Gary Palmer, Strategic Lead – Children and Young People, London Sport.
Children and young people are the future. It’s a statement so self-evidencing as to be almost glib, but it’s also a reality that those of us responsible for raising the levels of activity across the nation must be constantly conscious of.
It’s also an important consideration when we think about the role of organisations in promoting and delivering physical activity in London (and, indeed, nationwide). Most of us within the sector know the benefits of being physically active. We know them as clearly as the alphabet or the times table: it’s not even something we have to actively think about.
For many others the benefits aren’t self-evident – and that includes some teachers, some parents and some others with responsibility for our future generations.
That’s why London Sport is investing in growing our expertise, not just in promoting the role of sport and traditional activity for young people, but in the importance of physical activity for the health of the population.
To try and approach the challenge of getting young people to develop healthier physical activity habits as separate from the wider challenges that the population faces would be self-defeating. That means that we have a responsibility to make sure that the best innovation, delivery and expertise from across the board is on the table and available to anyone supporting children – and whether that’s traditional sport, organised fitness, informal play or functional activity, it all has a distinct and complimentary role to play.
We have a vision of a future London – a London that is the most physically active city in the world. You and I may well be residents of this future London, but the people really driving its day-to-day activities are likely to be today’s young people. As such, we have a responsibility to build a positive relationship for them with physical activity and sport. A relationship that begins today; now.
That’s the reason that London Sport are exploring the ways that the best expertise in physical activity for health and sport for children and young people can complement one another.
We’re building the relationships with schools, and with community sport, to help them create the best opportunities for young people. We’re making it easier for organisations across the board – whether traditional sport organisations, commercial providers, start-ups or anything in-between – to access the right funding to have the right impact. And we’re supporting the network of organisations that are doing great work already to help bring their expertise to the fore.
We hope you’ll join with us – and bring our vision of a truly physically active London to life.