Increasing Participants

Having enough participants to make sure your session is viable and has a future is essential. Along with this, organisations have a role to play in ensuring that everyone has access to activity.

What are our priorities?

Our ambition as an Active Partnership is to use movement, physical activity and sport as a driver for positive change.

The 2022/2023 Annual Provider Survey told us the main focus for settings are participants from ethnically diverse communities, underserved communities & those with poor mental health.

Sport England have their 10 year strategy ‘Uniting the Movement’ and say “more than anything, [the strategy] seeks to tackle the inequalities we’ve long seen in sport and physical activity. Providing opportunities to people and communities that have traditionally been left behind, and helping to remove the barriers to activity, has never been more important”.

Who should you be targeting?

Organisations delivering sport and physical activity are often ideally placed to help address issues and challenges faced by their local community. However, they often lack the resources, expertise, or access to do this. Look at your local community or at your current membership and see who isn’t currently attending your sessions. Is your membership representative of your community?

We’ve identified a small number of audiences with a link to further information or learning. This is not an exhaustive list, and we will be adding more information on different communities and groups.

People from Underserved Communities

Sport and physical activity should be accessible to everyone, no matter their background or bank balance. Sports clubs, groups and organisations are uniquely placed to provide opportunities for everyone to get active and engaged.

Club Matters: Engaging lower socio-economic groups (LSEG)
On demand learning: Working with Underserved Communities


Sports clubs, groups and organisations thrive when they engage a diverse range of individuals and ensure that everyone can be their authentic selves when participating or volunteering. To achieve this, more needs to be done to encourage lesbian, gay, bi and trans (LGBTQ+) people to take part in sport and physical activity.

Club Matters: LGBTQ+ Inclusivity
On demand learning: Creating LGBTQ+ Inclusion in Sport & Physical Activity

Women & Girls

Sport England’s Active Lives data shows that women are more likely to be inactive than men, but also that more boys than girls are classed as active throughout primary and secondary school.

In order to attract and retain women and girls to your club/organisation, it’s important to recognise that they often experience different motivations and barriers to boys and men when it comes to taking part in sport and physical activity. It is also important to recognise that women and girls are individual groups and shouldn’t be treated as the same. Their experiences, motivations and barriers will all be different and are likely to change at different life stages (Club Matters).

Club Matters: Engaging Women and Girls
On demand Leaning: Engaging Women and Girls in Sport and Physical Activity
Campaign: This Girl Can

Ethnically Diverse Communities

Sport and physical activity must be accessible to ethnically diverse communities and setting should ensure that positive experiences of participation and volunteering are delivered. Even in today’s diverse society there remains a significant under-representation of ethnically diverse communities in sport and physical activity. The issues of racism and discrimination remain with the barriers to participation and volunteering increasing. These issues and challenges need to be addressed to ensure that everyone has the opportunity and support they need to be involved with community organisations delivering sport and physical activity.

Club Matters: Ethnically Diverse Communities
Watch again: A conversation with Ruksana
Racism and racial inequality

Older adults

Staying active can become harder as we age, but it’s increasingly important. Active Lives data shows that almost one-third of people aged 55-74 are inactive, a proportion which increased to two-thirds for adults aged 85+. As the population ages, an inclusive approach to activities and volunteering opportunities can help your organisation attract a range of people, from all backgrounds and age groups. Here in North Yorkshire and York we have a higher than average number of older adults (CHECK).

Club Matters: Older Adults
NYS research and top tips

Disabled people and those with long term health conditions

1 in 5 people in the UK have an impairment or long-term health condition (LTHC). Despite this, disabled people or people living with a LTHC are less likely to be part of a sports club, group or organisation.

Disability can be defined as ‘a physical or mental impairment that has a substantial and long-term negative impact on people’s ability to do normal daily activities’. LTHCs are conditions that cannot, at present, be cured, but can be managed by medication and/or other treatments/therapies.

Club Matters: Engaging Disabled People
UK Coaching and Activity Alliance: Inclusive Activity Programme eLearning (cost applies)
Campaign: We are Undefeatable

Where should you start?

Here are our main points to consider:

  1. Be curious
  2. Be non judgemental
  3. Be open
  4. Ask questions and listen more than you talk
  5.  Make sure people see themselves in your promotion and at your club
  6. Create an offer to suit the participants (not you)

To find out more about making your offer inclusive, visit here.

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