Children's charity supports more than 200,000 young people with opportunities to be more active

Young people across the UK developed important life skills and some reported they had improved their progress at school by harnessing the power of sport and play, new analysis shows.

The Youth Sport Trust has today revealed through its annual Impact report that it helped 237,981 young people to benefit from opportunities to participate in high quality, inclusive PE, sport and play last year.

As a result of taking part in the charities projects and programmes 71% of young people reported improvements in their confidence in taking part in physical activity and 85% believed their leadership skills had improved. 61% of young people taking part in Set for Success said it had improved their progress at school.

Currently in the UK, 2.2million young people are active for less than 30 minutes a day, which is well below the Chief Medical Officer’s recommended minimum level of 60 active minutes. In light of this continued crisis of inactivity, in 2022 the Youth Sport Trust launched its new 13-year strategy and redoubled its efforts to tackle existing inequality of access to sport through programme design and targeted implementation to meet the needs of the most underserved young people and those facing the greatest challenges.

Over the last 12 months, the charity supported 86,897 young people to become young leaders for their peers. 61% of these young leaders were female, 23% were from ethnically diverse communities, 23% had special educational needs and 28% were in receipt of free school meals.

Chief Executive of the Youth Sport Trust, Ali Oliver MBE, said:

"There is no doubt we are facing a generational crisis - every day new research reminds us of this. Young people are growing up in turbulent times: in addition to the long-term consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic, many are now being impacted by the cost-of-living crisis.

"The Youth Sport Trust has 27 years' experience of harnessing the physical activity, lessons, and values of play and sport to inspire learning and build skills for work and life. We help unite the school sport sector in collaborative action, and work alongside the wider sport and active leisure sector to raise awareness of the most important issues. Our vision is a future where every child can access the life-changing benefits of PE, play and sport.”

One of the young people supported through the Youth Sport Trust’s programmes is Leah. Leah is a pupil at Veritas Primary Academy in Stafford. Before getting involved in the Disney inspired Shooting Stars programme at school, Leah was very anxious and shy. Her school had tried various initiatives to help her feel involved and part of school life, including picture cards in lessons to help her explain how she was feeling and help her communicate, but teachers felt she was still not reaching her full potential.

Leah’s PE teacher, Kelly, had recently started playing football and noticed how few girls played at school. Kelly wanted to change that, so took part in the Disney inspired Shooting Stars training programme delivered by the Youth Sport Trust. Kelly introduced the programme to a ‘nurture group’ for quieter girls within the school to attend at lunchtimes with the storytelling resources. Leah was one of the first to take part. Since taking part in the programme, Leah now has much more confidence, attending regularly and has joined an external club. Both the school and her family have put this change in Leah down, in part, to her discovering a love of football.

The Youth Sport Trust is a children’s charity founded in 1995 to harness the power of play and sport in children’s education and development. It delivers most of its impact by equipping educators and empowering young people to build bright futures.

In 2022 the charity trained 13,203 educators to lead good quality, inclusive sport, play and Physical Education to support the development of young people.

The impact of the Youth Sport Trust’s work looked at three key outcomes for children and young people:

  • Character and Leadership
  • Physical and mental health
  • Inclusion

Read the Impact Report in full by visiting


Published on 13 March 2023