Baroness Campbell: A year in review

As another academic year comes to close it seems an appropriate time to reflect on another big year of change and challenge.

As another academic year comes to close it seems an appropriate time to reflect on another big year of change and challenge. Working in partnership with you we remain firmly committed to building a brighter future for young people through PE, sport and physical activity. As you know this is the Youth Sport Trust's 20th anniversary year and we have been taking time to reflect on the past and build for the future.

It was at our conference in February that we officially launched our anniversary activity with a showcase film to demonstrate how our work, and that of a dedicated school workforce, is continuing to transform the lives of young people. It is stories like those featured within this short film that help to remind us all why we do what we do. Together, we are making a real difference to the wellbeing, leadership and achievement of millions of young people and this should always remain at the forefront of our minds, even when life can be challenging.

A personal highlight for me this year, was the staging of our first Girls Active Camp, which was organised with support from Women in Sport and Sport England. Reaching out to more than 150 girls who, for whatever reason,  were disengaged and disillusioned by PE was particularly rewarding. The camp was an incredible few days for all involved and it was a learning experience for us all.  If we are to make a difference to all young people we should not shy away from groups and individuals who do not necessarily share our own passion for sport or physical activity - doing so would let down those who need our help the most. It is more about understanding the challenges and barriers that these young people face and offering the guidance and support they need to help them become more active. We saw individuals at the camp begin to grow in confidence, develop their communication skills and demonstrate their compassion. In this digital age it is vital that we provide young people with the opportunity to grow their social and emotional skills through PE, sport and physical activity.

I am always impressed by the energy, enthusiasm and commitment that schools show towards National School Sport Week and this year was no exception. It is a fantastic moment in the school year that demonstrates the creativity of schools and young people. This year we launched our Class of 2035 report during the week that takes a unique look ahead to the possible challenges and opportunities for our sector over the next 20 years. Interest in our report has been phenomenal with media around the world covering its findings from as far afield as China, Australia and the United States. As an organisation we will be reflecting on the conclusions of this report and the feedback we have had from stakeholders over the remainder of the year to help shape our future youth lead campaign.

Whilst the school year has come to a close the pace of change will undoubtedly continue. In recent months, following the general election, we have heard that the new Sports Minister, Tracey Crouch MP, is planning a full review of the Government's current sport's policy.  What this will entail we do not yet know but through any consultation that may follow we will be sure to champion the role PE and school sport and ensure it reflects the important role that schools play in increasing activity levels. We will, of course, look to provide a detailed response to this consultation, which I hope reflects the views of our network, but your view will be incredibly valuable so I hope you can find the time to engage in this consultation.  

Everyone at the Youth Sport Trust wishes you a happy summer and a well earned break. Never forget the positive impact you are having on young people and the difference you are making.  I look forward to continuing to working alongside you and please remember that as individuals we can make a difference, but as a collective we are a powerful movement for change that can drive incredible improvements in our sector.

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