Baroness Estelle Morris of the new House of Lords Committee on a National Plan for Sport and Recreation is asking The Hockey Paper readers to input into their inquiry
The last year has probably been the most challenging for grassroots sports of modern times. Right now, as we begin the third national lockdown in 12 months, and children and adults are once again stopped from taking part in organised sports, it might seem like a depressing time for a new House of Lords Committee to look at the future of sport and recreation in England.
However, times of challenge can also be times of change.
I know the important part that sport has played in my own life. Like many young people, I found the move to Secondary School difficult and doing well at sport was the thing that improved my confidence and helped me to make friends.
I captained my school hockey team and played for Manchester Schools and they remain some of my happiest memories of that time. I no longer play hockey but I do fitness activities and I always feel that I am building on the enthusiasm that I developed when I was younger.
I am conscious, however, that this isn’t everyone’s experiences of sport. Many people didn’t engage with sport at school and that too has continued into adulthood. As a country, we do need to do better and the experiences and views of those involved in sport are crucial to our getting it right.
The new House of Lords Committee on a National Plan for Sport and Recreation is currently asking for anyone with an interest in sport and a passion for getting more people active to tell us how that can be done.
We know that it’s the coaches on the ground as well as the myriad of administrators, referees, welfare officers and other volunteers who make grassroots sport possible and provide the opportunities for people to be active.
We really need to hear from those people directly about the challenges they face and how government, elite sports organisations, governing bodies and others can do more to help you. It’s important we hear first-hand from those delivering sport and recreation opportunities in local communities.
We are asking everyone to submit their thoughts on these issues us by Friday 29 January. You can find more details of how to do so on our website.
We will read all submissions and some of those submitting evidence may be asked to join the Committee for an oral evidence session so we can explore the issues raised further.
Our inquiry will run until the autumn when we will publish a report making recommendations to Government. House of Lords Committee reports have a great track record of influencing Government policy and delivering significant change, so by submitting evidence you can play a key role in making sport and recreation work better right across the country.
This is something I am sure all readers of The Hockey Paper are passionate about achieving.