This statement accompanies our joint response from a coalition across the sport, recreation and physical activity sectors.
Youth Sport Trust CEO Ali Oliver MBE said:
“The Chancellor’s Autumn Statement paints a stark picture of the challenging times that lie ahead for all of us. This comes as a generation of young people, who are still recovering from the pandemic, face a crisis in their health and happiness.
“As families deal with rising pressures on the cost of living, and budgets for public services are squeezed, it is essential that we protect young people’s universal access to sport and play. Activity levels took a hit during the pandemic and we cannot afford for this decline to continue when fewer than half of young people are as active as they should be. This is not just important for the health, happiness and development of young people today, but for the future of our country and economic growth.
“We join education leaders in welcoming what sounds like positive news for schools in the Autumn Statement, and hope that this translates into additional funding to alleviate some of the extreme pressures facing the education system.
“Government has an opportunity now to protect young people’s universal right to sport and play by confirming the future of the Primary PE and Sport Premium and School Games. The delivery system for daily physical activity and school sport depends on the continuation of this investment. This vital funding can help ensure that every young person enjoys meaningful physical activity during the school day, at least two hours per week of PE and free access to sport after school. This would be an important foundation from which to build a national ambition to get every child active for 60 minutes every day.”
Lipa Nessa, Chair of the Youth Sport Trust’s Youth Board, added:
“Sport has been so important in shaping many young people’s lives, empowering us to become Changemakers, and helping us to find a sense of belonging in a challenging world. We passionately believe that sport is something no young person should miss out on, regardless of their gender, background, age or ability.
“We are very worried that uncertainty around funding and the cost of living crisis could reduce our access to sport and play.
“The difficult times ahead will be tough for young people. The power of sport to help us through this by bringing us together and supporting our mental health and wellbeing will never have been more important.
“We are calling for Government to listen to young people and hear our voices.”
The Youth Sport Trust Youth Board wrote an open letter to the Prime Minister earlier this month urging the Government to protect sport and play for young people.
More details of how the Youth Sport Trust is supporting people through the cost of living crisis can be found here.