Helen Grant MP added her voice to a children's charity's call to get children and young people excited about play and sport during National School Sport Week (25 to 29 June).
The MP for Maidstone and The Weald and former UK Minister for Sport joined national children's charity the Youth Sport Trust (YST) along with head teachers, sporting stars and young beneficiaries at a Parliamentary Reception held in the House of Commons on Wednesday, 27 June.
The event was held during YST's National School Sport Week which saw thousands of schools across the country celebrating the role of sport and play in education. It also marked the launch of the charity's new strategy – Believing in Every Child's Future – which sets out a plan to use the power of sport to tackle the decline in young people's mental and physical wellbeing.
Evidence shows that taking part in regular physical activity can not only improve physical health, but boost mental health, tackle stress, enhance achievement and help people develop life skills like teamwork, communication and resilience. YST, which works with more than 20,000 schools, has argued that school PE needs to be transformed to place greater emphasis on these wider benefits.
Helen Grant MP said: 'Sport has an enormous power to do good. Not only is it beneficial to the physical health of our young people, guarding against obesity, but also to their mental health, helping them to develop skills that will be crucial to their future success.
I know from my own experiences that, growing up, sport taught me so much; from the importance of commitment to vital lessons about perseverance and teamwork. I often see, when I visit schools across Maidstone and the Weald, the vital part that sport plays in their curriculum and long may that continue.'
Ali Oliver, Chief Executive of YST, said: "We passionately believe that PE, school sport and physical activity – delivered in the right way – have the power to transform lives and tackle the challenges of obesity and declining mental health while improving young people's ability to succeed in the classroom and throughout their lives. It is vital that we do more to nurture a lifelong love of physical activity from an early age."
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