THE NUMBER of active black adults in England is 5% below the national average, reports Sport England. Less than half the number of black adults walk for leisure compared to the national average and it’s a similar story for swimming.
These stark statistics, from Sport England’s most recent Active Lives Adult Survey, are behind the organisation’s desire to eliminate racial inequalities from sport and physical activity.
As part of this work, those at Sport England say it is important to acknowledge what’s already being done, what’s worked in the past, what hasn’t and, most importantly, to listen to the experiences of black people working and engaging with our sector.
So, to mark Black History Month, throughout October they will be focussing on those stories and experiences across their website and social media channels.
This will take the form of a series of blogs from a variety of black voices, as well as a focus on key issues, statistics and barriers faced by black people when trying to get active.
“Black History Month is a time to celebrate the contributions of black people to our society and to look to the future and how we can all make a positive impact on racial inequality,” said Tove Okunniwa, London Sport chief executive and Sport England Board member.
“The events of 2020 have shone a spotlight on continuing inequalities in our society, including the sport and physical activity sector, and they’ve made us take a good hard look at ourselves.
“Sport England is looking at the part it can play, starting with a review of the Code for Sports Governance and joining with fellow sports councils to actively tackle racial inequality.
“Part of that work involves creating a safe space for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic people to tell their stories, so it’s great to see Black History Month being used as a vehicle to get those stories heard.”
Fewer black adults walk for leisure than the national average, they also cycle for leisure, or swim, in smaller numbers.
However, almost double the number of black adults dance than the national average, with more than double playing football.
Sport England’s content over the next month will give a voice to those who’ve got to the highest level possible in their field, shedding light on the barriers they faced to their own progress and what can or should be done to break down those barriers.
The blogs will also focus on those striving to make a difference in community and grassroots sport. Those who’ve taken matters into their own hands to effect change, and those who are working to close the participation gap between Black people and the national average.