Sanctuary Housing has been awarded £150,000 of National Lottery funding from Sport England’s Tackling Inequalities Fund.
The fund aims to tackle health inequalities among four priority groups identified as significantly impacted by COVID-19: lower socio-economic groups; black, Asian, and minority ethnic communities; disabled people; and people with long-term health conditions.
Insight suggests that COVID-19 is likely to have a significant impact on their ability to be physically active, which has the potential to further widen the gaps that already exist for these groups.
They are likely to have higher mortality rates from COVID-19, which can create a culture of fear where people are choosing to stay indoors to keep safe.
Additionally, there is a greater impact upon their financial status which can have a further impact on activity levels.
The funding award means that Sanctuary can help local charitable partners who work with these priority groups to continue to exist and engage with their communities, with a view to keeping them active during both the lockdown and early recovery stages.
The funding is available in six locations: Cherwell, Chester, Hackney, Liverpool, Rochford, and Barne Barton in Plymouth.
Sport England’s work and contribution to the Tackling Inequalities Fund focuses on reducing the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on activity levels, ensuring gaps between those who are active and those who are not do not widen during this period.
Sport England has also channelled £3.3m through the 43 Active Partnerships across England to support community groups in their areas as a result of COVID-19.
Marie-Claire Wattison, head of Community Investment at Sanctuary Housing, commented: “We are delighted to have secured this funding, which will allow us build on the successful partnership that we have with Sport England to help facilitate sport and fitness related activities in communities at a grassroots level.
“There are a number of health and wellbeing benefits of being active, and following the direct impact of COVID-19 on people’s lives this has never been more important.
“Through this programme, we hope to gain better understanding of the challenges faced by our communities and identify successful routes to healthier lifestyles that will help keep people active both now and beyond the pandemic.”
Tim Hollingsworth, Sport England’s chief executive, said: “We are proud to be able to provide funding and support to Sanctuary in this difficult period.
“This will help support our valuable community infrastructure that is so important in keeping the nation active and will also provide important connections and reconnections for people whose lives have been affected by COVID-19 and for whom remaining active is so important for their physical, mental, and social wellbeing.
“We know from our research and data that there are existing inequalities between groups when it comes to activity levels and COVID-19 has reinforced these.
“Thanks to the support of the National Lottery and its players, the Tackling Inequalities Fund will be both crucial and central to ensuring no-one is left behind when it comes to having the opportunity to be active during this period.
“This builds off the back of our £35m Community Emergency Fund that has already reached and supported over 7,500 community clubs and groups across England.”
Established in 1969, Sanctuary Group is responsible for the provision of social housing, care, and management services across England and Scotland, owning or operating over 100,000 units of accommodation and employing around 13,500 people.
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