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ukactive has issued the following statement in response to the £1.6m investment from the Department for Education to open schools for physical activity over the holidays

Jack Shakespeare, ukactive Director of Children, Young People, Families and Research, said: “We welcome the progress demonstrated by this School Sport and Activity Action Plan commitment, which ukactive has championed as a core policy call since the publication of our Generation Inactive report three years ago.

“We know that 39 per cent of community sports facilities are locked behind school gates over the holidays, while children are losing up to 80 per cent of their cardiorespiratory fitness over the summer. Opening up school gates can re-shape school holiday experiences for those children and young people that really need it.

“It is vital that progress on this initiative from Government does not attempt to reinvent the wheel, but instead takes on the lessons learnt from our members and partners who are already activating school facilities and engaging their local communities year-round.

“We have proven the Schools-as-Community Hubs model through our ground-breaking research and activations with children and young people, including our collaboration with partners through the Sainsbury’s Active Kids Holiday Clubs – unlocking 70 schools and delivering more than 100,000 days of activity last summer.

“We look forward to working with Sport England and the Active Partnership Network to ensure that this Government drive is supported fully by our members, using the full breadth of the sector’s expertise in engaging children, young people and their families.

“The scale of the problem we face requires a matched ambition for scale – unlocking access to thousands of school facilities by the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.”