The Government have today published their new Sport Strategy (Get Active) which, alongside Uniting the Movement, provides the framework for the development of elite and grassroots sport.
The strategy can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/get-active-a-strategy-for-the-future-of-sport-and-physical-activity
The emphasis on getting more people active in a sustainable and safe sport system is to be celebrated. It is clear that whilst we still focus on opportunities for elite sports and events in this country, there has been massive progress in the breadth and accessibility of sporting activities and the willingness to encourage greater activity amongst the adult and young population. But the widening of opportunities is insufficient without attention to accessibility, diversity and safeguarding. This strategy explores these issues and sets a standard for the sector.
Sport and physical activity are competing in a cost of living crisis, with other demands on family finances. It is therefore important that we strengthen school sports. This has been addressed at local level by the work of Active Partnerships and their partners in schools, local authorities and sports partnerships. Now, Sport England’s reach has been formally broadened to include all children from age 5. This still leaves enormous potential for intervention in the pre-school age group- where we can also influence parents.
Clearly, the strategy sets a challenge for the government to be more integrated around harnessing the benefits of sport and physical activity for the benefit of health, wellbeing, communities and the economy. More people active can contribute to better health and engagement in work and culture, but only if other inequalities in poverty, housing, education and health are addressed. Moreover, we must ensure that everyone is welcome in sport and physical activity. Opportunities have to be open, accessible, friendly and provide safe spaces for all.
Managing Director, Dr Maxine Rhodes commented: “Here at County Durham Sport we are entirely focused on tackling inequalities and working with communities to create relevant, sustainable and accessible opportunities to be active. We welcome the new strategy and its focus on joined up working and look forward to developing our local system to ensure physical activity contributes to our county’s health and wealth.”