Right to be Active

  • Author

    Francesca Speakman
  • Date

    2nd August 2018

Tags: Young People, Physical Activity, children

Last month, the Sport and Recreation Alliance, produced a report which reflected on the past 40 years and the achievements made in the world of physical activity for children and young people. Disappointingly, but by no means a surprise, the report concluded that themes are still present today that were reported back in 1977 (Sport & Young People: The need for action now.) With 80% of girls and 77% of boys not meeting the activity recommendations set out by the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) the Sport and Recreation Alliance has been prompted to announce the “Right to be Active” campaign. The campaign calls for the sectors to align their visions and purpose to achieve one common goal – a reduction in childhood obesity. The news that, according to the latest National Child Measurement Programme (NCMP) analysis, severe obesity for 10-11 year olds is at a record high, demonstrates the demand for a different approach.

The campaign aspires to allow all children and young people to have a good experience with sport and recreation in early years which will positively influence their future years; preventing a repeat of the current statistics. Specifically: 40% of people who had a negative experience in childhood report this directly influences their relationship with sport in later life. Within my previous role in weight management services, this story was far too common, where both children and adults had encountered barriers and negative experiences with physical activity. The problem is exacerbated when a role model passes on their habits to young people and being inactive, becomes a social norm.

At GreaterSport we welcome the report and recognise its desire to highlight the ongoing issue, despite numerous government initiatives, campaigns and financial contributions. The need for a whole system alignment that encompasses a child-centred approach and recognises parents, carers and the wider family as valuable stakeholders is absolutely mirrored within the ethos of GM Moving. With 93% of children are reporting that they like being active, we have a duty to provide the right opportunities and improve the transitions through the life course to ensure children remain active into adulthood. My role as strategic lead for Primary School Sport Premium, The Daily Mile, Higher Education and Satellite Clubs gives me a new focus in tackling the obesity crisis, without stigmatising individuals – instead we strive for a population change.

If there’s a project you’d like support with, involving children and young people, across Greater Manchester or you’d like more information about our work, please don’t hesitate to contact me (07881900384 or 

Francesca@greatersport.co.uk).

Francesca Speakman, Senior Officer (Children and Young People)

You can read the Summary and Response from the Sport and Rec Alliance, here.

You can also read the Foundation Research Report in full, here.