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Tackling Inequalities Fund

The Tackling Inequalities Fund was an emergency fund by Sport England that aimed to help reduce the negative impact of Coronavirus and the widening of the inequalities in taking part in sports and physical activity.

Why was the Tackling Inequalities Fund needed?

The Coronavirus pandemic had a profound impact on older people's physical activity, with older people's physical activity levels dropping by 7%, and 4.3 million people reporting that they can't walk as far since the pandemic. 

This impacted the older people we surveyed by:

  • reducing their ability to do day-to-day activities
  • leading to a loss of mobility and balance from moving less
  • experiencing increased pain from untreated medical conditions, and
  • impacting their mental health.

What was the Tackling Inequalities Fund?

Age UK was awarded funding from Sport England's Tackling Inequalities Fund to provide grants to 38 local Age UKs across England to run physical activities in their communities. These sessions helped older people become more physically active and address the negative impacts of the pandemic by taking part in sports and physical activity in the short term.

Local Age UKs ran a range of physical activity groups, including:

  • dance
  • body conditioning
  • strength and balance classes
  • chair-based activities
  • yoga
  • pilates and relaxation
  • tai chi
  • walking activities
  • Zumba.

The programme also funded activity packs, purchasing equipment, and the training of volunteers and staff so that activities could continue after the programme had finished.

Key findings

The Tackling Inequalities Fund programme reached over 3,100 older people, with the majority living with a long-term health condition or disability. Feedback from local Age UKs found that the programme had a positive impact on older people by:

  • Increasing physical activity levels, including improving movement and balance.
  • Improving mental health and wellbeing, with one local Age UK reporting that “members go away with a spring in their step!”
  • Reducing levels of loneliness through increased social interaction.
  • Motivating them to be involved in other activities.


It has definitely improved everything, my wellbeing, my physical and mental conditions and my interaction with other people.

I thoroughly enjoyed the walk, not only for the interesting information but, as a “Covid vulnerable" retiree, it was great to be out socialising but feeling safe as it was outdoors. The group of people were extremely friendly.


This programme was funded by Sport England through the Tackling Inequalities Fund.

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Last updated: Oct 11 2022

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