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Social Return on Investment - key takeaways

Social Return on Investment - key takeaways

Read the 12 main insights from the study. 

  1. Recreational physical activity generates significant value for society across multiple wellbeing domains and outcomes.  
  2. For every $1 spent, there was a social return of $2.12 to New Zealand, meaning that the value of the wellbeing outcomes for New Zealand is greater than the costs of providing these opportunities, thus making recreational physical activity a potentially cost-effective investment. 
  3. Recreational physical activity generates considerable value to society beyond the traditional economic measures identified in previous studies in Aotearoa New Zealand. It identified a wide range of benefits to society, spanning across several domains of wellbeing, including health; subjective wellbeing; income consumption and wealth; work, care and volunteering; family and friends; and safety. Much wider than participating to improve one’s health.  
  4. Recreational physical activity makes a significant contribution to Māori wellbeing through strengthening intergenerational relationships and reinforcing cultural values, beliefs, social norms and knowledge. ‘As-Māori’ organisations and events utilise sport and recreation as a vehicle to reclaim and reinvigorate Maori communities of care. 
  5. This national study breaks new ground in placing indigenous communities at the heart of the research. It is one of only a handful of other studies carried out at the population level (in any sector) internationally.   
  6. The bi-cultural approach recognised that Māori outcomes are distinct from the general population’s outcomes, and it was agreed these outcomes must therefore be treated accordingly. These outcomes were not measured for their contributions to economic expenditure or production as part of the national SROI.  Māori stakeholders described outcomes that are consistent with Māori views of wellbeing, noting dimensions other than physical – i.e., spiritual, mental, emotional, cultural health, all within a context of environmental health.  
  7. We acknowledge the likelihood that other population groups are likely to have unique benefits related more directly to cultural vitality and more evidence is required to better understand this. 
  8. Health outcomes are the most significant wellbeing domain for measuring the impact of sport and physical activity. This reflects significant historical and current investment into the system promoting and evidencing the physical health benefits of being active. By comparison is there is more evidence required to better reflect the true value of the social cohesion dimension which we think is currently undervalued. 
  9. The biggest costs for households are equipment costs and transport costs (public and private combined). 
  10. The cost of transport for households is a large input (both private and public transport).  We know that by reducing the barriers of cost to participate (that is, club fees and/or equipment) there still remains a barrier of transport and access.  
  11. The volunteering space as both an input and outcome (as a key domain) contribute significantly to the recreational physical activities social return on investment. 
  12. Care needs to be taken in how we educate and support our sector in using this information. We’re not asking them to all start undertaking SROIs.

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