The Chief Executive of a leading sports charity has welcomed the announcement of a new public consultation by the Government into sport in the UK.

The consultation was launched this week by the Sports Minister, Tracey Crouch MP, after official statistics from Sport England’s Active People Survey suggested that participation has continued to decline since the London Olympics in 2012.

Matt Stevenson-Dodd is CEO of Street League, the national charity which uses an award-winning football and education programme to tackle youth unemployment. Street League also recently launched another Social Enterprise called Street Step, which uses dance fitness to help young people looking for work become more employable.

Both Street League and Street Step use the power of sport and physical activity to engage and motivate young people, many of whom have fallen out of the education system and face significant socio-economic barriers to work and training. As well as daily sporting activity, they provide numeracy and literacy qualifications, employability workshops and work placement opportunities with a growing band of employers across the UK.

SUSTAINABLE

Stevenson-Dodd said: “At Street League we have always understood the importance of participation in sport, but it’s what you do when you have engaged with the young people which really matters to us. Street League was founded in 2001 but over the last five years we have prioritised the quality of our outcomes – in our case, that means progressing young people into sustainable employment opportunities. 

“Structural youth unemployment in our most disadvantaged communities has reached record levels in recent years, and sport is the ideal intervention tool to help us engage with young people who need our support the most.” 

It is this ground-breaking, cross-sector approach which led to Street League being singled out by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport when the consultation was launched this week. 

STRATEGY

The Sports Minister said: “Sport has such a positive impact on people’s lives and I want to embed participation into this nation’s DNA. I want to make sure that the sports sector gives everybody - no matter who they are and what their ability - the chance to take part.

“However public funding is a privilege not a right and has to go to the organisations that can make a real difference. I want to hear views from people and groups on what more we can do to strengthen sport in this country across the board.”

The consultation sets out 10 broad themes that the Government wants to engage with the public on. These range from participation and physical activity, to children and young people. The consultation runs until October 2 and marks the start of the Government working on a new strategy for sport in this country. 

Click here to read the consultation paper.