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It’s the last few days before the general election and the parties will be fighting hard for your vote. It’s difficult to remember a more turbulent election campaign; the recent spate of UK terror attacks will, of course, be foremost in our minds.
But there’s a determination among all of us not to allow these incidents to disrupt the democratic process and knock us off course. We should remember the issues that we care about and take the opportunity to lobby our candidates and hold the parties to account.
Here at the FSPA we’re working hard on the issues which matter to our members and also reflecting wider issues which matter to just about everyone. As a nation, we face an obesity epidemic in both adults and children, dangerously sedentary lifestyles and rising rates of people with mental health difficulties.
We want the next government to recognise the pivotal role that movement, sport, activity and play have in helping to alleviate all these issues. Sport and play are not only vital to happy, healthy and successful individuals, they’re vital to creating a happy, healthy and successful society.
Physical activity isn’t a magic wand which will solve all these issues, but it’s the closest we’ve got to one. Simply put, if people moved more they’d be happier and healthier. If we could bottle the physical and mental health benefits of sport, play and exercise, we would!
With what we face as a nation, sport and play matter now more than ever. Sport can keep us grounded, connected, can challenge us, keep us wholly healthy. Without free, unstructured and sometimes risky play, children can’t develop the physical, emotional and social skills they need.
Opportunities to engage in sport and play are not luxuries. We’re designed to move, compete, cooperate, challenge, and have fun. Sport and play are how we learn to deal with losing and failure and then how to improve.
UK sport would not be where it is today without the industry – our sports and play industry – to underpin it. We’re one of the largest trade organisations in Europe and our members not only contribute to the economic health of the country, but to the physical and mental health of its inhabitants too.
From this Friday we’ll be working with the next government, whoever they are, to push sport, play and physical activity back up the political agenda and to wholeheartedly commit to policies which actively encourage more participation in sports and play.
Mary Lubrano, FSPA Communications Manager