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Wednesday, 3 October 2023

Getting your child involved in sport

Sport not only keeps children fit, healthy and active, but it also builds their confidence and social skills. Find out how sport can benefit your child, and find out about sports clubs and facilities in your area.

Why is sport important?

Children are becoming increasingly less active, and that is bad news for their health. Overweight children are much more likely to develop diabetes or heart disease in later life, and are more likely to be obese as adults. To guard against this, it is recommended that all children are active for one hour every day, and there is no better way to achieve this than through playing sport.

Sports bodies and facilities outside school

"My son really wanted to find out about basketball and the Active Places website found us a local venue" - Jean, Dudley

Sport England delivers sports training and opportunities for children throughout the country. Its Active Places website lists 50,000 sports facilities, including tennis courts, swimming pools, ice rinks, athletics tracks, football pitches, golf courses - even ski slopes.

You can browse an interactive map of the country, search for facilities in your local area, or use the name and address of a specific facility to find out more information.

School sports clubs

Many schools have sports in their after-school clubs. You can get more information on these from your child's school. Education departments of local authorities are also responsible for many locally available sports facilities.

Holiday playschemes

A number of organisations run holiday sports or activity camps for children. These can be residential or day camps and are usually aimed at children from age 5 to 17. Some camps offer one or two sports in particular, and others have a range of sports on offer.

Each organisation has its own website, some of which are below. Kings Sports camps are run throughout the UK during the summer and Easter holidays, and are registered with Ofsted, so your child should get good quality care. Alternatively you could try Exportise, which runs sport and language camps, or Let Me Play which runs sport and dance camps, including a specialist camp for children who tend to avoid physical activity.

Helping to keep your child safe in sport

All providers of sports activities should have child protection measures in place to ensure the safety of all children taking part. Download the following information leaflet - 'Helping keep your child safe in sport' - for advice on the right questions to ask to make sure these measures are in place and being followed.

Support for young and gifted children

If your child is talented at sport, JAE can help them achieve their full potential without falling behind with their school work

If you think your child is particularly talented at sport, Junior Athlete Education (JAE) can help them achieve their full potential without falling behind with their school work.

JAE is a talent support programme for schools, which provides support for young athletes and for their parents or carers. This helps young athletes find the right balance between training, competitions, school work, exams and family life. JAE even provides mentors for talented children at school.

To find out more about JAE and how your child's school can get involved, phone the Youth Sport Trust on 01509 226 600 or visit their website.

Sports grants and scholarships

The Talented Athletics Sports Scheme (TASS) is a government-funded programme offering awards for athletes aged 16 and above. The idea behind the awards is to allow potential sportsmen and women to develop their sports careers while keeping a balance with their work commitments or academic life.

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