Sport England believes that the power of sport and activity to support people’s physical and mental health has never been more important than it is right now.

Sport England want to offer you our support in encouraging your local communities to be as active as possible at this challenging time. They know the restrictions of recent months have made it difficult for you to help people to play sport and be physically active and we know too that the coming months will continue to be a challenge. After a stable start when the first lockdown came into place, activity levels have been dropping across almost every age group and we are deeply concerned that the people who stand to benefit most from being active are missing out more than ever before.

Though times are tough and the obstacles to delivering both formal and informal activities are very real, so far central government has been clear that grassroots sport and organised physical activity can currently continue, so long as they are run in Covid secure ways. Gyms, swimming pools and leisure centres have re-opened for business, albeit with reduced capacity, and team sports are still able to be played within agreed restrictions.

There are stricter guidelines in place for indoor sports, with over 18s not allowed to play in groups of more than six and all the latest information on this is available on our website (more details below). You will know that disabled adults are exempt from these rules, as indoor team sports are so important in helping many to get or stay active. Because they passionately believe in the physical and mental wellbeing benefits that being active brings people, and that this has never been more important than it is right now, they are sharing with you our Autumn and Winter Activity Toolkit.

This brings together advice, guidance and encouragement that complies with national guidelines while responding to local needs and restrictions. It includes our most recent insight about how people are feeling, which communities need our support most, information and creative materials to help support your work, and it connects to their three existing campaigns, This Girl Can, We are Undefeatable and Join the Movement.

Spreading the message

Sport England would encourage you to consider the following:

  • Using this toolkit and sharing it with partners and local organisations in your area who are working to get people active informally or formally
  • Using the key messages within the pack to talk to your partners and communities about what is allowed, even in areas where there are tighter restrictions, and encourage people to stay active in whatever way is right for them.

What’s in the Activity toolkit?

  • Latest Government Guidance – regularly updated advice and FAQs relating to sport and physical activity
  • Insight pack  – with the latest research on activity levels
  • Template press release and guidance – To help you and local partners encourage people to get active in your local area.
  • Join the Movement Online Activity Timetable – including a selection of free and paid-for virtual classes to suit all ability levels.
  • Join the Movement Brand Toolkit – including branded social media assets, templates, images and insight
  • We Are Undefeatable – A collaboration of 15 leading health and social care charities providing specific guidance, advice and resources to support those living with long term health conditions.
  • This Girl Can Activity Finder / Feel Inspired – pages providing advice and inspiration to support women to get active in whatever way works for them. Includes a mix of online and face to face activities.
  • This Girl Can Supporters Hub – TGC creative assets, brand guidelines and other resources for partners focused on women and girls specifically.
  • JTM Outdoor Activity Advice  – A selection of ideas and inspiration to get active outdoors while following the latest government guidelines.
  • JTM At Home Activity Advice – A selection of online exercise platforms with on demand fitness content who either provide free access or have teamed up with us to offer extended trials.
  • Couch to 5K – a nine-week programme of podcasts taking you from the couch to running 5kms.
  • Let’s Ride Local – British Cycling have created Let’s Ride Local to encourage safe and responsible cycling – including tips and advice on riding locally, as well as instructions on teaching children how to ride.
  • Active 10 – The Active 10 app is a great way to help you monitor and gradually increase your brisk walking levels over time.

Key Messages:

  • Sport and physical activity deliver immediate mental health and social benefits while having a long-term positive impact on our physical health.
  • Despite current challenges, large parts of grassroots and community sport and physical activity have restarted, with minimal evidence of Covid-19 transmission because of the focus placed on safety measures by those involved.
  • There is a rule in place where participants need to adhere to the ‘rule of six’ if they’re playing team sports indoors – but even in areas which are undergoing specific additional lockdowns, outdoor sport and organised physical activity have so far been able to continue, as long as those activities abide by the national rules.  Full details of the areas subject to local restrictions, and what those restrictions are, can be found here.
  • People can continue to attend and deliver outdoor exercise classes with groups of more than six, as long as the activity is formally organised. Informal group exercise should conform to the rule of six
  • What is not advised is any socialising in or around that activity – and where there are organised games and physical activity-related events, people should not gather to watch in an amateur setting.
  • We passionately believe that people should continue to get active in the months ahead, whether that’s working out at home with some of the great free tools available online, outside in a safe way taking part in activities like walking or going back to playing their team sport where appropriate.
  • We know people are concerned and anxious right now, but we know too that being active can be a genuine antidote.

Please use the Activity Toolkit to help encourage people in your community to keep active.

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