YouGov survey: Almost 20 Per Cent of Londoners Don't Exercise Even Once A Week

published on 8 Jul 2014

Londoners are some of the least likely to take exercise at least once a week in the UK according to new YouGov survey. But 79 per cent agreed that regular exercise is important, and 79 per cent also felt that vulnerable people would benefit from taking up exercise

The Salvation Army is 149 not out…and is using sport to help vulnerable people suffering from addiction problems and homelessness

There is a wealth of sport on the TV this weekend with the Wimbledon Finals, World Cup quarter finals and the British Grand Prix, but for many of us it’s as close as we come to taking any form of exercise.

In a YouGov survey commissioned by The Salvation Army, 77 per cent of Londoners said they watch sport on the TV, but 48 per cent admitted that they exercise less than once a week, and 26 per cent said that they  never do any exercise or sports at all. Nevertheless, a whopping 79 per cent of the Capital’s citizens who took part in the anonymous poll thought that taking part in sport/ exercise is important.

The Salvation Army celebrates 149 years since it was founded by General William Booth, believes sport is a powerful tool in helping people recover from addiction problems and homelessness. That’s a sentiment agreed by our respondents with 81 per cent seeing the benefit of regular sport and exercise for vulnerable people.

In May, The Salvation Army’s church in Bedford opened a new all-weather multi-games area with a surprise visit by comedian James Corden.

The church in Bedford already ran, and continues to run, popular table tennis sessions with organisers believing the sports activity for young people in the area had helped keep them on the straight and narrow.

The new sports facility for the community of Bedford is all down to the valiant efforts of the Salvation Army who spent two years redeveloping the former public house in Bedford’s Commercial Road. But the vision and commitment to the importance of sport in transforming people’s lives was conceived long before that.

 [Related content: Get on your bike or run a few miles with The Salvation Army]

It was 15 years ago when Roger Collins and other volunteers running the Salvation Army Boys’ Activity Club (SABAC), first thought about providing a purpose-built centre for young people in Bedford. Sadly, Roger died before he got to see the vison realised but, after more than a decade of fund-raising, a new all-weather sports ground, meeting rooms and café was officially opened with a five-a-side football tournament, netball tournaments and a lively street festival.

Major Geoff Allchin, said: “We already run youth clubs and kids’ clubs and expanding this with a sports ground was a great way for us to be able to offer practical help as well as a compassionate listening ear for young people.

“We want everyone to feel welcome here and we felt this was one way we could further the active part we play in Bedford and see the benefits that sports has in bringing people together and creating community and a safe space for young people.”

The Salvation Army’s church in Staines also runs a range of sporting activities for young people such as two football teams as well as offering the chance to play table tennis at their weekly Friday club for 60 to 80 children. They are also launching a golf society and have purchased a football training aid which is proving very popular.

Major Paul Billiard, church leader at Staines corps, said: “The sporting activities we run look to help young people develop key life skills through sport. You can see people gaining in confidence, growing in community.

“Sport also tackles stress and keeps people healthy. This is one way we reach out to our community and look to support people with a hand up and not a hand out.

“We feel sport is an important tool for doing this and enables us to offer a compassionate and listening ear to the young people who come through our doors.

“While most of us don’t do enough exercise – the government recommends we take exercise at least a couple of times a week due to the benefits to mental as well as physical health.”

The Salvation Army has a number of programmes to get people involved in sport, including our Partnership Trophy, a football tournament for homeless men and women, summer camps, weekly football matches, hill walking, badminton, tennis and many more.