Is it possible to reduce knife crime with sport and physical activity?

Two of our our recent blog posts have discussed how much physical activity children should be doing and what the Government is doing to enable them with the School Sport and Activity Plan. These followed a recent Active Lives Survey by Sport England reporting that barely 20% of children are doing enough every day for their mental and physical health and well-being.

However, could it be that sport and physical activity is not just a tool to be used to fight inactivity, obesity and related chronic illnesses but also knife crime?

It may seem far fetched that taking part in sport and physical activity could potentially shield children and young people who are at risk of being involved in knife crime but new lottery funding is being targeted at doing just that.

Sport and physical activities that take place in the communities where these high risk children live could allow them to feel part of their community rather than being alienated from both the community and other children and adults. The Active Lives Survey which found that children who regularly take part in sport and physical activity “are happier, more resilient and more trusting of other children and young people. The more elements of physical literacy present, the higher the levels of happiness, resilience and social trust.”

“Our insight shows that regularly active children and young people are not only happier and healthier, they are more resilient and feel a closer connection to their peers and communities.”
Tim Hollingsworth, Chief Executive, Sport England.

This statement from Tim Hollingsworth came in response to an initiative published last week by Jeremy Wright, the then Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, as £400,000 was awarded to 49 projects enabling 3,420 children access to places on a new sport and activity programme. This £400,000 National Lottery funding will be used to support community groups and organisations during the summer of 2019 in known knife crimes areas in Yorkshire, the North West, West Midlands and London to enable at-risk children to take part in a variety of sporting activities. The programme will not just focus on the physical activity of the sport itself but also other aspects involved such as coaching and mentoring skills. This participation brings them closer to their communities as they learn new skills, build confidence, make new friends from a range of social groups and at the same time have fun.

This initiative is not the only programme involved in helping at-risk children and young people; Premier League Kicks is a community programme that started in 2006. It has grown from four pilot schemes in Fulham, Brentford, Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur to sixty-nine professional football clubs across the country. Through it's key component of volunteering, this programme has helped with the education, training and employment of more that 300,000 youngsters in high-need areas. Additionally, 1 in 5 members of staff involved in the programme's delivery and coaching were initially participants in the programme itself with many working in the same community where they first volunteered.

Also, we previously covered Primal Roots and the work they’re doing with the NHS in putting sport and outdoor recreational activities at the centre of rehabilitation programs for over-18s who have come in contact with the criminal justice system.

It is generally agreed that no single body can be responsible for solving the problem of knife crime and a collective response from the public health agencies and the community is welcomed.

“Sport is a powerful tool that can play an important role in turning young people away from crime and violence.”
Jeremy Wright, Former Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

Here at tahdah, we provide the software platform that enables our clients to manage their membership programs as well as their network of coaches, training providers and the associations and clubs that deliver that sport or recreational activity to the general public. We do this while putting the safeguarding of all at the centre of everything. So, if you or others in your community are looking to get more active, maybe check out one of our clients to see what they can offer.

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