Ipswich named England’s most accessible town for sports

Runners of all ages took part in a day long cross country cycling and running event in the countrysi

Runners of all ages took part in a day long cross country cycling and running event in the countryside around Foxhall Stadium Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

Ipswich has been named England’s most accessible town for sports out of 100 towns and cities. 

The study carried out by Runners Need has ranked towns and cities across England, considering the number of local sports facilities and government sports expenditure data. 

The research also analysed local physical activity rates, well-being rates and sports expenditure data from the past five years to determine how their town ‘shapes up’. 

Ipswich was the only town to score in the top 10 for both factors: ranking 8th for sports expenditure (£67.82 per person per year) and 10th for the number of sports facilities (115 places per 100,000 residents). 

Study winners overall and per category

Study winners overall and per category - Credit: Runners Need

Councillor Bryony Rudkin, Ipswich Borough Council portfolio holder for sports, said: “It's great to see recognition that IBC understands and delivers on the importance of providing facilities and opportunities for people to get more active.  

“Being ranked top in this survey is good news and we are going to get even better.  

“Our new Sports Facilities Strategy includes both a new Aquatics Centre on the Portman Road Car Park and a new sports and athletics centre at Gainsborough, with plans also in hand for Whitton.” 

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Over the past five years, Ipswich has increased sports spending by 3.8%, however, the well-being rates have fallen by 5.2% as well as activity rates that fell by 14.8% in the same period. 

Ipswich borough has been ranked the eighth least active local authority area in England, according to Ipswich Borough Council’s report, with 38.5% of adults exercising less than 30 minutes per week. 

Regionally, the East of England ranks top when considering sports expenditure and sports facilities per capita.  

Five year change in expenditure regional heat map

Five year change in expenditure regional heat map - Credit: Runners Need

Per year, the region spends £44.38 per person, which is above the English average and higher than any other region.  

The East of England has also increased funding of sports facilities by 15% since 2016, whereas on average England only increased spending only by 3.5%. 

Ipswich at the top for sports facilities

Ipswich at the top for sports facilities - Credit: Runners Need

The region's next top-performing towns are Cambridge (which was ranked 4th in the study overall), Colchester (5th) and Chelmsford (10th).