The Government is keen as mustard to get us active. It’s no surprise, given that around a quarter of people in England are classed as inactive, as they fail to achieve a minimum of 30 minutes of activity a week. The definitive guideline is that adults should be doing 150 minutes of moderate physical activity per week (or 75 minutes of vigorous activity), in bursts of 10 minutes or more. Sounds achievable but a quarter of us, simply aren’t getting active.
This growing problem is having a knock on effect on the publics mental and physical health, with links to cancer, heart disease, strokes, dementia, depression and Type 2 diabetes. Serious stuff. This is especially alarming when it comes to the number of primary school aged children who are overweight or obese in the UK.
The Government quite rightly are looking to stop the decline in sports participation and general activity, which will not only have huge benefits to individuals but also to the NHS budgetary burdens. Enter, A New Strategy for Sport: Consultation Paper, launched by Tracey Crouch MP, Minister for Sport. The consultation paper is an opportunity for everybody to give their views and ideas on how to improve all areas of sports provision and participation in the country. I am a big fan of communication and collaboration and respect the fact that everybody has the ability to make their voice heard.
Tracey Crouch MP, Minister for Sport wants your views
I have a lot to say about sport. I have a lot to say about participation, so I am excited to download the paper and crack on with putting the world to rights. The printer grudgingly spurted out 53 pages, with ten different sections and approximately 6 invitations to respond in each section – so 60 opportunities to feedback. I read 14 pages and put it down. The amount of information was pretty overwhelming and I put it to one side, whilst mentally logging it on my To Do List, where it festered along with the need to clean the under the stairs cupboard.
Not even the quarter way through...
The festering continued for a few weeks, until I saw on the local sports partnership website that they were convening a meeting for people to get together and discuss the paper and give their views, in response to the document. The meeting was 2pm on a weekday, so not feasible for a lot of people but over 20 people did attend and between us, we had decimated a good few trees, bringing our document with us.
The meeting ran for two hours and was well organised – in that time, we could only discuss 2 subjects each but we were split into different groups, where we could choose which item to debate. Some really good ideas were shared and I found it a very positive experience.
Overall comments from the sports partnership were fed back to us individually but if I wanted my own views to count, I still had to revisit the mountain of paper and submit my views online. To complete the whole questionnaire took me over 2 hours and I type at 50wpm! I started waffling on about strategic direction in primary school sports and ended with one or two word answers, when I got to the end of the slog.
This would put alot of people off
I found the experience of feeding back symbolic of the problem. The document wasn’t accessible to all, as it was such a large and foreboding task to get through each section. I really had to grit my teeth but many, many people would have been put off by the sheer scale of the document. September is also the busiest time for winter sports, as they kick off their season, so finding the time to complete this would be off putting to all but the most determined of people. So overall, I am glad that I have been given the opportunity to lodge my views but I find it ironic that the one of the problems sited is the accessibility of sport, but the ability to give your views through this document, is in a lot of cases….well inaccessible.
Regardless of my opinion, I do urge you to voice yours. If you want to make your views heard, you can give your opinions here but hurry the deadline is approaching!
My name is Sam. I am a 35 year old, unfit, gym-phobic, mother of 3, who enjoys indulging in a glass of wine or two. I started the website sofadodger.co.uk this year, which is ironic as I am more a sofadweller than a sofadodger. So I have taken on the challenge of trying 100 different sports and fitness classes in a year. I shall be blogging about, what will be, one of the most interesting and challenging years of my life!