More than £5m of funding is being invested into equestrian sport as part of the Government’s plans to “level up” access to physical activity across the country.
British Equestrian (BEF) is one of more than 120 organisations working in partnership with Sport England on the 10-year “Uniting the Movement” strategy. The project was developed after Sport England research found some groups are “typically less active” including women, people with long-term health conditions, disabled people and those from ethnically diverse communities and lower socio-economic groups.
More than £550m is being invested by Sport England into the strategy, of which BEF will receive £5,187,216. Organisations were selected because of their ability to “influence change and improvement at the heart of the system they are a part of”.
“Equestrianism is a model sport for gender equality, age range, disability access and at its core is accessible to most socio-economic groups,” said a BEF spokesman. “However, we’re less successful in promoting ethnic diversity and this must become a feature of our future if we are to thrive and represent society better.
“Alongside our unique position, we will utilise this funding in partnership with stakeholders to ensure those who feel excluded are catered for by providing insight about the barriers communities face. This in turn will enable us to adapt our approaches to remove those barriers and increase access.”
Sport England chief executive Tim Hollingsworth said the Sport England’s goal is to get everyone active “no matter who they are, where they live or what their background is”.
“We can only innovate and tackle inequalities effectively by thinking about long-term change; Uniting the Movement is a long-term vision and our funding approach needs to reflect that,” he said.
BEF head of participation Mandana Mehran Pour added the organisation is “very excited” to be working with Sport England and playing its role in providing the voice, inspiration and leadership for all those involved with equestrianism.
“Our aim is to tackle inequalities in equestrian sport and it will form a major part of our workflow as a key focus in our overall strategy,” she said.
Last month, BEF announced plans to carry out research to understand the barriers to participation in riding, vaulting and carriage driving (news, 21 April). Following a tender process, BEF has confirmed the work will be carried out by learning and development consultancy AKD Solutions.
“This is the first major piece of work done in this area and we hope to learn through lived experience of people from ethnically diverse communities and low socio-economic backgrounds, which will help us to facilitate the way forward to our end goal,” said Ms Mehran Pour.
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