Jeff Smith, Labour MP for Manchester Withington and Shadow Sports Minister, has shown his continued support to getting more people across the country active.
Jeff joined cross-party counterparts at a Sport England parliamentary event, hosted by Kim Leadbeater MP, to reflect on a hugely successful summer of sport. This included celebrating the Lionesses’ European Championship win and hosting the Commonwealth Games, as well as talking to Sport England about what more could be done to support more people to be physically active in south Manchester and across the country.
The event also celebrated the critical work that sport and physical activity delivers for communities across the country and the physical health, mental health and social benefits that it creates – with every £1 invested in community sport and activity in England generating almost £4 in economic and social return.
Sport England’s 10-year strategy, Uniting the Movement, aims to give more people the opportunity to get active – regardless of their ability, background or bank balance. The event was an opportunity for Jeff to speak to the sector’s leading organisations about their work and how they are helping to deliver Uniting the Movement.
Attendees also heard from Minister for Sport Stuart Andrew MP, Sport England Chair Chris Boardman, professional rugby league player Jodie Cunningham and the Founder of Our Parks Born Barikor.
Tim Hollingsworth, CEO of Sport England, said:
“When we move, we are stronger. We encourage people to play sport not only to improve their physical and mental health, but also to improve the economy and the connection to our communities. There continue to be challenges, but also huge opportunity.”
The host of the reception, Kim Leadbeater MP, said:
“It’s vital we have healthy, happy communities, especially in what is going to be a tough winter for all. Whatever your background or circumstance – it doesn’t matter when you’re kicking a ball. I will fight for the access to sport and physical activity to be on the political agenda as much as I can.”
Jeff Smith MP said:
“It’s been a fantastic year of British Sport. Our top athletes and major sporting events have the potential to inspire people to get active, which is so important in cultivating healthy, happy, connected communities.
“However, a decade on from the 2012 Olympics, under this Government we’ve seen grassroots sporting participation plummet, facilities forgotten, and physical activity flatline.
“The failure of government to see sport as a vital element of a preventative approach to ill health and in growing our economy will cost us all more in the long run, pile pressure on public services, hit well-being, and reduce productivity and growth. Grassroots sports is now facing difficulties from the cost-of-living crisis, with energy costs hitting gyms, swimming pools and other essential community resources.
“I’m a huge advocate for the physical, mental and social benefits that getting active brings to our lives and I support Sport England’s strategy Uniting the Movement. There is still much to do – and that’s why Labour in Government will ensure that everyone has sporting opportunities that are accessible, affordable and enjoyable.”
For more information about Sport England and the work the organisation is doing, visit www.sportengland.org