major Youth Stakeholder Forum attended by over 100 young people from across Ireland as well as Olympic gold medal-winning boxer Kellie Harrington
event hears only one in seven young people sufficiently physically active
range of conclusions contained in report to help keep more young people involved in sport including more physical activity friendly school uniform policies and greater access to sports facilities
Minister of State for Sport and the Gaeltacht, Jack Chambers, today published a Report on a Youth Stakeholder Forum on Sport that was held earlier this year at the National Sports Campus in Blanchardstown, Dublin.
The forum, which was attended by over 100 young people from across Ireland, produced, according to the Minister:
"highly useful findings that will greatly help us to combat young people dropping out of sport in their teens."
The Minister added:
"The level of engagement and interest in this topic was evident all the way through the day-long forum, something that I found to be really encouraging. The variety and depth of the ideas and suggestions coming from these young people convinces me that we can solve this persistent problem in youth sport participation.
"The current situation where only one in seven young people are sufficiently physically active to benefit their long-term health is not an acceptable state of affairs. No matter what the reasons, we simply have to achieve improvements in this area. We now have a menu of potential remedies and actions which my department are now urgently examining."
Discussions at the Forum revolved around findings of the Children’s Sport Participation and Physical Activity Study 2018, (CSPPA 2018). It found that only one in seven young people are sufficiently physically active to benefit their long-term health.
Describing this finding as “a highly worrying and concerning situation that clearly requires a robust and considered response”, Minister Chambers confirmed his determination to secure improvements in sport participation numbers. He highlighted the range of actions set out in the Sports Action Plan 2021-2023, published last November. One of the actions in that plan committed to the holding of this young people’s forum.
Minister Chambers also thanked Kellie Harrington for attending the forum:
"Kellie spoke with incredible passion and clarity on the challenges many young people face in staying involved in sport as they grow up. Her insights into her own childhood playing sport and her words of encouragement will no doubt be an inspiration to so many young people."
9 main conclusions emerged from the Forum:
1. More sports facilities to address current gaps
2. Share existing facilities more, especially between schools and local communities
3. Prioritise the development of multi-sport facilities to improve range and variety
4. Develop coaching standards and capability
5. Have a physical activity friendly school uniforms policy
6. Better access for young people to sports facilities during peak hours after school
7. More active travel to and from sports facilities and improve public transport availability, especially in rural areas
8. More time dedicated to a more diverse physical education (PE) curriculum
9. Need for Gender equality
Minister Chambers added:
"It would be wrong to say that Ireland is doing poorly across the board. Far from it. At younger age levels, Ireland is doing reasonably well, with most school children being regularly active every day, whether through a formal sport, or just running about and playing in the outdoors. That is a good situation but there is unfortunately a very discernible deterioration in participation numbers during the post-primary period.
"The fact that this is a trend replicated in many other countries overseas is of no comfort to me or to the government and we need to change that trend. With the benefit of the views expressed by young people themselves at this forum I’m confident that we will change that trend for the better in the coming years."