There are just six weeks remaining before the DCMS public consultation on the UK’s sport strategy closes on October 2nd and I’m really excited to see what new ideas are put forward.
With UK sports participation declining, now is the time to be brave and creative. We must embrace all views as we need fresh new approaches to how we introduce people to sport and keep them coming back for more.
At StreetGames we work with hundreds of thousands of disadvantaged young people and they tell us they want to get more active, but they want a vibrant and varied sports offer that requires little commitment and is more social than competitive.
Casual formats like Go Ride cycle events, informal running groups and casual table tennis played in city centres via the ‘Ping’ initiative are all popular. Among girls who don’t fancy football or netball every night, formats like Zumba, Gym or Dance go down very well. These dip-in, dip-out sporting offers are attractive for many young people, although there is still a big appetite for young boys and girls to play team sports.
That’s why our Doorstep Sport Club programme, funded by Sport England, has been a success. By taking sport into the heart of the UK’s most disadvantaged communities and working with local, on the ground projects, almost half a million young people will benefit from doorstep sport by 2017.
We know this approach works and hope the new Sport Consultation will give us more insight into how grassroots sport can get more of us playing in future.
Above all, I hope to see more ideas about how we remain relevant to all young people. The consultation is a unique opportunity for new ideas to be debated and discussed and solutions to be found. We hope this will open up new routes for national governing bodies and other sports providers to make lasting connections with young people and unleash their sporting potential.
We’ll be sharing our views and inviting all out network partners and young people to do the same.
You can have your say by contributing to the Sport Consultation.