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13 Jan 2021 | 16:16

In news which bodes well for organisations across the Sport for Development Coalition, research published this week has revealed how the Covid-19 pandemic has made people want to support or get more involved in their local community this year. 

Findings from a survey conducted by the National Lottery Community Fund show that seven in 10 people in the UK (69%) feel like they are part of their local community, with over a third (35%) saying that the pandemic has made them feel even more so. 

Most importantly three in 10 people (30%) report that they plan to become more involved in their local community this year because of Covid-19.


2020 also appears to have opened people’s eyes to the great work being done by many within their communities with a majority (65%) saying that local community groups and projects, volunteers and charities deserve more recognition. And when thinking of what they most want for their local community in 2021, just over a third (34%) want to see support for community projects and charities. 

The National Lottery Community Fund is the largest funder of community activity in the UK. Its survey of over 7,000 UK adults across the UK asked how people are feeling about their community and their ambitions for their local area in the year ahead. 

The findings also showed people have a firm sense of the challenges that their community faces and what will be important in their local area this year. Reducing loneliness and isolation (47%), helping the local economy (43%), supporting mental health (39%) and helping local people to live healthily and well (38%) are all seen as important.


Other 2021 priorities are access to natural green spaces (52%), providing young people with places to go and activities to do (48%) and community activities that bring people together (38%) – all of which could potentially help with another concern for communities, which is safety on the streets (54%). 

The Sport for Development Coalition is a growing group of organisations – including charities, governing bodies, club community organisations, networks and funders – all dedicated to maximising the contribution of sport to wider social outcomes, such increasing community cohesion and reducing anti-social behaviour and crime. Its Chair, Andy Reed, welcomed the survey findings and said: “This research shows that the pandemic has helped to reignite people’s interest in their local community and sparked a desire to be more involved in 2021. 

“This is really encouraging news for the Coalition at a crucial time. As we have moved into lockdown again this week, we have seen how organisations across our network quickly adapt their services to support their local communities – whether that’s through programmes being delivered online, or via essential services such as delivering food to older or shielding individuals.


“It is this dedication and commitment which underscores why the Sport for Development movement can play a major role in the nation’s recovery from this pandemic, and we are delighted to hear that the survey findings are supportive of this. 

“As a network, we look forward to harnessing this mood, when it is safe to do so, and responding to the increased appetite for supporting local communities and individuals in need.” 

Faiza Khan MBE, Director of Engagement and Insight at The National Lottery Community Fund, said: “Last year so many communities up and down the country demonstrated the amazing things people can do to support each other during challenging times. This research shows the power of that collective endeavour and the profound impact on how we feel about the areas we live in and the people around us - making more of us appreciate our community and want to get involved.


“At The National Lottery Community Fund, we believe that local communities know what they need and the research highlights some of the thousands of projects that people value as part of everyday life – these are exactly the kind of projects that regularly benefit from funding made possible thanks to National Lottery players.” 

National Lottery players raise £30million a week for good causes and the research findings chime with the thousands of grant requests the National Lottery Community Fund deals with and the conversations its regional funding teams have with grant-holders across the UK. 

During 2020, the National Lottery Community Fund distributed over £650million to community projects, funding thousands of projects bringing people together, tackling loneliness and isolation, supporting young people and benefitting the environment. For more information on the National Lottery Community Fund and the funding available to support communities, click here.