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Sport England

Physical activity during lockdown

Sport England is a public body that aims to make sport and physical activity accessible to everyone in England.

To increase participation in sport and physical activity, Sport England provided funding, support, and expertise to a wide range of organisations and initiatives.

They also aim to improve the quality and availability of sporting facilities and promote the benefits of an active lifestyle to people of all ages and abilities.

The Challenge

Considering the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak and the various restrictions on life, including access to and availability of sport and exercise, Sport England wanted to gather evidence on public levels of physical activity and associated attitudes.

Due to the timing of the pandemic and the immediate impact of lockdown on the population, including the ‘once a day’ outdoor allowance for exercise, their other existing research programmes were not able to capture the necessary data in a timely way. Sport England required a vehicle that was more reactive and had a quicker turnaround.

Our approach

Savanta provided a solution that met our client’s needs in terms of speed of turnaround, quality of data and appropriate outputs. Using our in-house panel and online survey platform, we conducted regular surveys of 2,000 English adults, representative by age, gender, region and social grade. In addition, after the first wave, we also ensured the sample was representative in terms of quotas of adults with and without children under 18 in their household.

This particular element showed flexibility and continual efforts to improve the project. Sport England also appreciated Savanta’s work in designing new questions to respond to identified research needs, and providing additional consolidated or bespoke outputs throughout the project.

The outcome

Our survey was able to gather detailed demographic information to build up a picture of who was being more, or less physically active, and how this was changing as the pandemic continued, informing the support and information Sport England provided to the sector during the outbreak, and supporting their overall mission to help everyone in England be active.

Sport England updated its online resource document with data from the previous wave of the survey, as well as any press releases.

The research was widely used by the organisation as well as the sport and leisure sector to gauge the extent of physical activity during the pandemic.

It was also used to provide updates to DCMS and offer a source of evidence that would help them make the best response.

Savanta have provided an excellent service for us in delivering a major ongoing survey and associated outputs. Their communication was timely, responsive, clear and helpful, and they really took responsibility for meeting our needs and dealing with our numerous queries and requests. Their team members were a pleasure to deal with, providing a high level of skill and expertise alongside an agreeable manner and a pro-active, professional approach.

Tim Fitches, Research and Evaluation Lead, Sport England