England Boxing among sport’s signatories of letter to PM

September 22, 2020 | by Matt Halfpenny


England Boxing Chief Executive Officer Gethin Jenkins is among the leaders from more than 100 sport and physical activity bodies who have co-signed a letter sent to the Prime Minister urging him to ringfence funding for the recovery of sector – or risk fuelling physical inactivity and related illnesses for a generation.

The letter comes during the Great British Week of Sport and highlights the contribution of the sports and physical activity sector to society, fuelled by a combined workforce of more than 600,000 people.

The coalition requests an urgent support package from the Government, as has been provided to arts and restaurant sectors, that will enable the sport and activity sector to continue to provide programmes and facilities that address the health inequalities highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic and support the NHS by improving health outcomes.

It calls for a ‘Sports Recovery Fund’ to be delivered at the Comprehensive Spending Review, as part of the Better Health campaign. The fund would help protect existing jobs and facilities so that the sector can:

  • Support programmes and facilities that address the health inequalities highlighted by COVID-19, particularly inactivity among women, lower socio-economic groups, BAME communities and people with disabilities.
  • Expand the innovations across the sector that we have seen during COVID-19 – making opportunities digital and increasing accessibility across the country.

A report published by Sport England and Sheffield Hallam University this month showed that every £1 spent on community sport and physical activity generates nearly £4 for the English economy, providing an annual contribution of more than £85 billion a year, with a social value of more than £72 billion a year, measured by physical and mental health and wellbeing, individual and community development.

Grassroots sport and physical activity is an essential part of the UK’s recovery, not just in terms of improved physical wellbeing and reducing the burden on the NHS, but the positive impact it has on mental wellbeing, as well as helping to overcome societal challenges such as loneliness, crime and isolation.

However, the sector has been heavily impacted by COVID-19, with gyms and leisure centres having to shut their doors, community sport being cancelled and heavy restrictions put in place since re-opening. This has significantly impacted the commercial viability of the sector, which has resulted in many local sport, fitness and leisure facilities announcing closures and job losses.

“Our sector is united in its call to the Prime Minister to back grassroots sport and physical activity so that our clubs, gyms and leisure facilities can throw their full weight behind fighting this pandemic,” said Huw Edwards, CEO of ukactive.

“This is a health crisis and our sector can play a vital role in supporting our NHS by restoring the nation’s physical and mental resilience in the face of this terrible virus.

“We call on the Government to deliver the urgent fiscal, taxation and regulatory support required to save sports and activity providers across the UK from disappearing from our communities at the time they are needed most.”

Lisa Wainwight, CEO of the Sport and Recreation Alliance, said: “The strength of this coalition from the sports, recreation and activity sector cannot be ignored in its public call to the Prime Minister.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has put an incredible strain on our sector, which was forced to close for a prolonged period.

“It is imperative that our sector gets the support it requires from the Government to get back to business, in order to ease the pressures on the NHS and play a central role in our nation’s recovery from COVID-19.

The letter to the Prime Minster can be read in full here.

The full list of signatories is detailed below.

Name Organisation
Pete Ackerley British American Football
Jane Allen British Gymnastics
Justin Andrews You Fit
Craig Anthony British Wrestling
Joanne Ashton TSG
Simon Bailey Serco Leisure
David Bibby Everyone Active
Mark Braithwaite 1Life
Jason Brautigam British Dressage
Mark Bullingham Football Association
Peter Burt Inspiring Healthy Lifestyles
Bill Bush Premier League
Béatrice Butsana-Sita Greenhouse Sports
Marcus Capel The Pony Club
Joanna Coates UK Athletics
Jon Cockcroft Bowls England
Fran Connolly England Netball
Laura Cordingley Chance to Shine
Mark Coups England Lacrosse
Dave Courteen Mosaic Spa and Health Clubs
Richard Darwin The Gym Group
Andrew Denton Outdoor Industries Association
Tara Dillon CIMSPA
Lisa Dodd-Mayne University of Warwick
Michelle Draper British Ice Skating
Huw Edwards ukactive
David English AJ Products
Mike Evans EFL Trust
Tim Fawke Snowsport England
John Fletcher Northampton Leisure Trust
Peter Gilpin LED Leisure Management Ltd
Kevin Gorman National Council for Metal Detecting
Iain Graham British Equestrian / British Showjumping
Tanni Grey-Thompson ukactive
Peter Guy Gym Works
Glenn Hall Parkwood Leisure
Dean Hardman AoC Sport
Gary Hargraves Sport:80
Julie Harrington British Cycling
Tom Harrison England and Wales Cricket Board
Sara Heath Pentathlon GB
James Hicks British Horse Society
Stephanie Hilborne Women in Sport
Si Hill UK Ultimate
James Hope-Gill Skateboard England / Skateboard GB
Ivan Horsfall Turner Freedom Leisure
Phil Horton Miha Bodytec
Councillor James Jamieson LGA
Gethin Jenkins England Boxing
Chris Jones England Athletics
David Joy British Canoeing
Natalie Justice-Dearn Rounders England
Arun Kang Sporting Equals
Peter Kay Fusion Lifestyle
Neil King Energie Fitness
Marcus Kingwell EMD UK
Sophie Lawler Total Fitness
James Lawrence Lifestyle Fitness
Mark Lawrie StreetGames
Scott Lloyd Lawn Tennis Association
Stuart Margetts Our People
Lee Mason Active Partnerships
Marg Mayne Mytime Active
Paul McPartlan Places Leisure
Ashley Metcalfe British Weightlifting
Sarah Mortiboys Dallaglio RugbyWorks
Dan Newton Parkour
Jane M Nickerson Swim England
Phil Nunnerley Endurance GB
Tove Okunniwa London Sport
Ali Oliver Youth Sport Trust
John Oxley Places Leisure
Andy Parkinson British Rowing
Rebecca Passmore Pure Gym
Lisa Pearce British Wheelchair Basketball
Matthew Pengelly Matrix Fitness
Nick Pink England Hockey
Joyce Power Funxtion
Brendon Pyle The Golf Foundation
Andy Reed Sport for Development Coalition
Paul Richardson Gymshark
Ralph Rimmer Rugby Football League
Scott Rolfe Halo Leisure
Mark Sesnan Greenwich Leisure Limited
Mike Sharrock Paralmpics GB
Bill Sweeney Rugby Football Union
Chris Symons BH Live
Peter Thompson English Indoor Bowling Association
Jeremy Tomlinson England Golf
John Treharne The Gym Group
Chris Turner GM Active
Mark Tweedie Community Leisure UK
Jean-Claude Vacassin The International Fitness Business Alliance
Colin Wagget Third Space
Lisa Wainwright Sport and Recreation Alliance
Nicola Walker Sported
Ben Wilkins Good Boost
Sue Wilkinson Association for Physical Education
Mark Winder Goalball UK
Tom Withers Gladstone MRM
Keir Worth England Squash
Dave Wright MYZONE