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National Lottery helps Surrey organisations tackle inequality

National Lottery helps Surrey organisations tackle inequality

The Tackling Inequalities Fund, which uses money raised by the National Lottery, aims to help lessen the gap in activity for those with different backgrounds. It focuses on lower socio-economic groups, Black, Asian Minority Ethnic communities, disabled people and those with long-term health conditions.

Sport England data shows there is a marked difference in the amount of exercise that those on different levels of income undertake, while cultural differences and health related issues also contribute to lower levels of physical activity. People with disabilities or a long term condition are a third less ‘active’, while those in lower socio economic groups are more than twice as likely to be classed as inactive (doing less than 30 minutes of activity per week).

Since the onset of coronavirus, people have really valued the benefits that come from staying active – seven in ten say exercise is contributing to their physical health but almost as many agree that it’s helping them manage their mental wellbeing too. However, while the worst of the nationwide lockdown is behind us, there are still plenty of people who need help thanks to the ongoing shutdown of support services.

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Bids which have been approved so far across Surrey include:

  • a series of consultations, weekly online exercises and healthy eating classes for diabetics and pre-diabetics
  • a series of online video challenges for young people who can join in via social media, with the aim of creating a socially distant ‘boot camp’ session in Tandridge.
  • training for students at the University of Surrey to deliver special activity sessions for overweight children - typically those from disadvantaged backgrounds or who have learning difficulties
  • a bid from Action For Carers who are organising online exercise classes where carers can meet to exercise in a supportive virtual space with a trained instructor
  • outdoor fitness training for young refugees or unaccompanied asylum seekers
  • guided walks or socially distanced chair based exercise for those suffering from dementia in Elmbridge
  • funds for sports equipment to help shielded, terminally ill children with physical therapy
  • occupational therapy for autistic children, helping parents engage their child in the type of physical activity best suited to their child
  • money to buy iPads and hire facilitators for physical activity sessions aimed at students who have learning difficulties
  • adapted creative dance sessions for older people, dementia sufferers and those with learning difficulties in care homes and sheltered housing

Commenting on overall aim of the Fund, Tim Hollingsworth, Sport England’s Chief Executive, said:

“We know from our research and data that there are existing inequalities between groups when it comes to activity levels and COVID-19 has reinforced these.

“Thanks to the support of the National Lottery and its players, the Tackling Inequalities Fund is both crucial and central to ensuring no-one is left behind when it comes to having the opportunity to be active during this period

In relation to her charity’s successful bid, Rachel Brennan from Guildford-based Action for Carers Surrey talked about their project, which is vital for those still shielding with loved ones at home:

“Providing exercise sessions on Zoom will help us meet a requested need from our carers. While they’ll be meeting others safely and sharing their experiences, they won’t feel pressured to be as good as long-standing participants in a more open class. No-one will need to explain themselves as everyone understands and is mutually supportive”

Lawrie Baker, Head of Strategic Relationships at Woking-based Active Surrey commented:

“Coronavirus is having a greater negative impact on the capability and opportunity to be physically active for some groups over others. That’s why we are pleased to offer this support to some of the most deserving groups in Surrey on behalf of Sport England and the National Lottery.

“We are working through bids from many other Surrey-based organisations but any groups wishing to find out more can get in touch with us if they have a project idea they would like discuss by emailing

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