Social return on investment in sport: A participation wide model for England
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New research shows that for every £1 invested in sport in England, benefits worth £1.91 are generated for society. 

A report by Sheffield Hallam University, which is the first of its kind, looks at the Social Return on Investment (SROI) of sport and the impact it has on improving health and educational attainment, reducing crime and enhancing participants’ life satisfaction.

In 2013/14, £23.46 billion was spent on participating in sport by the public and private sectors, whilst the value of the social benefits created by this sports participation totalled £44.75 billion.

The report was commissioned by the Higher Education Investment Fund and supported by Sport England and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, and provides concrete evidence of the value of sports participation, as detailed in the government’s new sports strategy published last December.

The strategy described how “all parts of government must work more closely together towards clear, shared outcomes” and the new research demonstrates how sporting programmes could potentially reduce spending in other Whitehall departments, such as health and justice.

In February, Sport England launched an online consultation as they prepare to implement the new strategy and distribute central funding. It is expected that those organisations which can prove they can help to deliver key outcomes will be funded, with some national governing bodies, for example, having their funds cut if they cannot provide evidence of their impact.

Dr Larissa Davies, leader in sports management at the University’s Sports Industry Research Centre, said:

“This study has shown that the 2013/14 social value of sport in England is positive. 
It is the first time the impact of sport has been evaluated using the Social Return on Investment method and it is a valuable way of showing just how effective sport is in our society."

The team of researchers from Sheffield Hallam’s Sports Industry Research Centre (SIRC) found that the social benefits of participation in sport included:

  • Reduced risk of dementia worth £2.1 billion
  • Reduced risk of heart disease and stroke worth £1.14 billion
  • Lower risk of Type 2 diabetes worth £239 million
  • Lower risk of breast cancer worth £132 million
  • Reduced risk of colon cancer worth £48 million
  • Reduction in crime worth £41 million
  • Improved life satisfaction worth £30.4 billion to society
  • Improved educational performance worth £5 million 

[This article has been edited by the Operating Team]




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