A generation is growing up ill-equipped to deal with the daily challenges of the 21st century, says a national children’s charity.
The Youth Sport Trust has today (12 April) launched a new four-year strategy – Believing in Every Child’s Future. It sets out a vision to halt the decline in children’s physical, mental and social wellbeing using the power of sport, PE and physical activity.
Having reached over 4.7 million children to participate in sport and physical activity since 2013, Ali Oliver Chief Executive of the Youth Sport Trust, said:
Children are struggling with their mental health while grappling with the pressures of social media. They are seeing shifts in personal relationships, rising levels of exam stress and a decline in empathy and resilience.
It saddens me that recent research shows today’s young Britons have never been unhappier. And while their mental health is declining, one in three children are now classed as obese by the time they leave primary school.
This crisis of the wellbeing of our children is as heart-breaking as it is alarming and needs to stop now. We want to see a world where every child enjoys the life-changing benefits that come from play and sport.
Children have never been less active and those who are most in need of sport’s transformative powers are the most likely to miss out. Research shows that young people who grow up in a disadvantaged area, have a disability, come from a BAME background or are female are more likely to be inactive.
The charity’s new strategy outlines six key objectives to achieve its 2022 vision for the future. These are:
- Transforming Physical Education. Transform PE’s place in the curriculum, putting it at the centre of wellbeing and achievement in education.
- Removing barriers to sport. Harness global best practice to ensure youth sport in the UK is inclusive, accessible and fun.
- Unlocking potential. Unlock sport’s potential at every stage of a child’s life, especially where they face inequality or disadvantage.
- Empowering activism. Empower young people through sport to become local activists, tackling the issues of their generation.
- Championing insight. Champion the impact of physical activity, PE and sport through research and insight.
- Strengthening foundations. Strengthen our foundations to ensure we can sustain our mission.
Founded in 1995, the Youth Sport Trust has extensive insight into the world of youth sport. Its programmes including Girls Active, My Personal Best and Healthy Movers are making waves in tackling many of the wellbeing, social and physical issues facing young people today and preparing them for the world of work.
Neil Davidson, Chair of the Youth Sport Trust, said:
The world in which the Youth Sport Trust operates has changed considerably in recent years. Schools are facing new challenges and children’s lives are being transformed by technology. The alarming trend of recent times has been the continued decline in children’s wellbeing.
Tackling that decline will be at the core of everything we do. Over the next four years we will build on the successes and lessons of this charity’s past, and work in even greater depth to ensure the life-changing potential of sport is unlocked where it is needed most, both for today’s young people and for generations to come.
Lauren Asquith, chair of the Youth Sport Trust Youth Board, said:
I’m delighted to be involved with a pioneering organisation who truly listens to what we have to say.
I can honestly say we (young people)are right at the heart of this organisation aiming to improve young people’s lives through sport for good. Young people are capable of powerful things when given the freedom to thrive.
Read the Youth Sport Trust's 2018-2022 strategy at http://strategy.youthsporttrust.org