More people playing sport as Olympics draw nearer
For the first time more than 150,000 people in Cornwall are playing sport once a week, every week.
Figures released by Sport England's Active People Survey show that the number of people playing sport at least once a week in Cornwall has risen by 21,000 since 2005. This means that 155,000 or 35.8% of the adult population, over the age of 16, now play sport at least once a week.
The Cornwall results mirror a national trend which shows that across England 15.28 million people aged 16 and over are playing sport once or more every week; 500,000 more than six months ago and 1.3 million more than in 2005/6 when London won the Olympic bid.
Overall, the growth in sports participation continues to be driven by those aged 26 and over, and there are good local examples. Run Cornwall, an initiative to encourage beginner running, has created six new running groups with over 100 participants. The recent Cornwall Beach Games has encouraged over 250 people from workplaces across the county to become more active. Swimfit, a pool-based exercise programme at five different locations in Cornwall, has helped over 200 people with medical conditions increase their water confidence.
There is a long term downward trend in participation for the 16 to 25 age group, although this has become more positive over the last six months. Locally, the Sportivate initiative, aimed at 14 to 25 year-olds who currently aren't playing sport in their own time, has been successful in encouraging many more young people into sport; with over 1,000 young people taking up new activities and joining local community clubs.
There is also good news on the women's participation front with positive increases in participation. Locally, initiatives such as Back to Netball and an increase in female coaches are helping to encourage more women to play sport.
"Grassroots sport remains the backbone of local sporting opportunities and it is encouraging to see a continued increase in sports participation in the county," said Mike Thomas, Director of the Cornwall Sports Partnership. "The encouraging upward trend in results is based on strong partnership working across the county. We hope with the Olympics just around the corner that we can continue to build upon these results to create a legacy of sports participation for everyone in Cornwall".
According to the most recent results, Cornwall Unitary Authority area is one of only three (out of a total of 12) in the south west which has witnessed a statistically significant increase in sports participation since Active People began in 2005/6. The Cornwall sports participation rate has also increased at a faster rate (4.9%) than that of England (2.5%) as a whole.