MPs, policymakers, head teachers, sporting stars and young people joined national children's charity the Youth Sport Trust in the Houses of Parliament to celebrate the power of sport to change lives.
The Rt Hon Nicky Morgan MP hosted the 2018 YST Parliamentary Reception during National School Sport Week (25 to 29 June). Opening the event, she said:
I am proud to be the Member of Parliament for the Youth Sport Trust, which has been based at Loughborough University since 1995, and I am delighted to be hosting their reception today.
This reception is especially fitting as this week is National School Sport Week, which was launched by the Youth Sport Trust 10 years ago to celebrate the important role of sport and play in education.
During the past 23 years the Youth Sport Trust has done some really important work, from the creation of School Sport Partnerships to making good on the Olympic legacy through delivering the School Games – the government programme which gives more than 2 million young people the opportunity to take part in competitive sport.
Its new strategy sets out a bold and exciting vision for using the power of sport and play to tackle some of the big challenges facing children today. In the week in which government has published its latest Childhood Obesity Strategy, this couldn’t be more well-timed.
We all share a passion for supporting young people to grow up happy, healthy and equipped to fulfil their potential. We also know that we must continue to do more to tackle childhood obesity and more to support young people struggling with mental health difficulties.
Like the Youth Sport Trust I believe that sport and physical activity have a huge role to play in tackling some of these big issues. There are many benefits the come from young people’s involvement in sport, particularly in developing the resilience which is so vital to succeeding in life, something that I am personally passionate about.
The event marked this year’s launch of YST’s new strategy – Believing in Every Child’s Future – which sets out a path for harnessing the power of sport and play to tackle the decline in young people’s wellbeing.
Members of YST’s youth board spoke with MPs including education minister Nadhim Zahawi MP about the importance of PE and physical activity in young people’s development.
Pupils from YST member schools and young people who have benefitted from the charity’s work joined YST Chief Executive Ali Oliver on a platform to talk through the impact sport and physical activity has had on their lives.
Special guest Eboni Beckford-Chambers, who won a gold medal at the Commonwealth Games earlier this year with the England Roses netball team, discussed how sport had equipped her with the skills to succeed in life.
MPs including Helen Grant, Rehman Chishti, Nigel Huddleston and Tracy Brabin took the opportunity to declare themselves ‘School Sport Champions’.