Every £1 spent on community sport and physical activity generates nearly £4 for England’s economy and society, according to new research from Sheffield Hallam University.
And some £85bn ($110bn) is contributed to the country through social and economic benefits, concludes the Social and Economic Value of Community Sport and Physical Activity in England report.
The social value — including physical and mental health, wellbeing, and individual and community development — is estimated at just under £72bn, with £13bn in economic value also generated.
“It really demonstrates the wider contribution of community sport and physical activity to society, beyond economic value. The research also reveals that sport and physical activity generates significant social value across multiple areas, making it a potentially cost-effective investment for the public sector,” said research lead Dr Larissa Davies.
The report commissioned by Sport England found investment creates a return across health and social care, improves wellbeing, builds stronger communities, and develops skills in the economy.
The economic value includes more than 285,000 jobs that employ people within the community sport and physical activity sector.
And if more people participate in sport the greater the healthcare savings, with £3.6bn saved via the prevention of 900,000 diabetes cases and £450m saved from preventing an additional 30 million GP visits.
Tim Hollingsworth, Sport England chief executive, said: “Today more than ever community sport and activity has a vital role to play in offering a solution to some of society’s biggest problems like our health, both mental and physical, helping to make life fairer for everyone, and growing and improving our economy.”
A further £20bn in value came from 10,000 fewer crime incidents, the replacement value of work done by sports volunteers (£5.7bn) and improved levels of social trust, belonging and community (£14.2bn).