Drive to get more young people active

An ambitious plan to drive up activity rates for young people in Liverpool has been launched.

The Liverpool Active Promise aims to make the city the most active big city by 2026 – with nine out of ten children being active for at least 30 minutes a day, compared to 70 percent at the moment.

The city also wants to increase the number of children achieving 60 minutes of physical activity per day, as recommended by the Chief Medical Officer, up from 48 percent to 58 percent.

The development of the Liverpool Active Promise has been driven by Liverpool City Council in partnership with Liverpool Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), young people, schools and key stakeholders.

Partners include the Youth Sport Trust (YST) – a national charity which promotes the life-changing benefits that come from play and sport. YST were commissioned to work with young people and key stakeholders to create the Active Promise and will be present at the launch.

Deputy Mayor and Cabinet member for Culture, Leisure and Sport, Cllr Wendy Simon, said: “We want every resident and professional in Liverpool that has a responsibility for the health and future life chances of children and young people to play their part.

“This is about working together to commit to actions to provide every opportunity for children and young people to be active every day.

“There is great work going on in our schools, community organisations and sports clubs every single day to get young people active – the trick is to spread that work as far and as wide as possible and make it part of the DNA of the city.”

Youth Sport Trust Chief Executive Ali Oliver said: “We have been delighted to support the development of this important plan which will ensure more young people in Liverpool enjoy the life-changing benefits of play and sport.

“At a time of increasingly sedentary lifestyles, too many young people are missing out on the power of physical activity to tackle the biggest challenges facing this generation. We know a focused Physical Education curriculum, daily physical activity and accessible and purposeful school sport can promote healthy weight and mental health; it can reduce stress and anxiety and help develop vital life skills and character traits like teamwork, leadership, resilience and empathy.

“The publication of this plan makes an important statement about the place of sport and play in giving children a better future. It is fantastic that Liverpool are helping to lead the way in this area and we would encourage others to follow Liverpool’s lead.”

Karen Smyth, Chair of Liverpool Secondary Headteachers Association, added: “It is crucial that we all act now as a collaboration of stakeholders in understanding and engaging children and young people in positive activities that have a particular impact on their emotional wellbeing.”

“This is a priority for us as now more than ever as the changing patterns of play, travel and leisure are leading to inactivity and unhealthy lifestyles for many of the students that we see every day in our schools.”

“As schools we recognise we have the key role we play alongside community organisations, physical activity providers and parents/carers, in ensuring children and young people have appropriate opportunities to be active every day.”

Dr Maurice Smith, a Liverpool GP and Clinical Director at Liverpool Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said: “The Liverpool Active Promise is all about helping children and young people in our city to get the very best start in life, by working together to maximise opportunities for them to participate in physical activity and sport.

“Being physically active is vital for a child’s healthy growth and development, and it also lays the foundations for better health right into adulthood too.

“From improving confidence, self-esteem and mental well-being, to helping to prevent conditions such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, and certain cancers, the benefits of being physically active are profound – which is why we’re encouraging everyone to get involved.”