school facilities common knowledge amongst the population, so more people are aware and use them.
Looking to the future
On the new partnership with ukactive, Vivify CEO, Russell Teale said: “The stats we’re hearing on the impact of the cost-of-living crisis are frightening. At a time when people were just getting back to normal post-pandemic, it feels like another blow to a sector that’s priority is to improve mental and physical health while preventing more serious health issues which already pressurise our overstretched NHS. We simply can’t sit by and watch this happen. So, we’re looking forward to seeing where our partnership with ukactive can take us.”
ukactive Head of Membership Experience, Danny Melling said: “We are excited to welcome Vivify onboard as a Strategic Partner of ukactive. Schools are at the heart of every community and what Vivify do so brilliantly, by working in collaboration with school leaders, is unlock the potential of these fantastic facilities to bring exciting opportunities to the doorstep of the communities each school serves.”
To find out more about the incredible work that ukactive do for the fitness and leisure sector, visit their website here
If you are looking for a facility near you for your next sport, event, or game visit here.
*Based on average number of participants per booked session.