A new study into public participation in sport and exercise, the first of its kind ever undertaken in Ireland, has found that the Clare economy could benefit from an annual injection of 1 million euro as a result of just 5% of the population taking up a new exercise or sport activity.
A Sports Impact Review undertaken by W2 Consulting on behalf of Clare Local Sports Partnership (CLSP) examined teenage participation in sport through the GOYA programme and the Youth Basketball initiative, as well as female participation in sport through the Meet & Train programme and Women on Wheels cycling initiative.
The Review found the average adult spend on sports goods and services as a result of taking up a new exercise or sport to be €152.50. It also found that more than half of all of adults (51.7%) and 83% of teenagers have taken up a new sport or activity as a direct result of participating in the CLSP programmes.
John Sweeney, CLSP Coordinator said the study highlights that more and more people are taking up exercise or a new sport, primarily as a result of increased public participation in our programmes, as well as greater investment in and improved access to sports and recreation facilities throughout Clare.
Mr. Sweeney noted that sports participation in programmes and sustained leisure activity is resulting in an economic benefit for the area.
He continued: “Adults are estimated to spend €152.50 per annum as a result of taking up a new exercise or sport. Parents state they spend an average of €129.00 per annum per child who takes up a new sports pastime. The survey outlines that the Clare economy would benefit by up to one million euro a year if just 5% of the County’s population of 117,000 took up a new sport or exercise activity.”
Mark O’Connell, Director of W2 Consulting explained that the approach used in the Sports Impact Review was to “determine the value placed on the sports participation and the associated social and economic value generated through the intervention of the CLSP”.
“Though widely used in the UK to measure impact of sport or event legacy, this is the first study of its kind ever undertaken in Ireland. Among the key objectives of the study was to examine the sports, social and health benefits of the CLSP activity and create a value system around sports participation in locally organised activity,” he stated.
Programme participants were asked to place a value on an hour exercise that delivers a range of associated social, health and fitness benefits. Adults would pay up to €7.87 for an hour’s activity while youths are willing to pay €3.12 per hour to achieve the desired benefits. The parents of children involved in the programmes stated a willingness to pay €8.60 for one hour’s exercise delivering the perceived health and social benefits.
The study also indicates that the impact on sustained participation in sport and activity among programme participants is “very strong” as a result of the CLSP facilitated programmes.
One in every five teenagers undertakes 5 additional hours of physical activity per week as a result of the programme. One in two teenagers undertakes two additional hours of activity each week. 83% of teenagers have taken up a new sport or activity as a direct result of participating in the programmes, while two thirds of teenagers indicated they are 40% more active than before staring the programme.
One out of every two adults now undertakes at least 2 additional hours of physical activity per week as a result of the programme, while almost four in ten adults (36%) now undertake 5 additional hours of physical activity each week as a result of the programme. More than half of all of adults (51.7%) have taken up a new sport or activity as a direct result of participating in the programmes. Meanwhile, half of all adults on programmes stated they are at least 50% more active than before staring the programme
The Sports Benefit Index revealed that adults felt their Health and Wellbeing has improved by 14.4 points after taking part on the various programmes. The overall index increased from 62.6% before the activity programmes to 77% after the programmes.
The Clare Local Sports Partnership is funded by the Irish Sports Council, and supported by Clare County Council under the Clare Sports and Recreation Strategy 2011-2014. For more visit http://www.claresportspartnership.ie.