Tackling Inactivity and Economic Disadvantage

We'll be investing funds to support inactive people in lower socio-economic groups

Tackling inactivity is a big challenge in England – that’s why it’s at the heart of our strategy Towards an Active Nation.

The second phase of our tackling inactivity funding will invest £3 million to support inactive people from lower socio-economic groups, and we’re looking for partners who can reach them and help change their lives for the better.


Expressions of interest for this fund closed at 5pm, Monday 6th November. All applicants, regardless of the outcome of their submission, will be contacted in January 2018. 

Information on any future funding round can be found here. You can also stay in the loop by signing up to our newsletter here.

Who we're supporting

We’re seeking to reach two different lower socio-economic groups:

  • £2 million will support larger projects from £25,000 up to a maximum of £500,000. This will be to fund projects aimed at inactive people who are in employment. They will be ordinary people and families who sometimes, or often, struggle to make ends meet. They can find it hard to build physical activity into their lives, or feel being active isn’t for them.
  • £1 million will support projects between £25,000 and £100,000. This will focus on projects aimed at inactive people who are far less likely to have a steady income, or any income at all, and face more extreme disadvantage. They may also be facing other challenges, such as being at risk of offending or dealing with substance misuse.

We know that, sometimes, small amounts of money, especially for smaller local groups, can make a big difference, so five per cent of the total fund (£150,000) will be used to fund smaller awards between £1,000 and £10,000. This can be used to support either of the two groups of people described above.

Power of sport

People in lower socio-economic groups are much more likely to be inactive, i.e. do less than 30 minutes of moderate physical activity a week. Just 17 per cent of people in the highest socio-economic groups are inactive, compared to almost 40 per cent in the lowest group.

Sport and physical activity can be extremely powerful in supporting positive social change for communities and individuals

However, those who do the least activity stand to gain the most, even if they only do a little bit more.

We also know that sport and physical activity can be extremely powerful in supporting positive social change for communities and individuals. That could mean using sport or activity to improve someone’s mental wellbeing, help drive down crime rates in an area, or reduce social isolation.

What we want to achieve

Through this fund, we want to:

  • Support inactive people from lower socio-economic groups to be more active, doing more than 30 minutes of physical activity per week
  • Show how being more active can have wider benefits within people’s daily lives, for example, enjoying time together with family and friends, generally feeling better, or managing stress
  • Understand why individuals within lower socio-economic groups are not active and what would help them to change this.

We want to be innovative and test out bold ideas. We want to support projects that are in their early stages but have good potential to meet our objectives. We can provide a development award to allow organisations to develop their project.

This guidance explains how we’ll contribute towards tackling inactivity over the next four years: Tackling Inactivity: A Guide to Sport England’s Approach and Investment 

Expressions of interest

Applications for projects over £25,000 will follow a two-stage process.

In the first stage (ended at 5pm, 6 November 2017) organisations completed an expression of interest. Following assessment all applicants, regardless of the outcome of their submission, will be contacted in January 2018. Successful organisations will be asked to provide more information.

Small award applications

Applications for small awards of between £1,000 and £10,000 followed a separate, more streamlined, one-stage process (ended at 5pm, 6 November 2017). Following assessment, all applicants will be notified in January 2018.

If you have any questions please contact our funding helpline on: 03458 508 508. You can also email us at: LSEG@sportengland.org.