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Driving Positive Change Through Sport and Physical Activity

Impact Report 2021/2022

Welcome to our 2021/2022 Impact Report

If you are curious about the many ways in which sport and physical activity can be used as a driver for positive societal change there should be something in this report that excites you.


Equally, if this isn’t something you’ve particularly thought much about

before, we hope that you will be inspired by the imaginative and practical ways in which sport and physical activity can benefit the lives of residents in North Yorkshire and York of all ages, abilities and circumstance. But more is needed.  

Physical and mental health is an essential need, not a luxury. 


At a time when the social and emotional mental health of the entire population is being tested what better opportunity is there for using movement, in all its forms, as a means to tackle barriers and inequalities that have been further pronounced by the pandemic and the rising costs of living?  

Reaching more people to help them change their lives.


Our expanding portfolio of projects has enabled us to reach more people than ever before, with empathy and mindful of the difficulties some people face to get active and healthy in ways that suit them. David, and the amazing team here at North Yorkshire Sport have worked tirelessly and creatively to deliver or enable activity across the county. 

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As a result, We are reaching children and families, particularly those from a disadvantaged background, as well as young people in schools and in workplaces and communities across the adult life stages. Targeted interventions are increasingly demonstrating successful changes in people’s lives where they choose to become more active, feel more confident, resilient and have a more positive attitude towards physical activity. For some, the difference is extremely powerful  creating a new sense of purpose, belonging and self-belief. 

Strength in partnership 


North Yorkshire Sport relies on strong partnerships to make change because the scale of the challenge is too big for any single organisation to tackle alone. The levels of inactivity, obesity and inequalities are greater than they should be which is why we have been focusing so much of our efforts in working with others as ‘system leaders.’ This means learning together, being as generous as we can in sharing our practice and capabilities and working across sectors (education, health, employment as well as health) to make a difference. We could not do this without you. 

The future is community power 


As we recover from the pandemic, we believe that there is a latent strength and demand to improve wellbeing in each community across North Yorkshire and York. We will seek to ignite that potential through the way we work in different places and with different people. We continue to invest in the resolute paid and voluntary workforce in sports clubs and outdoor contexts who deliver great experiences every day of the year. And increasingly, we will work with the new community networks, hubs and groups eager to embed sport and physical activity in their local plans and offer. 

There is hope not helplessness 


As you read this report, despite the scale of the challenge, most of all I wish you to feel hope and optimism that together we can help more people feel well, healthy, happy  and living their best life. Thank you for everything you do with North Yorkshire Sport, your solidarity, and the things we are going to do in the years to come. 

Alan Graver,

Chair of North Yorkshire Sport


Our impact comes to life through the stories and testimonies of the people we work with and the places we work in, and these are explored later through our strategic goals. 


Levels of physical activity are dependent on a number of factors across systems and also down to individuals and their circumstances, meaning no single body can directly impact on them.  


That said, it is still important to understand and acknowledge the macro level trends in our sector.  In this opening chapter we explore some of the main measures and offer interpretation as to what they mean for the county.  We also examine the ways in which we seek to understand our sporting contexts, our workforce, and relationships with our partners to enable us to be more effective. 

Our Active Population

Active Lives Survey

The latest Active Lives Adult Survey report for the period of November 2020 – November 2021 tells us that while activity levels understandably dropped as a result of Covid-19 pandemic restrictions, they then stabilised and are now starting to recover.


In North Yorkshire, the data shows no ‘statistically significant’ changes, but we can see that:


of the North Yorkshire population were ‘active’ compared to pre-pandemic levels of 67.7% (Nov 18-Nov 19)



were ‘inactive’ compared to pre-pandemic levels of 20.7% (Nov 18-Nov 19)

active lives graph.png


of the North Yorkshire population were ‘fairly active’ compared to pre-pandemic levels of 11.5% (Nov 18-Nov 19)

The recovery is a testament to the work and investment that went into helping people stay active during a period of unprecedented restrictions.  However a broad range of inequalities, exacerbated by the pandemic, continue to contribute to low rates of physical activity, with 168,800 people in North Yorkshire doing less than 30 mins activity each week.  Our work continues to focus on the most inactive people and tackling the barriers that inhibit participation.  

Our Young People 

Active Lives Children and Young People Survey 

The latest survey of children and young people’s activity levels covers the academic year of September 2020 to July 2021, and includes the period of Covid19 restrictions impacting both indoor activity and organised outdoor activities during the autumn term, and then national lockdown during the spring term. 


Whilst the data shows no statistically significant changes across North Yorkshire, we can see that: 


(43,100) of children and young people are meeting the Chief Medical Officer guidelines of taking part in sport and physical activity for an average of 60 minutes or more every day compared to 44% (41,500) in 2018 /19, pre-pandemic.


(30,000) do less than an average of 30 minutes a day compared to 30.7% (28,900) pre pandemic.

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Rising inequalities 

Nationally, the survey gives valuable insights into the effects of the pandemic on young people.  Data collected over the last 12 months shows us that: 


  • Activity levels remain down compared to pre-pandemic but haven’t fallen further 


  • Children and young people from the least affluent families remain the least active 


  • Volunteering levels have decreased 


  • Individual development remains down for all age groups 


  • Loneliness has increased 


  • Children and young people are reporting fewer positive attitudes 

Growing Up in North Yorkshire Survey (GUNY) 

Despite the unprecedented challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, over 16,146 children and young people within our schools shared their perceptions and experiences through the latest biennial ‘Growing up in North Yorkshire’ survey (2020). The findings within the survey provide key insights into our children and young people’s perceptions and experiences in order to understand emerging needs and trends. 


The results present a decline in wellbeing scores across the age groups providing an insight into how the pandemic has affected our young people.  The findings “reinforce the need to continue to strive for the very best experiences in our schools and communities, with a focus on our most vulnerable children and young people.” (GUNY Report 2020)


Some of the key priorities highlighted by the report include:


  • Developing resilience and emotional wellbeing with a focus on responding to emerging needs following the pandemic


  • An inclusive and positive ethos and culture at school to ensure all pupils feel valued, safe and have a sense of belonging


  • Supporting and encouraging a healthy lifestyle


  • Supporting identified groups of young people who continue to have more negative outcomes against a wide range of indicators. These include in particular: Young Carers, Pupils receiving Free School Meals, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual pupils (LGB), Transgender pupils, Pupils with Special Educational Needs and /or Disabilities, Pupils from single-parent families

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Our clubs and settings 

Through our annual Sporting Context Survey, we consult with clubs and settings to help us understand and address their key priorities and challenges. In doing so, we are helping to support a more sustainable sporting infrastructure, better positioned to broaden participation and tackle inequality. 


  • 43% of contexts (58), reported a membership increase over the last 12 months 


  • 30% (40) reported a decrease in membership 


  • 27% (36) reported that their membership had remained the same 


  • Changes in participant numbers and the effects of Covid 19 were the greatest influencers of all membership changes


  • Attracting more participants (85% of contexts) and attracting more volunteers (63%) were the most popular development goals. 


  • ‘Children and young people’, ‘women & girls’, and ‘families’ are the most actively targeted demographic groups. 


  • ‘People from disadvantaged backgrounds’, ‘Ethnically diverse communities’ and ‘women and girls’ are groups that contexts would most like to target. 

Responses by district (%)

Contexts told us they feel their workforce (paid and voluntary) is: 


representative of participants they serve



diverse in it's makeup



enough to meet demand

The results help us to support our contexts more effectively including the role of our Learning Community which has delivered online content to over 3000 learners since 2020.


Our Partnerships

Our stakeholder survey helps us to understand where we add value and how we can improve our partnerships to help us achieve our goals.  We consulted with 34 of our partners who fed back on their experiences of working with us over the last 12 months: 


(26) of our partners felt we had enabled them to do something quicker or more effectively than they might otherwise have done.


(28) of our stakeholders said working with North Yorkshire Sport had provided them with specific benefits that they might not otherwise be able to access elsewhere, at all, or as effectively.

“Our entire North Yorkshire Together project has only been possible - and so successful and effective - thanks to our partnership with NYS.”  Rural Arts 


“As  well as the amazing NY Together Partnership as mentioned above in the Feast work, they are also involved in support with the Afghan refugees and their response to provide meaningful activities and support in a relaxed and authentic way has been hugely beneficial The work with the refugees was greatly speeded up because of NYS attitude and their great working relationship with NY Youth”  North Yorkshire County Council


“NYS provide an understanding and insight into the unique physical activity needs of the populations of North Yorkshire and York"  OHID YH Region 


“We have been able to offer greater holiday provision for young people whilst also continuing our term time provision. We also accessed a mentor to supported us to gain confidence to begin the process of gaining charity status”  North Yorkshire Youth 


“Yes because no other organisation could do what they do - having such a broad focus on promoting sport and physical activity to the most 'in need' communities in NY.  For example, in our School Zone project (working with secondary schools in deprived areas)  NYS have been able to establish links with the schools and put on after school sessions for vulnerable pupils, to help address an identified need from that school.”  North Yorkshire County Council

The Future

Looking ahead, our partners told us they would like to continue to build upon the current good work and relationships we share: 


  • Working more closely to develop  / improve / widen the reach of our work  


  • Exploring the evolving role of NYS following local government reorganisation 


  • Continuing to develop strategic work & partnerships 

“I would like to explore further barriers that we have noticed. I think our project co-ordinator has a lot to offer from her conversations with families and it would be good to share this with you”  WEA Families Get Active


“I would like to work more closely with NYS in breaking down barriers and offering more opportunities to engage in sport especially with those who have negative experiences or barriers that prevent them from engaging especially in traditional sports clubs. Some young people we engage with display huge potential in excelling in some sports however we do not have the local opportunities for them to develop this or they have other barriers that prevent them from accessing or progressing.”  North Yorkshire Youth


“We welcome the continued engagement of NYS to develop strategic priorities for the YH region”  OHID YH Region 

SG1 - Healthy Thiving Communities

Strategic Goal 1

To contribute to healthy, thriving communities across North Yorkshire

A broad range of inequalities can contribute to low rates of physical activity, and it’s important to try and understand those challenges in order to reduce inactivity and improve health and wellbeing.  Physical activity can be used as part of a collective solution to a range of issues and challenges that may be specific to a place, community, or individual and for that reason our work has evolved to become more targeted, place-based and collaborative.


The following case studies show how we have enabled communities to support more people to be active.

Supporting Families During School Holidays

Case Study: Holiday Activity and Food programme

The school holidays often present challenges for families whose children are in receipt of benefits related free school meals.  Holiday hunger and a lack of access to opportunities during school holidays can impact on those who would benefit the most.  The Department for Education have funded the Holiday Activity and Food programme (HAF) to combat holiday hunger.  North Yorkshire County Council have commissioned North Yorkshire Together (or which North Yorkshire Sport are a part of) to deliver and develop the programme in the county under the umbrella of FEAST.  Over the last year over 45 activities were provided across the county, accessed by over 2500 young people.

Watch the video

Improving Access to School Facilities

More young people have been able to access out of school provision across the county, rebuilding confidence, improving wellbeing and reversing worrying trends of reducing levels of physical activity. 


This was enabled through the Department for Education (DFE) investing in Opening School Facilities programme which saw us target over £155k to 13 secondary schools, 1 special school and 10 primary schools who demonstrated how the additional support would reach young people in most need. 

Case Study: Cheerleading at Clifton Green School 

“It has certainly built their confidence levels. To engage with adults they don't normally talk to, to work with children outside of their normal setting as well. It has given them that confidence and those communication skills.  I think the lifelong implication for them is also about mental health and wellbeing, particularly looking at children who can't access sport.” Nicky Jones (Head Teacher) 


Clifton Green Primary School applied for funding to establish a gymnastics and cheer-leading club for their pupils and the local community on three evening sessions per week. 


Clifton is an area of York with severe pockets of deprivation and many of the children at Clifton Green do not access extracurricular activities outside of school time due to affordability.  Our funding enabled children entitled to free school meals to access the sessions in their school hall, a familiar and comfortable venue.  

Participants told us:


“ I got an award which is a certificate and I was really proud of myself because I never thought I would get it” 


“Gymnastics makes me feel happy as well as a bit nervous because when I first went I didn’t really know anybody, but now I’m getting used to it.” 

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Watch the video

Case Study: Drumba at Michael Syddall School 

Michael Syddall Church of England Primary School Opening School Facilities Phase 2 Case St

“I love the fact that we can offer them things that they enjoy doing, that they want to take part in, that they will happily come back to school to do.” 
Neil Saunders, Deputy headteacher

We supported Michael Syddall CofE Primary School to establish a Drumba after-school club, targeted at current pupils, parents, and former pupils living locally whose parents and carers had expressed concern about their activity levels and isolation during the pandemic.  


The school recognised that the pandemic had resulted in local people's confidence, physical fitness, and resilience reducing, whilst social isolation had increased. The ambition was for the school to become a hub to enable the community to recover from the effects of the pandemic, by providing a familiar space to start re-connecting and becoming more active.  

Michael Syddall Church of England Primary School Opening School Facilities Phase 2 Case St
Michael Syddall Church of England Primary School Opening School Facilities Phase 2 Case St
Michael Syddall Church of England Primary School Opening School Facilities Phase 2 Case St

The kids told us: 


"You can be active at home and at school and you don’t have to think about other things when you’re doing drumba because all you really have to think about are the moves and the song”


“At the start of it you feel drained then when you start doing it you just have so much more energy” 

Watch the video

Expanding Our Reach to Develop People

Case Study: Yorkshire & Humber Learning Community

Case Study: Yorkshire & Humber Learning Community

Case Study: Yorkshire & Humber Learning Community

2021 to 2022 saw Yorkshire & Humber Learning Community (YHLC) delivering content to even more learners. Since March 2020, over 3000 people have accessed content from our online platform with over 5,300 learning options taken. Feedback remains incredibly positive.


Our community provides a more informal, bitesize model of learning designed to tackle falling face to face course numbers, while supporting more of the workforce to engage in learning and development.  At the start of 2021, the Sport England Workforce Innovation funding that initially supported its creation came to an end.  We continued to see great benefit in the offer and agreed to maintain its funding in a continued collaboration with two other active partnerships, Active Humber and Yorkshire Sport Foundation. 


of learners saying that they will change or implement something as a result



say they are more confident



say they are better skilled



say they are more capable

During this year, our learning community has extended to include two more Active Partnerships: RISE and Active Gloucestershire, who told us: 


“I wasn’t expecting to find an almost perfect version of what we needed [Active Communities learning] so quickly.” 


“We value the importance of the YHLC as a platform which meets the needs of both the traditional and non-traditional workforce, providing them with suitable and appropriate learning opportunities, delivered in suitable bitesize workshops. Being part of the YHLC allows us an Active Partnership to promote consistent messaging and training relating to physical activity delivery and we feel this type of training platform fills a gap in the market.” 

Our Top Modules

We’ve also continued to: 

Support and work with other Active Partnerships where they can benefit from accessing learning for their area’s workforce and also add value to the content.  

Develop existing relationships and create new connections to deliver valuable content to learners. For example, StreetGames have worked to create their second online learning module with us entitled; ‘working with Underserved Communities’. Stonewall have also supported us to create online learning in LGBTQ+ Inclusion.  

Work and consult with school PE specialists, experts and community settings to ensure that learning is relevant and real.  

Carry out in depth work with schools to test learning and launch two further modules aimed at supporting teachers and young people. 

Our learners told us: 


“I will make session more easily accessible, look at bus routes and after school clubs.” 


“I have a greater understanding to barriers and participation, ways to be more supportive and encouraging.” 


“I will share this training with teachers.” 


“I will be more aware of what my target audience want to see on social media.” 

Supporting our Community Settings to Grow 

Case Study: Gallows Close

“Before North Yorkshire Sport stepped in, we felt very overwhelmed with how big the centre was growing, we were worried that there was a lack of skill set to ensure the centre was being run correctly and safely. We are now moving forward, and this is down to all the organisations which have offered their time and skills to support the centre.” Kimmie Avison, Gallows Close Centre 


We facilitated a range of support to enable Gallows Close Centre to strengthen and improve as demand for their services increased. Early in 2021, an informal conversation with the community setting around volunteer and funding advice, highlighted some concerns which if left unaddressed, could impact the organisation negatively.   Whilst the setting was amazing at fundraising, it was done in a reactive way, so they went from funding pot to funding pot.  There also wasn’t a large staff team, so many roles fell to a couple of people and a small pool of volunteers.  As the work of the organisation grew, the existing ways of working posed a risk to staff wellbeing.   


We identified that Gallows would benefit from some expertise to support them.  We matched them up with an experienced mentor who worked closely to unpick some of the identified issues and was able to make some recommendations: 



Mentor Carol Lewis told us:  


"The centre offers invaluable support and activities to the local community; they have a great reputation and over the years have been tenacious and creative in finding funding and support to continue to provide their services. However, they had recognised that for all the success they were vulnerable without clear plans and actions to secure a longer-term sustainable future. As a mentor I was able to work with the organisation to help them identify their strengths, areas for improvements and priorities, supporting them to produce a realistic action plan that would strengthen the organisation and lead to a more sustainable future. Having a clear vision and plan assisted them to secure the further help and expertise which is required to enable them to deliver priorities and actions”

We recognised the expertise of our partners Stronger Communities and Community First Yorkshire, who also supported with additional resource to develop action, business and funding plans.  


Gallows Close plays such an important role in the community, and we wanted to make sure it had a strong future. There are massive hearts at work here, but the setting needed time to pause and strengthen and we knew we had a strong network to draw upon for advice and guidance. The external support has been mindful to strengthen and move the organisation forward without losing the essence of what they are about and the energy and passion that exists for being engaged and embedded within their community. 

Kimmie Avison, the centre manager at Gallows Close told us:  


“We would like to say a big thank you to the NYS team for supporting the centre through a difficult time.  What began as a small business has grown into a full action packed organisation supporting all walks of life.  We never imagined the hard work of our team would become an important role in supporting local families and young people in need. We are the hidden little gem that keeps on giving and providing essential support, activities and enhancing community life. NYS signposted the centre to different organisations which have all offered a variety of different support and skill sets to ensure we are running the centre correctly. We have been lucky to receive funding to employ an office manager who is already making changes”  

Strategic Goal 2

The Great Outdoors - To use the natural environment as a catalyst for wider health improvements

SG2 - The Great Outdoors

Spending time in green space and with nature can benefit both mental and physical health and since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic the outdoors has played an even more important role in maintaining our wellbeing.


In North Yorkshire, the outdoors is our greatest asset and we have used an asset based approach to encourage more people in North Yorkshire to be active in the outdoors. Our work has included:

Engaging In The Outdoors Through Canicross

Case Study: Dalby Forest Canicross


Our Canicross events have continued to grow in popularity, gaining a lot of attention from the public and within the Canicross community.  In 2021/22 a series of four Canicross events were delivered in Dalby Forest and attended by 190 people and their canine companions. The aim is to ensure that events are inclusive to all abilities and the experience of being in the forest becomes a focus point of the participants.   


The events have been attended by regular runners but there has also been an increase in those trying the sport and attending the forest for the first time, recruited from word of mouth, local social prescribing, and online groups.   

With the mix of new and older participants there has been fantastic social element observed at the events and the sharing of knowledge resources and support has encouraged runners to explore how they could start their own local clubs.   

Participants told us: 

“Coming the Dalby Forest Canicross events is amazing for me and Rose. I loved the welcoming spirit and the opportunity to run with likeminded people. We enjoy the challenge to get out and be free in the forest it’s great for both our wellbeing. It’s taken me a while since the lockdown to get where I am now and the Canicross has played a big part in that” 


"We just wanted to say a massive thank you for the event today & all who helped making it possible. The course was superb, epic views and conditions. Myself, my wife & daughter all ran as well as a close friend and our dogs loved the water and dog treat at the end. We stayed , had coffee, bought some merchandise and just thoroughly enjoyed the morning."

“We really enjoyed our first Canicross, so much better organised than a lot of road races I've run!” 


"Spud and I had a fabulous time and can't wait for our next race. I thought the organisation was excellent and the whole atmosphere was so welcoming and friendly."


“Thanks so much for a great event the start went much more smoothly and I had no need to worry! There was plenty of space for my nervous dog so we could queue without her feeling anxious which was great. I loved to route as well was an amazing place to run. 

I would definitely do this race again.” 


Alistair’s Story: 


“The Dalby Forest Canicross event has been really significant in the development of Canicross. I attended the September 2021 Dalby Forest Canicross event with my cocker spaniel Leo and my family and friends. We had a great time and I quickly realised that this was a sport I really enjoyed and wanted to develop further. 


I am a PE teacher and therefore getting people interested in sport is a real passion of mine. In October 2021 I became a Dogfit qualified Canicross instructor and I set up a Canicross training group on Facebook. This group has now grown to include over 125 participants and we regularly organise Canicross group runs. 


I am so grateful to the Dalby Forest Canicross event. I recently finished second overall in the Canix National Championships and I owe this level of success to the Dalby Forest Canicross event.” 

Watch the video

Wellbeing Walks for Health Improvement

Case Study: Ramblers Wellbeing Walks North Yorkshire

A network of new walk leaders and walking groups have been established over the last year, providing citizens of North Yorkshire the opportunity to better access friendly, inclusive community walks within easy reach of where they live.


The Ramblers Wellbeing Walks partnership programme is being led by North Yorkshire Sport, and delivered in partnership with North Yorkshire County Council and the Ramblers Association. 


We have created and nurtured a network of partners to support each other and share good practice and learning. 

William Gedye, Administrator, Ramblers Wellbeing Walks Richmondshire, told us: 


" The big benefit is to work with North Yorkshire Sport’s network of agencies to get the people who really need the walks onto our beginner’s level. We are very pleased to have been supported through this by NYCC and North Yorkshire Sport” 

Over the last six months, we have promoted walks and volunteering opportunities, and delivered a series of Walk Leaders training to both new volunteers and those transitioning to join ‘Wellbeing Walks North Yorkshire’. This upskilling of the current workforce has enhanced current provision and provided further opportunities for walking activity for all within the community.   


The partnership has helped individuals to gain confidence and knowledge, enabling social contact whilst spending time in nature.  


Key achievements of the partnership include:

Tackling inactivity in the community through engaging with audiences who would benefit most from walking and joining the programme. An example of this can be seen in Scarborough through the newly established ‘Step Out’ walking group, targeting individuals who may feel loneliness or isolation. 

Ensuring walks are accessible and open to all through proactively identifying and removing barriers so that more people can access and start walking.  

Delivering a programme of short group walks that are safe and regular across the North Yorkshire district areas, with a range of durations and locations. 

Commitment as a partnership to delivering long-term change acting as great advocates across the district areas for the power of walking, wellbeing and tackling inactivity across the region. 


“I get a lot of exercise; I get to meet a lot of people. Different people come on each walk and you hear their stories and have different conversations all the time. Apart from the physical benefits of walking there is a sense that coming out for a walk and a chat and being with other people in an organised and friendly group is a great benefit to people.”  Graeme Barber, a walk leader for  Ramblers Wellbeing Walks 

Watch the video

Strategic Goal 3

To contribute to children and young people fulfilling their potential and feeling healthy and happy

SG3 - Children & Young People

Sport and physical activity can contribute to children and young people having a healthy start in life, be a key element of education and support a happy family life. 


As well as supporting programmes which target young people who are typically less active, we also work to influence organisations and systems to build physical activity in to how they operate.  


Some examples of our work include: