Most of my life has been spent as a Paralympic athlete, competing at the highest level and pushing my body and willpower to its limits. In such environments a burning passion for physical activity is required to keep up with the relentless demands of training and competing. This passion for physical activity led me to the position of Chair of ukactive, the leading campaigning body for physical activity in all its forms in the UK. It’s my pleasure to be able to support the organisation on its mission to get more people, more active, more often.
My first month as Chair of ukactive saw the official launch of ukactive Kids, a new wing of ukactive committed to the fight against childhood inactivity. The integration of Compass, a prominent trade association that represented children’s activity providers into ukactive, was the catalyst for the formation of ukactive Kids. As a result of this integration the organisation has gained an army of leading children’s activity experts, many of whom work tirelessly throughout the year in schools and beyond, instructing, encouraging and inspiring young people to love activity.
Complementing the thousands of organisations in the ukactive network who have already delivered outstanding services and support for young people, this new group of ukactive members brings to ukactive first-hand experience of the most enjoyable and successful methods of engaging even the most inactive children. Across the political divide, there is growing recognition that our health service is unsustainable unless we get a grip on the rising demand caused by lifestyle-related diseases, of which inactivity (along with obesity, smoking and alcohol) is a major cause. With a stretched National Health Service, and with inactivity said to cost the UK economy £20 billion per year, it is simply unsustainable to sit back and allow inactive children to grow into inactive adults. Action must be taken now to halt the rise of what Lord Sebastian Coe described as the ‘least active generation in history’.
ukactive Kids will be unwavering in its drive to serve the interests of children and young people from the very early years, pre and post-natal, through to teens. This means our focus is as much on pre-school as children at school; therefore, involving families as well as teachers.
Simply put, our call is that when it comes to health, no child will be left behind by condemning them to a life of inactivity.
To ensure we get more children, more active, more often, I will ensure that ukactive Kids works with a wide range of children’s activity stakeholders, government bodies, respected charities, the academic community and other dedicated partners. We will pool together knowledge and resources and set the wheels in motion for change. We look forward to working with the many committed organisations who share in the mission to improve the health of the nation’s children.DOWNLOAD FULL REPORT