Front cover of Sport England Active Lives CYP Report 2022-23In 2022-23, 47% of children and young people in England achieved the Chief Medical Officers recommended 60 minutes of sport or physical activity a day. In Kent and Medway this figure is 45.2%.

The latest results from Sport England’s Active Lives Children and Young People Survey, which covers the 2022-23 academic year, shows that activity levels for children and young people across England hold firm after recovering from pre-pandemic levels.

Locally, the survey found that over 55% of children and young people are using active travel for their journeys. Activity levels have increased for those with a disability and long-term health condition but the gap between those from the most affluent families to the least affluent remains the same. The survey also found positive associations between being active and mental wellbeing.

However, there are still 53% of children and young people in England who are not active enough and 54.9% in Kent and Medway. The research found that inequalities remain. Activity levels have dropped for Asian and Black children and young people. There is a downward trend in happiness levels, especially in school years 3-6 and those from less affluent families are less likely to be active.

Young people sat in chairs playing boccia in a sports hallTo help address these inequalities, Active Kent & Medway facilitate a range of programmes including Kent School Games, delivering 17 events in 2023 and working closely with the local School Games Organiser network and local schools to encourage the least active students to take part. Over 900 students participated last year, 49% of whom were disabled young people. 89 students also took part in the School Games Young Leaders training programme, providing opportunities for those students, who do not consider themselves ‘active or sporty’, to get involved. 35 of these students were disabled young people. They helped deliver six events across the year.

In addition to this, Active Kent & Medway welcomed over 100 primary schools to their 2023 Primary School PE Conference where information and resources were shared, to help local schools encourage more of their students to achieve 60 active minutes each day.

Clair Bell, Cabinet Member for Community and Regulatory Services at Kent County Council commented,

“Ensuring all children and young people have access to opportunities to be active is vital during these formative years. Providing positive experiences to sport and physical activity will stay with them for life as the physical, mental, and social benefits are far reaching. I’m delighted that Active Kent & Medway is supporting this important agenda across Kent.”

Liz Davidson, Partnership Director at Active Kent & Medway said,

“It’s reassuring to see activity levels have held firm after recovering from pre-pandemic levels. However, there is still much to be done across Kent and Medway to ensure every child and young person, whatever their ability, circumstance, race, religion, or postcode, has access to sport and physical activity opportunities and has the chance to take part.

We continue to work closely with local and national partners on programmes like opening school facilities and school games. We are committed to providing positive experiences for all children across the county but to tackle the existing inequalities, we must continue to focus our efforts on those who would benefit the most, both physically and mentally, from being more active”.

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