Nadine Dorries says sport and physical activity must be ‘at the heart of pandemic recovery’

By Tom Walker    15 Oct 2021

Dorries said it’s time to “refresh” the government’s Sporting Future strategy / HM Government

Nadine Dorries, the recently appointed secretary of state for digital, culture, media and sport at the DCMS, has promised that the government will place sport and physical activity “at the heart of pandemic recovery”.

Speaking at the ukactive Conference at London’s Guildhall this week, Dorries said that the pandemic should be used as a trigger to get an entire generation physically active.

“If COVID-19 is teaching us anything, it’s the fundamental role that sport and exercise play in our lives,” Dorries said.

“It’s crucial for our general wellbeing – and it was a real wrench when parts of it were taken away from us for months at a time last year.

“That’s why we prioritised sport and physical activity throughout the pandemic. More than £1bn has gone into supporting the sector.

“That was during the height of the pandemic. Now comes the recovery – and we’ll be putting sport and physical activity at the heart of that, too.

“I want to use our experiences over the last eighteen months as the trigger for a new generation of physical activity and exercise.

“Improving the nation’s health and wellbeing is vital to reducing the pressure on the NHS, and being physically active is central to that.”

She added that it was also a time to “refresh” the government’s Sporting Future strategy, published in 2015.

Dorries said: “As we come out of this pandemic, now is a prime opportunity to refresh this strategy.

“Right now, officials in my department are looking at ways we can make sure it continues to be relevant in the coming years.

“We’re in the very early stages of this process, and of course our primary focus remains helping the sector recover from the pandemic. We understand the importance of this.

That recovery can mean many things – it might be tackling barriers that make it harder for people to stay active, or making sure sports remain financially sustainable, or promoting the uptake of facilities in schools and beyond.

“But throughout the whole process, we will constantly be looking for opportunities to work with the sector to level up facilities, infrastructure and the support we provide.”

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