Sport Wales’ latest Active Adults survey shows the potential to get more adults hooked on sport and volunteering while figures of those already hooked buck the trend seen across the UK.
The number of adults hooked on sport – participating three times a week or more – in Wales is up (41%) according to the official Active Adults Survey, released today by Sport Wales.
After speaking to more than 8,000 people in Wales aged 15 and over, the latest results show an increase since 2012 (39%), building on the rise in Welsh sport participation seen since 2008 (29%) and sustaining participation since the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics.
The survey reveals:
- 67% of those not already ‘hooked on sport’ (taking part 3 times a week or more) would like to do more sport – that’s 1 million more people in Wales.
- There are still gaps in participation between males (46%) and females (35%), disabled (29%) and non-disabled (48%) and those from Wales’ most deprived areas are less likely to be hooked (39%).
- While the proportion of volunteers has decreased slightly from 10% (2012) to 9% of the adult population, we still have 235,000 volunteers giving an average of 10 hours to sport a month, up from 8 hours a month in 2012 – that’s a 25% increase in hours volunteered and double the number of volunteers from 2008 (113,000)
- The increase in voluntary hours means the economic value of sport volunteering in Wales is nearly £300 million – the equivalent of 15,000 full-time employees.
- 20% of those who do not currently volunteer in sport say they would like to in the future – that equates to over 470,000 people in Wales.
- Sports volunteers are also reaping the benefits off the field as the figures show they are 82% more likely to say they have good or very good health.
- The most popular sporting activities for adults include cycling, swimming and running.
Sport Wales CEO, Sarah Powell said: “What these results show is that we have been successful in sustaining the incredible swell in numbers of volunteers and participants which followed the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics. I’m proud of this. We worked hard to ensure a lasting legacy and we’ve successfully bucked the trends seen across the rest of the UK, which has seen levels fluctuate in the past few years.
“There’s huge potential to engage more people and I’m thrilled to see the appetite for doing more sport and volunteering so high in Wales. The challenge now is for us and the sport sector to grow an offer that meets the needs of those people who want to try more sport. We’ve seen really successful initiatives in recent years such as Parkrun and the Breeze cycling network which have engaged people who previously thought sport wasn’t for them. Both these schemes have done this through working closely with communities to develop an offer that meets the needs of the participant locally.
“You don’t have to be an elite athlete to be a Welsh sportsperson. The dad playing football on a Wednesday night, the family running the Parkrun on a Saturday morning and the mums meeting to do circuits in the park before the school run – these are our Welsh sportspeople and they are the future of Welsh community sport. They have found their thing and we want to make sure we create more opportunities for that 1 million who want to do more sport, to find theirs. Whether that is to discover new activities, meet new people or achieve personal goals, we need to entice them into being active. Imagine the impact on the health and well-being of our nation if we were successful!”
Other noteworthy results in the survey include:
- If you believe you lack fitness you are significantly less likely to be hooked on sport.
- Those people who believe they lack confidence are significantly less likely to be hooked on sport. However, if you believe your general sporting ability is better than most you are nine times more likely to be hooked.
- If your friends and family take part you are more than twice as likely to be hooked on sport.
“We have shown sport in Wales has the tools to be successful. However, while we’ve managed to sustain participation and grow it at school sport level, this survey demonstrates that we are not yet seeing this translate into a significant increase in adult community participation and stubborn participation gaps between men and women and disabled and non-disabled still exist. So we will have to continue to evolve our approach to ensure a Welsh sporting offer that meets their needs.”
“Just as in children, adults also like to feel they have the skills and confidence to participate in sport. It provides the motivation to take part. Enjoyable opportunities, good quality competition or social sporting opportunities and the support of friends and family are all aspects that make sport a key part of someone’s life and we need to tap into this when we deliver sport.”