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26 Mar 2021 | 17:17

The Big Question for #IDSDP2021: What have you learned about sport for development during the Covid-19 pandemic?

To mark International Day of Sport for Development and Peace on April 6th, the Sport for Development Coalition asks a ‘big question’ of the movement. We are asking the Coalition network to share their responses to The Big Question to acknowledge the contribution that sport for development approaches have made in tackling some of our most pressing social challenges while also reflecting on how to strengthen the movement and our future impact.

Communities across the UK have faced unprecedented health, economic and social challenges over the last year brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic. The tragic death toll, scale of infections and impact on the health of millions of people who have had the virus has been substantial. We have seen the onset of a mental health emergency, with over 60% of adults and young people reporting their mental health got worse during lockdowns, projections of unemployment rates topping 6% this year and a nearly 10% fall in GDP over 2020.

The pandemic has also had a substantial affect on sport and sport for development. The number of active adults and children fell by 7.1% and 2.3% respectively, meaning more than three million people were less active. Research undertaken by the Sport for Development Coalition found the pandemic has had a significant impact on sport for development organisations across funding, forced reduction and adaptation of delivery, and in engaging participants, many of whom who rely significantly on the services provided by the network.

IDSDP 2021

The pandemic has also exacerbated many inequalities within sport and sport for development. Sport England’s research has shown that stubborn inequalities in activity levels between different groups have persisted since restrictions began in March 2020. Those who have found it hardest to stay active include people from lower socio-economic groups, people with long-term health conditions/disabilities, Black adults and Asian adults, while the Activity Alliance states almost twice as many disabled have reported that the pandemic greatly reduced their ability to do sport or physical activity compared to non-disabled people (27% vs 13%). 

In response to the impacts of the pandemic, the Coalition has launched the #AdaptSupportRespond initiative, which is shining a spotlight on how sport for development organisations have adapted their services to continue to support individuals and communities in need during the pandemic, as well as how they are playing their part in the nation’s recovery and reinvigoration from the Covid-19. 

In this context, and to mark IDSDP 2021, the Big Question the Coalition is asking is: 'What have you learned about sport for development during the Covid-19 pandemic?'

  • Tweet your answers and evidence, case studies and questions throughout International Day of Sport for Development and Peace on April 6th.
  • Don't forget to use the hashtags #AdaptSupportRespond and #IDSDP2021, and we will share as many responses as possible. Tag us at @SFDCoalition.
  • Remember to add links, images and videos to illustrate your responses.