'United by Fun' targets communities in need

The charity SportInspired has announced a new multi-sport programme aimed at ensuring children and families from lower socio-economic groups have fun playing sport and therefore remain physically active.

Over the next three years ‘United by Fun’ will support more than 9000 young people through exhilarating sports such as parkour, martial arts, fencing and street dance, thanks to £500,000 of funding from the National Lottery.

To maximise the impact, SportInspired will also launch a pioneering programme encouraging families to get active together and embed healthy habits across generations.

Children growing up in poverty are three times more likely to suffer mental health issues and twice as likely to face obesity than their more affluent peers. Research shows that these children are less likely to be active, less likely to achieve high grades and more liable to experience mental health issues and feel disengaged from society.

For the 4.1 million children growing up in lower socio-economic groups in the UK, barriers to participation in sport and physical activity include cost and the fact that some traditional sports delivery can be focused on attainment rather than enjoyment.

Recent Sport England research highlighted that a lack of enjoyment is also a barrier to children sustaining active lives.SportInspired’s Co-Founder and CEO, Richard Raynes, said: “We are delighted to have secured this investment which will transform sporting provision for thousands of children, young people and families from lower socio-economic groups.

“Thank you to everyone who plays the National Lottery, this project wouldn't be possible without you."

Sport England’s Director of Children and Young People, Mike Diaper said: “We are delighted to be investing nearly £500,000 of National Lottery money into the ‘United by Fun’ project to help over 9,000 young people get active.

“The project will focus on the communities who are most in need, working with local schools, sport clubs and community partners to provide more opportunities for local young people to access sport or physical activity.

“The focus will be on celebrating the joy of taking part. Our research shows that enjoyment above competence is the main driver in children getting and staying active.”

Wales and Bath Rugby star Jamie Roberts has added his support for the programme. He said: "It's so great to see the National Lottery and SportInspired joining forces to help children who need it most. Getting kids enjoying sport and reaping the life-long rewards is so important."