Mytime Active is backing a campaign by ukactive, an organisation that aims to improve the health of the nation by getting 'more people, more active, more often', requesting the UK Government to allocate funds so school sports facilities can be opened during the school holidays.
Research by ukactive has shown that children and young people lose 80% of their fitness levels over the six-week summer holiday period, with cardiovascular fitness falling 18 times faster among children in disadvantaged areas. Despite this, 39% of community sports facilities are located on school grounds and are locked away over the holidays.
ukactive’s ‘Schools as Community Hubs’ model targets areas of high deprivation – measured by the number of children on free school meals – where inactivity is more widespread and fewer children meet the Chief Medical Officer’s recommended guidelines of at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity a day.
Figures from Sport England’s latest Active Lives Survey for Children and Young People show that 2.3 million (32.9%) children and young people do fewer than 30 minutes of activity a day, and only 1.2 million (17.5%) are doing 60 minutes or more.
For just £7 a day per child, the Government could get 1.2 million children and young people aged five to 16 more active over the summer holidays, over the next three years.
Marg Mayne, Mytime Active's CEO, signed a letter to Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond, alongside ukactive Chair Baroness Grey-Thompson, author and athlete John McAvoy, and others including parents and teachers.
The letter asks the Treasury, as part of the upcoming Spending Review, to consider how funding can be allocated to open school sports facilities for children and young people over the summer holidays in disadvantaged communities, supporting them to access local, affordable and healthy activities.