Sport for Development Coalition has recently contributed a mental health, sport and physical activity conference, established by the mental health charity, Mind. The Coalition, which was represented by CEO Ollie Dudfield, is made up of over 200 organisations that work towards a charter of sports for development goals. He was joined by several leading professionals in the sector including England Athletics’ CEO Chris Jones & MP Nigel Huddleston, the Minister for Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport.
The last 18 months have been a great indicator of the fervour for sports and activity, with many companies and much of the public seeking alternate means to get active, online. The recent Autumn Budget released by Chancellor Rishi Sunak, has solidified investment in the sector but has left questions as to the criminal justice system and health and social care sectors, where regular fitness has shown to have a great deal of impact.
The conference looked at the current research, learning and good practice from both mental health and sport to examine where it has created a positive impact over the last six years. Chair of the discussion, Karen Mellanby, Director of Network and Communities at Mind, focussed on the ways in which the sector can empower more people to become more physically active as a pathway to addressing our current mental health crisis.
The importance for young people can’t be overstated as according to the National Youth Agency, those living in deprived areas were three times more likely to suffer mental health conditions than their affluent peers. Highlighting the solutions that put fitness, physical activity, and sport at the core is a significant step in supporting those with purposeful change in the sector.
The final policy brief is set to be released this month (November 2021).