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06 Jun 2022 179

Post covid health crisis looming as number of people delivering physical activity falls by a third

UK Coaching partner with seven major sports to drive more diversity and younger people into coaching

•    Latest Sport England data shows a fall of more than 3.1 million people giving up their time to lead activity sessions
•    UK Coaching announces nationwide drive to expand the coaching workforce

Latest Sport England data suggests an alarming drop in the number of people giving up their time to support others to be active, which will only exacerbate already declining activity levels.

A total of 6.6 million people (14% of the adult population) gave up their time to lead activity sessions from November 2020-21, a fall of more than 3.1 million people compared to the year before*, and follows a drop in numbers in the years prior to the pandemic.

In response to this worrying new data, UK Coaching is leading a nationwide drive to expand the coaching workforce. The campaign will see the organisation engage with seven of the nation’s leading sports over the next ten years, to lead a nationwide drive to recruit more coaches and ensure the nation is fully supported to become more active, more often.

The partnership will see UK Coaching joining forces with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), UK Athletics and the Home Country Athletics Federations, England Netball, British Gymnastics, England Boxing, Swim England, Great Britain Wheelchair Rugby and Swim Ulster to support them to overcome their specific challenges around coaching recruitment and retention, with a view to significantly increasing the coaching workforce over the next ten years.

The announcement comes at the start of UK Coaching Week – the annual national awareness campaign which empowers athletes, coaches and the public to celebrate great coaching.

Despite individual challenges, common themes have emerged around the need to inspire and create more opportunities for young people into coaching, as well as those from diverse communities. The collaboration will ensure coaching becomes more accessible, inclusive and innovative than ever before.

To support the recruitment drive, UK Coaching have launched #Born2Coach - an initiative that aims to significantly boost the coaching workforce by inspiring people to become coaches and empowering current coaches to enhance their abilities.

Mark Gannon, UK Coaching CEO said: “As we learn to live with COVID and seek to recover from the challenges of the last couple of years, we want to play our part in supporting more people taking part in physical activity and sport. Coaches will be an important conduit for engaging a broader range of people from more communities in physical activity and sport, which will improve the nation's health and happiness.

“We are proud to be spearheading this industry-wide partnership to provide deeper insight into the life of a coach, and what great coaching looks and feels like. With the help of our network of physical activity and sports organisations we will empower existing coaches and recruit the next generation of coaches.”

Mel Marshall, Adam Peaty’s coach, former Olympian & Lead Coach at the British Swimming Performance Centre added: "I feel incredibly passionate about the recruitment drive, having progressed from athlete to coach myself. The coaching workforce at all levels needs to be inclusive, diverse and accessible to all, and people need to be aware of the incredible opportunities coaching can bring to our lives both as participants and as coaches.
 
“Coaching is an innate skill that sits within you, whether you’re a new mum, a dad of four, a primary school teacher, an ex-athlete, or working in an office-based role, there are so many opportunities out there, to help shape the future of sport and physical activity.
 
"Great coaching can help bring communities together, breathe increased activity into our nation, and provide a lifelong love of sport and physical activity and all the health and well-being benefits for our children.”

Charlie Ford, Head of Operations at England Boxing, one of the campaign partners, said: “As part of our 2022-27 strategic plan, we have ambitious plans to grow and diversify the sport at all levels, which includes a strong workforce focus.

“Our insight clearly shows that we have work to do in terms of ensuring the sport is inclusive and accessible regardless of gender, ethnicity, capability, sexual orientation, or socio-economic background.

“Through this partnership, we have the opportunity to share challenges and learn from industry leaders which will then enable us to make progressive changes within boxing.”

To find out more about how you can get into coaching, visit www.ukcoaching.org/born2coach

*Sport England’s Active Lives data for Nov 2019-20