Sheffield and Doncaster in the running for share of £130 million sports bonanza

A tug-of-war was held to launch Move More Month in Sheffield in June
A tug-of-war was held to launch Move More Month in Sheffield in June

Sheffield and Doncaster are in the running for a slice of up to £130 million to boost participation in sport.

Both cities have made Sport England's 19-strong shortlist to run a 'local delivery pilot' scheme, exploring innovative ways of getting more people to exercise.

The grass roots funding body last December invited groups across the country to apply for the chance to run one of 10 'pilot' projects, which would share up to £130m to make their vision a reality.

It received 113 expressions of interest, which were whittled down to 19, and the final selection process is now underway.

The National Centre for Sport and Exercise Medicine (Sheffield), a conglomeration of 12 organisations including Sheffield Council, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals and the city's universities, is among those to make the shortlist, along with Doncaster Council.

Those organisations have been sworn to secrecy ahead of the final decision being announced, with details of how they would spend the money remaining strictly under wraps for now.

Sport England initially said it expected to chose the first three or four pilots in March this year.

But it has yet to announce any successful applications and would only say this month that the selection process was ongoing and it did not yet have a date when the chosen few would be revealed.

Sport England has said the winning projects should be a 'true collaboration' guided by the needs of local people. It wants them to cover a range of different areas so successful 'experiments' can be rolled out across the country.

Exercise rates in Sheffield are similar to the national average, according to Sport England's Active Lives survey for 2015/16.

More than two thirds (68.1 per cent) of the city's adults did two-and-a-half hours or more physical activity a week, while nearly a quarter (23.2 per cent) did less than half an hour.

But people are less active in Doncaster, the survey found, with only 59 per cent of residents getting a frequent work out and 29.1 per cent doing little exercise.