After the success of TeamGB at the Rio Olympics and the Paralympic Games now captivating audiences, the time is now right for members of parliament to begin advocating for physical activity in their community to help combat some of the major health and social problems facing the UK.
To help parliamentarians become champions for grassroots sport in their local area, we have launched Get Your Kit On – A Guide to Grassroots Sport and Recreation. The guide is an online resource that is a hub of key information, contacts and resources to enable members of parliament to engage in Westminster debates as advocates for grassroots sport and at a community level promote local clubs with their activities.
The cost of health related conditions associated with inactivity, including obesity and diabetes is costing the nation £7.4bn each year. In November 2015, a survey revealed that 79% of people believe that the government should do more to support grassroots sport. Local community sport and recreation clubs and facilities deliver, alongside charities, programmes and initiatives to help make a difference to the physical and mental wellbeing of the community. That is why the Alliance calls upon parliamentarians to champion the huge role grassroots sport and recreation has in the local community.
On Tuesday 13 September, the Parliamentary Sports Fair showcased the sport and recreation all party parliamentary groups (APPG) in Westminster to raise awareness and encourage new members to join. Members from APPGs including Angling, Cycling, Cricket and Mountaineering were at the event and provided the opportunity for attendees to get their kit on and try some of the activities on show. The event also facilitated the opportunity for political decision makers to engage with national governing bodies of sport. The Minister of State for Disabled People, Health and Work, Penny Mordaunt MP and the Speaker of the House of Commons, the Rt. Hon John Bercow MP were in attendance.
James Allen, Director of Policy, Governance and External Affairs at the Sport and Recreation Alliance said: “We want parliamentarians to truly understand the benefits that sport can bring to people and to society so that they can be champions of community sport and recreation in Westminster and in their local constituency.
Sport and recreation should be accessible to all to make sure that people across the country can fully appreciate the benefits of physical activity. This is why we have launched the go-to-guide for parliamentarians to help them recognise and articulate the value of grassroots sport and recreation in Westminster and their local constituency.”