New outdoor activity research project unveiled

Girl using a Fitness Trail stationThe Outdoor Industries Association (OIA) has received a lottery award to fund extensive research into the outdoor physical activity market, helping the outdoor industry to discover how to both retain, and attract new participants to outdoor activity.

The OIA will work in collaboration with Sport England to sync existing research with current activity in order to provide a detailed analysis of the sector. The project will be split into several phases, the first of which is to be completed by January 2015. This phase will focus on identifying gaps in the market, and noting opportunities for expansion.

Commenting on how the collaboration will benefit the outdoor sport industry, Sport England’s Director of Insight, Lisa O’Keefe said: “Our partnership with the OIA will give Sport England and the outdoor sector greater scope to make improvements in the levels of participation for regular outdoor sport and activity. By partnering with the OIA and bringing together partners, we can start to share insight, develop networks and explore partnerships in order to increase participation.”



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Report suggests policies to improve urban green spaces

A Policy Exchange think tank report has made suggestions for policy that will improve the UK’s urban green spaces.

Woman using an outdoor fitness/trim trail

The ‘Green Society: Policies to improve the UK’s urban green spaces‘ highlights the importance of urban spaces to the social and economic well-being of the whole country, discussing the fact that they provide free space for exercise, socialising, and relaxation, all of which can improve both physical and mental health.

The report makes recommendations surrounding Council Tax Rebates for those who volunteer to improve green spaces, the possibility of ecotherapy being recommended by GPs, park levies, and developer endowments.

Fitness or trim trails can really help to bring more people into the UK’s green spaces and out of the gym. Such trails are a great way of giving people the same kind of work out as a gym would, but without the need for extra equipment. Trail users use their own bodyweight to create a resistance against the trail equipment, giving themselves a good workout whilst taking in the great outdoors.

Dr Katherine Drayson, author of the report comments: “Britain’s parks are the lungs of our great cities. They are an oasis of calm and tranquillity in an increasingly fast-moving world.

“However, as local authority budgets have been squeezed, public funding for parks… has declined sharply.”



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Get your football pitch ready with

With the new football season under way and attracting attention from the media and the school holidays coming to a close, now is the time to make sure your football pitch is ready for the winter season.

Today, we’ll run through a quick checklist of what needs checking and updating…

Get your football pitch ready - with

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Product Spotlight: Harrod UK’s new County Cricket Net System

Harrod UK's new 'County Cricket Net System'

One of Harrod UK’s new products for 2014, the County Cricket Net System has been designed to create a professional, highly affordable, non-permanent cricket net system that is perfect for use in clubs and schools.

Today we’ll look at the excellent County Cricket Net System in a little more detail.

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Government unveils new report into women and sport

Women playing hockey

A report into women and sport last month has been unveiled by the Culture, Media and Sport Committee.

The report, based on recommendations from a recent inquiry, highlights concerns about the implications low participation rates by women and girls may have upon long-term health.

Highlighting statistics from a variety of sources, the report shows that whether comparison is made by ethnic group, income status or age, women and girls are far less likely to participate in sport than men and boys. Girls are also shown to give up participation in sport at an earlier age, and are less likely to continue participating in sport into adulthood.

Also noted was that many girls are put off participating sport at an early age, following negative experiences in school sport lessons.

The report suggests that a more imaginative approach is key to increasing engagement. Notably, the Committee recommends co-operation with other providers to make a wider range of sports activities available, better training for PE teachers, and a more equally division of finance between boys’ and girls’ sport.

Sallie Barker, Chief Executive of the Sport and Recreation Alliance commented on the report: “We welcome the broad and far-reaching recommendations that this report is making, many of which reflect what the Alliance has long called for and outlined in our evidence to the inquiry.

“Making school sport more accessible for girls and promoting physical activities other than competitive sport are just some of the recommendations we think would make a clear difference, as is the need to look at how we open up more leadership positions in sport to women.”

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New sports facilities guide released

Kids Playing FootballA new document that aids those delivering local sports facilities has been created by Sport England.

The ‘Assessing Needs and Opportunities Guide for Indoor and Outdoor Sports Facilities’ gives recommendations for the assessment of the need for indoor and outdoor sports facilities in local areas.

The guide has been created for use by local authorities as well as sports governing bodies, schools, sports clubs, providers of facilities and developers, all of whom may have cause to assess the need of a facility. It is designed to help these groups understand the need for sports facilities, and how to improve the provision of facilities.

Commenting on the guide, Sport England Property Director, Charles Johnston said: “We believe that providing the right facilities in the right places is key to maintaining and getting more people playing sport. The new guide will help give a clear understanding of what facilities are needed in an area and ensure those responsible for the development and investment in sports facilities have sound information on which to base their decision.”

A copy of the new guidance can be downloaded here.

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Number of people playing sport reaches record high

Runners at Start Line

New figures published by the Active People Survey show that more people are playing sport regularly than ever before.

The figures, which cover the period spanning from April 2013 to April 2014, show increased participation in all age groups, with the most notable growth coming from young people (aged 16-25). 3.9 million 16-25 year olds now play sport regularly – an increase of 153,000 in the last six months.

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Commonwealth Games venue transformation a triumph

Hampden ParkGlasgow’s Hampden Park football stadium was successfully transformed to provide an arena for both the track and field events and the closing ceremony at this year’s Commonwealth Games.

The normal playing surface was temporarily lifted by over 6 feet to create an IAAF approved athletics track supported by structural steel tilts. This is the first time that this sort of technical innovation has been used in the delivery of a world class athletics event.

Further to this, warm up track and jump areas were created next to the stadium at Lesser Hampden.

At one time the largest football stadium in the world, Hampden Park is a five star graded football venue, and is home to the Scottish national football team.

Commenting on the transformation, Glasgow 2014 chief executive David Grevemberg said: “The spectacular transformation of Hampden Park from iconic football stadium to world-class athletics venue is an achievement of which Glasgow and Scotland can be justifiably proud.

“This is a world-first solution in a great venue, creating an excellent sporting field of play.”

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Universities across the UK gain £10m of Sport England funding

University sport

54 universities across the country will receive a share of £10 million of National Lottery investment from Sport England’s University Sport Activation Fund, giving nearly 180,000 new students the opportunity to play sport regularly.

Currently, only 52% of higher education students participate in sporting activity at least once a week. The new funding will ensure that projects get the funding to increase this level of participation, by offering a wider range of opportunities and trialling new methods of getting students into sport.

Commenting on the funding, Karen Rothery of British Universities & Colleges Sport said “Universities have really risen to the challenge to increase sport participation, firstly through Active Universities, and now through the University Sport Activation Fund. We at BUCS are delighted that our work with Sport England over the past five years has resulted in such a success story, and are confident that we will continue to enhance the student experience through sport in many creative ways throughout the life of the University Sport Activation Fund delivery.”

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Youth Sport Trust launches school sport survey

Cross country runners

The Youth Sport Trust has launched a new survey into PE and school sport after concerns were raised that there is a ‘postcode lottery’ of provision.

The survey will be the first since 2010, and hopes to fill the void of information on the provision of sport, activity levels of pupils, and current trends in physical education, activity and school sport.

The Youth Sport Trust survey will aim to identify differences in provision across the UK and will give schools the opportunity to compare their performance with others.

Schools will have received their survey in the last week of June.

John Steele, Chief Executive of the Youth Sport Trust comments on the reasoning behind the survey, “we do have significant concerns that the level of provision across the country is not consistent, which could be resulting in a postcode lottery of provision. Our survey will investigate this as it risks leaving some young people without the high-quality experience they deserve.

“It is crucial that we play a key role in improving physical activity rates amongst young people and there couldn’t be a more important time for us to investigate the current levels of PE and sport in schools.”

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