Coronavirus, an update from Active Cornwall

Sport England Active People Survey Results sees Cornwall Participation Growth Pause


Recent participation in sport figures released by Sport England show that 35.1% of Cornwall's population aged over 16 now participate in sport once per week; this is according to the latest Sport England Active People survey results.

Cornwall ranks in the top half of the most active counties and is one of only 19 to see a significant increase since results were first collected in 2005/6. While long term the trend in the number of people taking part in sport is upwards these results represent standstill  in the upward participation figure for Cornwall.

The gender gap remains stubborn locally and nationally, with 1.75 million fewer women than men active, despite over 70 per cent of 14-40 year old women wanting to be more active. This further demonstrates the need for Sport England's new This Girl Can campaign, launched earlier this month, aimed at giving women more confidence to exercise. Since its launch, over 12 million people have watched the campaign's film online and hundreds of thousands of women have engaged positively with it. The advertising campaign began after the data released today was collected, and its early impact will be seen in future Active People Survey results.

Mike Thomas, Director at Cornwall Sports Partnership said, "These results paint a mixed picture for Cornwall. We would like to think that they represent only a temporary pause in the upward trend of participation. We and our partners have some excellent programmes in the pipeline and we are confident that they will help to move participation figures upwards once again."

Overall, national results show that 125,100 fewer people did some kind of sport once a week for 30 minutes between October 2013 and October 2014, just over 15.5m and 35.8% of the national population.
The data also encouragingly revealed that the number of young people playing sport regularly has increased but Disability sport suffered a drop.


Reversing earlier trends, team sports saw an increase in numbers playing in the last 12 months with football, cricket, netball and rugby union all recording growth.

In addition to more people playing team sports, a number of other sports also saw increases in the number of people taking part. They include: athletics, canoeing, mountaineering, taekwondo and fencing.

It wasnt all positive, some sports saw a decrease in participation such as Swimming, Golf, Badminton, Tennis, Bowls and Basketball.

Jennie Price, Sport England's Chief Executive, said: "I am disappointed with these figures, and I'm very concerned about the drop in swimming, which dominates the overall picture.

"If swimming's figures had been flat, we'd be looking at an overall increase in participation. I am encouraged by the fact that the current leadership at the ASA, and the wider swimming industry, now recognise there's an issue and want to work together to fix it. It needs to get on with it.

A number of specific activities in Cornwall are helping to drive a planned increase, and these include:

  • On Friday 26th June 3,000 young people will gather in St Austell for the Cornwall School Games;
  • All secondary schools in Cornwall are being offered a Satellite Club to link the school to a community sports club;
  • Workplaces across Cornwall are being engaged to enter the Cornwall Beach Games, take place in the Get Active Challenge and complete the Cornwall Physical Activity certificate;
  • Tempus Leisure are offering free and accessible sessions at their centres to engage with their local community through the Sport England funded ACTIVE project
  • Informal interventions like Ping! Cornwall and Run Cornwall are encouraging more people to get involved and see how easy it is to get active through parkrun and pop up activity sessions.
  • National Governing Bodies of Sport are making it even easier to access their sports with the introduction of programmes like smash up! Badminton and Back to Netball.
  • Every College has a College Sport Makers offering a diverse range of activities to suit all students in Cornwall.
  • We continue to invest over £100K to offer a programme of taster session for those aged 14 to 25 under the Sportivate banner.
  • continues to be the first stop for sport and physical activity with an ever growing database of local providers and activities suitable for all.

Cornwall Sports Partnership is leading on the Olympic legacy for Cornwall and working with its many partners to increase participation in sport and physical activity. 

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