FEWER people in the North East are participating in sports, arts and volunteer work than anywhere else in the country, new figures show.
Statistics released by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport also reveal a decline in the number of people in the region taking part in a range of activities in areas of public life such as sport, libraries and the arts.
In many areas the region is lagging behind other parts of the country, with the North East having the lowest engagement figures in the arts, sports and volunteering categories in 2011.
Critics have called on the Government to spend money tackling participation problems in the region.
With the Olympics just months away, the data shows people in the North East are failing to get involved in sports with just 47.6 per cent engaging in one sporting activity a month in 2011.
The figure was the lowest in the country and way behind the East of England where 58.3 per cent of people were keeping active during the same period.