Leading figures from across the physical activity agenda met at the ukactive Kids Forum in London today (29 September) to explore key areas of focus in the battle to get the UK’s children moving.
Having recently set out its long-term strategy to tackle youth inactivity by engaging teachers, parents and policymakers, ukactive Kids brought together major children’s activity providers with senior figures from the Department of Health, Sport England and London Sport for a morning of seminars and discussions on the rapidly-evolving youth activity landscape.
The event came at a crucial juncture in the fight to mobilise today’s children – dubbed ‘Generation Inactive’ in a landmark ukactive Kids report. The government’s new Childhood Obesity Strategy sets out plans to increase activity and improve diet, while it also aims to raise hundreds of millions of pounds to invest in physical activity in schools through its planned Sugar Levy. Meanwhile, Sport England’s remit was recently expanded by government to include responsibility for children aged five to 14, so that active habits can be ingrained from an earlier age.
One of the key points highlighted at the ukactive Kids CEO Forum was the need to improve standards and regulation around quality assurance for children’s activity professionals if providers are to attract greater levels of public funding.
Developing and expanding relationships with Whitehall and government departments on specific projects and policies will also play a big part, said ukactive Public Affairs Director Huw Edwards at the event, with particular focus required on rolling out fitness measurement and active mile schemes across schools nationwide.
Greater emphasis on measurement of activity provision is a central tenet of the new ukactive Kids strategy and dovetails with the government’s plans for Ofsted to evaluate how schools are using the PE and Sport Premium. ukactive Kids has pledged to align research programmes and work with government to ensure that schools are best-placed to record and analyse data on activity trends in children.
“Today marks a significant step forward with around 30 of the leading children’s activity providers coming together with key government figures to explore how we can set in motion the recommendations from the Childhood Obesity Strategy and inspire healthier lifestyles that last from cradle to grave,” said ukactive Kids Executive Lead Dr Steven Mann.
“With moving the nation’s children more a major focus for the government, now is a crucial moment for ensuring that providers are meeting the highest standards of safety and compliance.
“It really is crunch time for activity providers and those who want to be involved in the significant conversations and initiatives that are fast-approaching will need to make sure that they are beacons of best practice.”
The sessions at the ukactive Kids Forum included:
- An overview of the ukactive Kids Board and its strategic vision for the 2016-17 academic year and beyond from ukactive Public Affairs Director, Huw Edwards.
- Childhood Obesity Strategy overview from the Department of Health’s Programme Director: Prevention, Obesity and Diabetes, Emma Reed.
- A working session from Sport England’s Director of Community Sport, Mike Diaper, on the new £40m fund for children and families.
- A guide to successful youth activity funding applications presented by London Sport’s Strategic Lead for Children and Young People, Gary Palmer and
- Funding and Facilities Manager, Caroline Brooks.