New sports strategy for Sheffield targets poorer areas – ‘people want low-cost and local facilities’

A new sports strategy for Sheffield will focus on how to get more people active as poorer areas of the city find access to facilities more difficult.
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Sheffield City Council sport, leisure and health officer Kate Clark told the council’s communities, parks and leisure policy committee that studies show activity levels in poorer areas of north-east Sheffield are far lower than in the more prosperous south-west.

Figures show that only 41 per cent of people in north-east Sheffield do at least 2.5 hours of physical activity a week, as opposed to 60 per cent in the south-west of the city.

This has links to poorer health outcomes, said Ms Clark.

The number of children swimming in Sheffield is lower than the national average, says a report into public sport from Sheffield City CouncilThe number of children swimming in Sheffield is lower than the national average, says a report into public sport from Sheffield City Council
The number of children swimming in Sheffield is lower than the national average, says a report into public sport from Sheffield City Council
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The council has undertaken a consultation with people in Sheffield to find out what would help them to become more active – more than 2,000 responses from individuals, clubs and community groups showed that facilities need to be low cost and local.

The most popular activities are swimming, walking and going to the park. Ms Clark said that a five-year strategy for public sport in the city would see more activity centres set up in parks.

She added that the responses provided “useful insights to tackling barriers people are facing”.

‘Hub sites in parks with activities for all ages’

Key themes of the Sheffield City Council public sport strategy that aims to get more people activeKey themes of the Sheffield City Council public sport strategy that aims to get more people active
Key themes of the Sheffield City Council public sport strategy that aims to get more people active

She said that the number of children who go swimming in Sheffield is lower than the national average. Barriers include the availability of lessons and the cost of swimming sessions.

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Ms Clark said: “We’ve had lots of feedback about the outdoors. People wanted to do more activity and be more active outdoors.

“There’s a desire for multi-purpose destinations, both indoors and outdoors. That could include health facilities and quit smoking drop-ins in indoor facilities.

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A map in a Sheffield City Council report showing levels of physical activity by postcode - the prosperous south-west of the city fares far better than the poorer north-eastA map in a Sheffield City Council report showing levels of physical activity by postcode - the prosperous south-west of the city fares far better than the poorer north-east
A map in a Sheffield City Council report showing levels of physical activity by postcode - the prosperous south-west of the city fares far better than the poorer north-east

“There’s a lot of support for having hub sites in parks with activities for all ages and ranges of abilities with a cafe and toilet facilities.”

She told the committee: “People want low-cost and local facilities in their own communities.”

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A further report will go into more detail about plans for individual sports and facilities and set out a five-year plan for public sport in the city that will be monitored by the committee to see what progress is being made.