People in Liverpool are engaging in less physical activity since the Covid-19 pandemic, according to Liverpool City Council Physical Activity and Sports Development officer Gavin McLaughlin.

McLaughlin is referring to Sport England data, prior to Coronavirus, which showed 73% of adults living in Liverpool participated in at least 30 minutes of physical activity a week.

This was in line with the national average of 73%.

However, the most recent Sport England data, showed that physical activity in Liverpool has decreased by 5% to 68% since Covid.

This figure compares similarly again to the national benchmark of 72.5%, albeit less.

McLaughlin explains the decrease when he contextualises the figures.

He said: “In my role, we noticed a difference an increase in the number of those taking part in physical activity rather than specific sports.

“42% of the respondents to a recent citywide physical activity consultation said they were less active since the Covid-19 pandemic, but 30% said that their behaviour towards being physically active had changed positively.

“89% said they would like to do more physical activity.”

As Covid-19 has had a significant impact on councils, McLaughlin mentioned the extent to which it has had on his department.

He said: “It had an impact on the delivery of the team’s work streams.

“Things slowed down during the lockdowns. Organised activities, and sport, were impacted but an individual’s physical activity seemed to increase.

“As seen in The Active Lives Covid-19 report.”

McLaughlin also emphasised that funding had been made available to the council in the wake of Covid-19.

Part of these additional funds go towards different programmes that McLaughlin’s department run.

Unrelated to Covid funding, McLaughlin’s department are pushing the GOGA (Get Out Get Active) programme.

According to McLaughlin, the GOGA programme’s objective is to improve people’s wellbeing by encouraging them to become active or to increase their activity levels.

“We’ve got three main target groups: LGBT+ community, carers, and students,” he added.

“We have funding to help support that, what we can do with that as well is train people up to be activity leaders.

“It can be sport specific or generalised, and then what that student can do, or member of staff, can deliver physical activities to their peers.”

With life returning to normal, McLaughlin in the Sport and Recreation Service, goes into detail about the clear aims that his department have.

“We’re trying to increase levels of physical activity across the city. We’re also trying to empower and enable communities to deliver activities.

“An example of what we’re doing we’ve started up a new bike ride within Walton Hall Park.

“As the council we’ve provided the bikes, we’ve provided funding to train someone up as a ride leader.

“Then that leader from a local community will lead bike rides.

“It’s also happening at Sefton Park, Calderstones Park, and Croxteth Park.”