Community Sports: Impact on Young People

Baroness Sater Excerpts
Thursday 16th May 2024

(1 week, 3 days ago)

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Baroness Sater Portrait Baroness Sater (Con)
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My Lords, I thank the noble Lord, Lord Wood, for securing this important and broad-ranging debate. I congratulate him on covering so much of the sporting sector in 15 minutes. I draw noble Lords’ attention to my interests in sport and health as laid out on the register.

The Sport England Active Lives survey 2023 paints an encouraging picture of participation in community sport but, sadly, also shows continued disparities. Children and young people of black, Asian and other ethnicities, as well as those from less affluent families, are still less likely to play sport or engage in physical education or activity. Girls are less likely than boys to be active, with the Women in Sport charity recently reporting that the gender activity gap is wider today than it has been since reporting began. Women and girls aged 16 to 24 are three times more likely to be affected by mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression.

Sport England estimates that only 47% of children meet the Chief Medical Officer’s guidelines of at least 60 minutes of sport and physical activity per day. The Association for Physical Education is adamant that every child should receive, weekly, two hours of physical education and two hours of physical activity in school, and a chance of two hours of physical activity in the community. This will help develop the positive attitudes associated with continuing healthy, active lives in the community when they leave school. To make our children healthier and fitter for life, we must also put physical development at the heart of early years education and prioritise every child’s play with 60 minutes of physical activity daily.

How can we do more? The excellent physical education and sport premium must become a permanent feature of our future education budgets, with improved monitoring and greater accountability to enable teachers to plan their physical education and sport provision properly. It has more than proved its value since 2013.

The rise in obesity rates in children and young people is often spoken of in both your Lordships’ House and other places, but few practical solutions have been suggested. The roles of physical education, sport and physical activity are, by themselves, not a silver bullet, but they are practical tools to help reduce this trend. They merit more specific, in-depth consideration and collaboration across government departments.

These activities help address further societal problems, including helping at-risk children entering the criminal justice system and those already in it, for whom I am a keen advocate. These children face significant mental and physical health challenges and endure marked health inequalities. Their needs are multiple, persistent and severe, often shaped by their family and social environments.

The taskforce on physical activity and sport in the criminal justice system, which I chair, funded by NHS England and driven by the Alliance of Sport in Criminal Justice, launched the Get Well, Stay Well agreement in 2022, which helps improve, through sport, the well-being of those in and more likely to enter the justice and welfare system. We know that community sport and physical activities are positive interventions that help rehabilitate children and young people—from early intervention and diversion to sustained participation—and Get Well, Stay Well is now working with nine government departments to remove barriers to physical activity and increase health promotion.

The College of Policing research on sports programmes designed to prevent crime and reduce reoffending confirms that these programmes do just that, as well as discouraging criminal behaviour and related attitudes, and improving psychological outcomes such as self-esteem and emotional well-being. To deliver these important programmes, we need a vibrant and sustainable community sporting sector.

However, enabling sport and physical activity to solve this range of societal challenges—from obesity to criminal justice—in financially constrained times requires increasing delivery within existing community contexts and infrastructure in a cost-neutral manner. Crucial to this effort are facilities, including sports and leisure centres, swimming pools, playing fields and parks, and the opening of more school facilities to their local communities, not to mention the thousands of sports clubs all over the country.

I had the privilege of chairing StreetGames, which the noble Lord, Lord Wood, mentioned earlier, which delivers the doorstep sports programme, bypassing many traditional barriers to activity. It is a robust example of the community delivery we need so badly, reaching those young people who Sport England’s Active Lives report tells us we have been missing.

In conclusion, I would like my noble friend the Minister to comment on the fact that we must keep investing more in all our community sports and leisure centres, swimming pools, sports clubs and playing fields, and open up more school facilities to enable greater community access to both free and low-cost participation. We must ensure that schools provide more physical education activities every week, enabled by a permanent physical education and sport premium. Finally, we must ensure that we genuinely promote the value of sport and physical activity, as Sport England’s 10-year vision, Uniting the Movement, recommends, and support initiatives like the Mental Health Foundation’s Moving more is good for our mental health, published this Mental Health Awareness Week.

Physical education, community sport and physical activity benefit individuals’ emotional well-being, physical health and life skills, but their value to UK society is even greater. A happier, more active society is more successful, more equal and more economically productive—I am sure that my noble friend the Minister and everyone here today can agree on that.

National Women’s Sports

Baroness Sater Excerpts
Thursday 17th November 2022

(1 year, 6 months ago)

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Baroness Sater Portrait Baroness Sater (Con)
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I too congratulate my friend the noble Lord, Lord Addington, on securing this excellent debate and thank him for highlighting and celebrating women’s team sports. I also thank the noble Lord, Lord McNally, for his kind words, for raising a very important issue, for all the work he has done in promoting sport and physical activity at the YJB and for his continued support with the APPG.

As others have mentioned, there has been huge progress in the last few years in bringing women’s sport to national attention, most notably through the fantastic achievement of the Lionesses in winning the Euros earlier this year. We have also seen, in recent days and weeks, the GB tennis team make the semi-final of the Billie Jean King Cup for the first time in 41 years, and the England women’s team make it all the way to the final of the Rugby World Cup. A wide variety of women’s team sports are clearly on the rise and getting more exposure in the media—and what fantastic role models they are.

We must maintain this focus on women’s sport and build upon the progress and success we have seen. It is vital that we continue to strive for greater equality and opportunity in sport. We have an amazing opportunity to help inspire the next generation of sportswomen by teaching girls in schools the right skills and strategies from an early age. We know that more work remains to be done on this agenda as, according to a Women in Sport report published earlier this year, girls are not only “less physically active generally” than boys but are

“also far less likely to take part in team sports”.

While 55% of girls play team sports, the figure is 71% for boys. Schools have an important role to play along the journey in achieving national successes. We know that many schools are delivering excellent sporting facilities, but I am afraid that this is not true of all schools, be it down to a lack of workforce, facilities or equipment.

We all know the knock-on effects of what better physical health can have on mental health and helping our children with their learning in school. The Association of Physical Education states:

“The difference that high quality Physical Education, School Sport & Physical Activity make to the lives of young people is quite remarkable.”


That includes improved behaviour and attitudes and building confidence, social skills, personal development and much more.

With all the successes of national women’s sports and the increased demand in recent years, perhaps we should consider modifying and adapting the curriculum so that we can build on the success. We must always listen to the voices of girls; they are not a homogenous group—they have different attitudes towards sports, and we must recognise this to help inspire more girls to get active. It should, of course, not come at the expense of individual sports and other activities, which is why we need to provide a broad and balanced offer.

Sport and physical activity should be a must-have, not a nice-to-have. One way to embed more focus on sport and physical activity, including encouraging more girls to play sport and giving them more opportunity to play team sports, would be to classify PE as a core subject. Does my noble friend the Minister agree that this would give PE a higher priority and focus in schools?

I agree with the noble Lord, Lord Addington, in his comments about clubs, and the pathway between schools and clubs. Sport does not stop at the school gate. We must ensure that we support and strengthen the relationship between schools and local clubs so that we can help more girls on their journey to becoming elite sportswomen. I have no doubt that on the back of the successes that we have seen across a wide variety of women’s sports on the national stage in recent years, there will be an increased demand from more girls to play more sports in schools. We have an opportunity here to unleash the full potential of women in sport in this country, and we must seize it.

Charities and Civil Society: Ministerial Responsibility

Baroness Sater Excerpts
Tuesday 23rd November 2021

(2 years, 6 months ago)

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Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay Portrait Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay (Con)
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The Minister with responsibility for civil society is my honourable friend Nigel Huddleston, not my right honourable friend Michael Gove, though, as I say, all Ministers across government work with the third sector in the important work they do. I also point out that responsibility for the voluntary sector and volunteering in the Welsh Government is held by two people who combine that with responsibilities for welfare reform, fuel poverty, fire and rescue services, domestic abuse, youth justice, community safety and much else.

Baroness Sater Portrait Baroness Sater (Con)
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My Lords, I declare my interests as set out in the register. As has been said, volunteers have always played an incredible role in British life. I think of the Olympics, the Paralympics, the ongoing Covid pandemic and the tireless efforts of millions of everyday people across the country. Does my noble friend agree that more can be done to harness and galvanise the spirit of volunteering by introducing a framework that links a volunteer’s voice within and across national and local government, and a volunteer champion to protect and recognise achievements, to stand up for their views and interests, and to help order the future functioning of volunteering? Will my noble friend therefore consider appointing a commissioner for volunteering to support the sector and give it the status that it so richly deserves?

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay Portrait Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay (Con)
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My Lords, the Government highly value the contribution of volunteers across the whole of society. We witnessed the huge difference they can make during the pandemic, as well as in the examples my noble friend raised. Volunteers are represented in discussions with government by a variety of sector representatives and bodies, but I will take her interesting suggestion back to my honourable friend the Minister and discuss it. I have also pointed to the volunteering futures fund, which the Government have announced to support more people to volunteer and play their important role.

Dormant Assets Bill [HL]

Baroness Sater Excerpts
2nd reading
Wednesday 26th May 2021

(3 years ago)

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Baroness Sater Portrait Baroness Sater (Con) [V]
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My Lords, it gives me great pleasure to follow my noble friend Lord Polak. I thank my noble friend the Minister for bringing forward this Bill, which will enhance and continue to support so many good causes. I pay tribute to her and her colleagues at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport for all the work they are doing to support the charity sector, particularly in these challenging times. I also add my welcome to my noble friend Lady Fleet and congratulate her on her excellent maiden speech.

We know that, in addition to the unprecedented £750 million package of support specifically for charities, a further £150 million from dormant bank and building society accounts has already been unlocked to help charities, social enterprises and individuals in vulnerable financial circumstances during the coronavirus outbreak. Expanding the scheme through the Bill means that even more people will reconnect with their assets. At the same time, it will provide more money for good causes, helping us to build back stronger in the years to come—a clear win-win.

The dormant assets scheme, established in 2008 and administered by the Reclaim Fund, has distributed assets from bank and building society accounts to good causes, while ensuring that sufficient funds are retained to meet any future claims on them. It has been a great success to date, and has unlocked and contributed more than £800 million for social and environmental causes in the UK. It operates, as we know, on three main principles, which remain unchanged in this expansion: reunification, full restoration and voluntary participation.

We are told that expanding the scheme through this Bill has the potential to unlock a further £880 million over the coming years through enabling additional types of dormant assets, including investments, insurance and pensions. This proposed expansion has also gone through a lengthy consultation, with each of these new types of assets having their own appropriately tailored definition of dormancy. Importantly, the Bill enables the social and environmental focus of the English allocation of the funds to be set through secondary legislation, in line with the model used in the devolved Administrations, which allows the scheme to consult on, and in turn be flexible to, the changing environmental and social needs in England into the future.

I welcome the additional measures in the Bill, which include making reference to the requirement for firms participating in the scheme to make attempts to reunite assets with their owners. It also makes necessary changes to reflect the Reclaim Fund’s recent establishment as a non-departmental public body of Her Majesty’s Treasury.

I am pleased to see through the consultation that there is consensus that tracing, verification and reunification —TVR—should continue to be a cornerstone of the scheme. We know that the evidence demonstrates that TVR has improved over time under the existing scheme. However, I would be grateful to hear more from my noble friend the Minister about the plans to enhance it even further. While we recognise the value of delivering funds to good causes, it is also crucial that more people are reunited with their assets.

We know there is much more to be done to help individuals and good causes across the country, particularly as we recover from the pandemic. This funding is already changing lives for the better, and expanding it further will help more vulnerable people to benefit. Instead of gathering dust, this money, if it cannot be reunited with its rightful owner in the first instance, is, among other good causes, being invested to help our young people into employment and to tackle problem debt. I support the Bill and I hope it obtains a very swift and successful passage through this Parliament.

Social Capital

Baroness Sater Excerpts
Monday 25th January 2021

(3 years, 4 months ago)

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Baroness Barran Portrait Baroness Barran (Con)
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The noble Lord is absolutely right; it is not just about what we do and what we spend on but how we do it and who we involve. I point the noble Lord to the shared prosperity fund, on which we will get more detail in the spring, where there is a clear ambition to invest in civic institutions and community-owned assets and give that sense of connection and agency that every community deserves.

Baroness Sater Portrait Baroness Sater (Con) [V]
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My Lords, participation in voluntary organisations can be crucial in the development of social capital. Hearing the stories of communities coming together and volunteers—including those who have never volunteered before—helping their neighbours has been extraordinary. We must not lose all this good will and enthusiasm that we have seen over the last year. Could my noble friend the Minister reassure me that the Government are adapting and innovating fast enough to continue growing our national culture of volunteering?

Baroness Barran Portrait Baroness Barran (Con)
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My noble friend raises a very important point. The Government are absolutely committed to trying to capitalise on the surge of good will that she describes and build a real volunteering legacy. We are developing a new volunteering strategy and, within that, reviewing a number of options, including a volunteering passport, and really trying to understand where the need for volunteers is greatest.

Professional and Amateur Sport: Government Support

Baroness Sater Excerpts
Thursday 1st October 2020

(3 years, 7 months ago)

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Baroness Barran Portrait The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (Baroness Barran) (Con)
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The Government have been very clear on the value of sport, both amateur and professional, and encouraging people to take part. We have welcomed many of the online initiatives over the lockdown period in particular, and have supplied funding through Sport England to the tune of £210 million to ensure that those facilities and clubs survive.

Baroness Sater Portrait Baroness Sater (Con) [V]
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My Lords, can my noble friend the Minister reassure me that any government funding to be allocated will not overlook women’s sport, which recently has had some great successes in participation and popularity? We need to keep up the momentum and not lose all the good work done to make women’s sport more accessible and mainstream.

Baroness Barran Portrait Baroness Barran (Con)
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My noble friend is absolutely right. Great progress has been made at both elite and grass-roots levels in women’s sport. My honourable friend the Minister for Sport was absolutely clear yesterday, in responding to the Question, that he expects and will require women’s sport to get the priority it deserves in any funding coming from this package.

Charitable and Voluntary Sector

Baroness Sater Excerpts
Thursday 30th April 2020

(4 years ago)

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Baroness Sater Portrait Baroness Sater (Con)
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My Lords, I declare my interest as patron of StreetGames. I am in awe of every volunteer who has helped to tackle this unprecedented Covid-19 challenge; we owe them our deepest gratitude for their kindness, selflessness and commitment.

The financial impact of this crisis on community and voluntary organisations will be significant. The voluntary sector is so burdened that the need for these organisations has never been greater. It is right to highlight the financial challenges, but we must also recognise the need to harness effectively all the good will and civic spirit that we have seen to support this sector, not only throughout this crisis but well into the future.

The volunteering has been extraordinary, from neighbours, faith groups, local community groups, national volunteering networks and, of course, the 750,000 NHS volunteer responders. The numbers coming forward to help are unparalleled. Clearly, managing, supporting and securing a long-term volunteer legacy presents various challenges, as we saw in the 2012 Olympics, where 240,000 signed up with 70,000 were used. We must ensure that those who have come forward in recent weeks find ways to continue to volunteer in the future. Do we have the capacity and linkages lined up to include them all? Yet it goes beyond just capacity and co-ordination issues; it goes to information, legal status, incentives and the protection of volunteers, among other things.

In Britain, we have an enormous range of organisational forms of volunteering, with tens of thousands of small, medium and large organisations across multiple sectors. With the sector facing immediate challenges, and sadly more to follow soon, perhaps now is the time, when we have so many people coming forward from outside the formal frameworks to help, for us to begin to re-evaluate our current structures and to look widely for inspiration. Perhaps a task force is needed to do so. I would be grateful if my noble friend the Minister would meet with me to discuss this further.

Sport England: Female Activity

Baroness Sater Excerpts
Monday 9th March 2020

(4 years, 2 months ago)

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Tabled by
Baroness Sater Portrait Baroness Sater
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To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the impact of Sport England’s “This Girl Can” campaign since 2015 on activity levels of females of all ages.

Baroness Penn Portrait Baroness Penn (Con)
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My Lords, on behalf of my noble friend Lady Sater, and with her permission, I beg leave to ask the Question standing in her name on the Order Paper.