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The Government has reviewed evidence suggesting that both sport and the arts can positively affect health, wellbeing, community cohesion, social behaviour, and individuals’ outcomes. This review is considered in the first section of this briefing, alongside evidence gathered by Sport England and the Arts Council England. For the avoidance of doubt, recreational activities (for example, walking or going to museums and galleries) are considered under the sport and the arts headings in the same section.

The second and third sections of the briefing highlight data on wellbeing in the UK and on participation and engagement rates with sport and culture. As part of its measuring national wellbeing programme, the Office for National Statistics has reported an average rate of 7.7 out of 10 for life satisfaction in England and in the UK. The UK’s score (when compared against other countries in 2015) was around the OECD-country average.

Sport England and Arts Council England have surveyed participation in their respective sectors. Their reports found that:

  • 62.3% (28 million) of people were classed as physically “active”, 12.5% (5.6 million) were “fairly active”, and 25.2% (11.3 million) were classed as “inactive” (under 30 minutes of moderate activity).
  • 78.9% of adults had engaged with the arts at least once in 2017/18 (this included engagement or participation with theatre, dance, carnivals, exhibitions, book clubs etc).

This briefing sets out further breakdowns of engagement levels, including types of activity and participation by different age groups.

The final section of the briefing summarises sport and cultural engagement policies. This includes programmes and funding managed by Sport England and by Arts Council England, such as those intended to engage with under-represented groups. The briefing also refers to the Government’s 2015 Sporting Future


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