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Raising the heartbeat of the Nation

Posted: Mon, 02 Mar 2015 13:34

Raising the heartbeat of the Nation

There are only 10 weeks of campaigning left to what political pundits are calling the most unpredictable General Election in living memory. But whoever takes office has been tasked by us at the Sport and Recreation Alliance to raise the heartbeat of the nation over the course of the next parliament.

With important issues such as the financial deficit, economic growth and our place as a nation in the world at the forefront of election discussions, there may not be as much said as we would like about the role the sport and recreation sector can play in our society.

This is why we at the Alliance and our members are taking the opportunity to highlight where we think the next Government needs to focus to maximise the benefits it does offer – including to some of the important areas of public health and economic growth.

We have done this by taking time and effort to look at what the evidence tells us about what the sector delivers and then consulting with a wide range of our members on what they see as the priorities for the sector, examining those and then producing our Five Step Plan for a More Active Population.

This "To-do" List offers a concise, easily understandable programme which, if implemented fully, would remove some of the obstacles that currently stop the sector from realising its full potential. In five clear headline asks, supported by a number of more detailed proposals, you will find what the sector has identified as its priorities, such as:

- All physical education should be delivered by qualified teachers and coaches, and continue to be assessed rigorously by Ofsted.

- We'd like to see a sports betting right which returns some of the profits made by the gambling industry back into sport.

- The Government should produce a strategy to protect the integrity and honesty of top level sport from corrupt betting.

- The Government should place outdoor activity and green spaces at the heart of a strategy to improve health.

- Local authorities should create, protect and utilise accessible places where people can be active.

The benefits of the sport and recreation sector to the UK as a whole are unquestionable and those benefits extend to the nation's health, wealth and happiness. We want to see a society where people have the confidence, opportunity and motivation to participate in sport and recreation, regardless of age and where they live.

We'll be taking this five-step plan out to MPs, peers, parliamentary candidates and civil servants so that they understand the clear mandate from our members which these asks have and so that they also comprehend our collective commitment to working together to make as many of these proposals achieved. Our aim will be to ensure that we take every possible opportunity to make the sector's proposals happen.

Emma Boggis is the CEO of the Sport & Recreation Alliance

Tags: Local Government, PE, Policy, Sport, community sport, school sport

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