Children’s Commissioner for Wales Annual Report recommendations significant for sport & leisure

Children’s Commissioner for Wales Annual Report recommendations significant for sport & leisure

The Children’s Commissioner for Wales Office published its Annual Report for 2022/23 in October, with recommendations to tackle child poverty that are significant to the sport and leisure sector.

“Tackling child poverty has been a consistent priority for the office and we have regularly discussed with Ministers and officials to push for stronger and clearer measures from the Welsh Government to address this persistent issue,” the Report reads.

“The Commissioner remains concerned that, despite work being undertaken in this area, children and families are not seeing a positive impact in terms of the money available to them to meet their basic needs and their standard of living.”

The Report outlines a total of five recommendations made to Welsh Government to tackle child poverty, including:

  • Increased investment in Play, Sports & Leisure facilities & Youth Support
  • Free Bus Travel for all children

The Report also states that “to address both child poverty and the climate emergency, the child poverty action plan should include a commitment to a free public transport pilot for children and young people under 18 within this Senedd term.”

Find the full Report here.

The Welsh Sports Association (WSA) recognises the significant challenges faced by many families and young people which represent barriers to physical activity among other aspects of life.

Responding to the recommendations, WSA Chief Executive Andrew Howard said:

“The WSA are committed to actively promoting the value of sport and its contribution to the health and wellbeing of the nation and we have recently created the Welsh Sports Foundation (WSF) Charity.”

The WSA and the WSF welcomes the recommendations made in the Children’s Commissioner for Wales’ Annual Report, one of which directly aligns to one of the WSF’s main goals.

The initial objective of the WSF is to concentrate efforts on achieving 3 main goals:

  • Creating a national sports kit and equipment recycling programme
  • Developing a National Endowment Fund for Sport in Wales
  • Introducing Sports Activity Vouchers which can be used towards the costs associated with sports participation such as weekly subs and transport costs

Discover more about the Welsh Sports Foundation here!

Andrew added:

“The Foundation’s vision is to create a healthy and happy Wales, where every individual child and young person is able participate in sport and physical activity, and removing the financial barriers will make it happen. In levelling the playing field, the Foundation will ensure that no child is left on the side-lines. We believe that this as an innovative solution to help tackle child poverty in Wales and we welcome news that our objectives support the recommendations of the Children’s Commissioner, and we look forward to discussing this with her soon.”

As the Children’s Commissioner for Wales’ Annual Report highlights, “the most recent statistics available show that an average of 28% of children in Wales were living in poverty between 2019 and 2022”, data predating the current cost-of-living crisis.

Research by WSA members StreetGames, who recently published their 1,000 Young Voices insight study, evidences the difficulties faced by young people when it comes to accessing physical activity.

Within the research, for example, 35% of young people said the cost of living had negatively affected how much they take part in sport and physical activities, while 40% of young people said that their top concern was ‘mine and my family’s finances and the cost of living.’

The WSA recognises the immediate need for investment in the sport and leisure sector, with the provision of affordable and safe sport, physical activity and leisure in our communities being key to the whole of Wales’ ongoing wellbeing as well as Welsh Government’s wellbeing agenda.

The WSA will continue to work with Welsh Government, Sport Wales and the Senedd to advocate on behalf of the sector and state the case for investment in sport and leisure, at a time when the sector and individuals face unprecedented challenges.

If you have any questions about the WSF’s work or the WSA’s advocacy work, don’t hesitate in getting in touch with the team.

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