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Sport and physical education play an imperative role in enhancing a nation’s public health. Since the 2012 olympics, the UK government has become rigorous in promoting sports and physical activities by the Youth Sport policy and making it a habit for the general public. The current issues that the Sport governing bodies have detected in the public policies regarding sports and physical activity is mental health, social cognitive skills, and emotional imbalance in the general public (Kwon et al., 2019). It aims at solving these three issues by making the strategy for Youth Sport, more directed and channelized towards the needs of the public rather than making the achievement, heart of the whole programme (Göpfert et al., 2018). From 2013 to 2018, the policy has reflected some significant changes in the lifestyle of the general public and with this report, we aim at discussing and analysing the cause and effect of the current policy.
With the current policy, the government aims at expanding its practices in regional areas. It has undertaken various programs to increase opportunities for youth to enroll for sports via ‘Youth Sport Strategy Policy’. The foremost program that was initiated in 2013 continues till date which is connecting sports clubs with school. This would enable the local public to benefit from policies and funding of the government in sports and physical activities in community areas (Feddersen et al., 2020). And this policy eliminates the need to pay high fees for pursuing a career in sports. If the individual has caliber and is determined to win competitions, the government will help by scholarships and other incentives as well. It will allow the student to get to his favorite college or university, if does exceptionally well in sports. But it does not mean that all the benefits are reserved for only the best candidates (Szczepaniak, 2020). The government has made policies to include all segments but has primarily focused on ‘Youth’. The policy is about reaching out to people through rigorous, result-oriented, and more effective channels by interlinking communities and facilities of private as well as public education centers, universities, and schools (Kelly, Erickson, and Turnnidge, 2020). With the help of partners, Sport England has curated programs to make facilities available for all types of sports including Javelin throw, swimming, athletes, wrestling, and others. It is seen that these places need enormous space and therefore the government has been proactively investing in these projects (Skille, Stenling, and Fahlén, 2017). Sport England mainly focuses on making sport a part of an individual's life in the UK. it includes digital, cultural, and media programs to support and promote sport and physical activities so that it reaches every household.
The board has decided to raise the proportion of individuals participating in the age group 14-25 by establishing a channel between sports clubs and schools. This decision was taken by the board as the coronavirus pandemic has impacted the physical health of the young generation adversely. Moreover, the reports of obesity have been on a rise since the last decade (Kwon et al., 2019). The governing body of Sports and Physical activities has taken into account the restoration of public health through channelized investment to make the sports facilities accessible by all at regional level (Szczepaniak, 2020).
Legacy of competitive sport is facilitated by the current Sports policy to make a pool of candidates that will help England to remain on top of the competition at global level.For this reason, the board of the sports department has decided to facilitate 60% of spending by sport governing bodies towards building sport as a habit rather than a choice. For this lifestyle shift, the government has realized its role in not only promoting but also in ensuring that these policies are yielding the desired outcomes (Göpfert et al., 2018).
To effectively use resources of the state, it has also decided to open ¾ of the sport facilities at schools for public/community sports. The policy also involves developing leaders who can effectively motivate the maximum number of individuals in their contact to make physical activities part of their daily lives (Skille, Stenling, and Fahlén, 2017). With the goal for ‘Happier and Healthier young generation achieve their potential’ the government is set to holistically develop and operate the policies in different parts of the state. In the next section we will discuss how funding and investment has aided the sports policy implementation in recent years and how it will accelerate the operations to achieve greater success and its objective in coming years (Feddersen et al., 2020).
With the motive of, ‘powering success inspiring impact’, the government interventions aim at having long-lasting impact on the population of the nation. It does not ignore the vitality of the competitive spirit and determination to win but also includes concern for society to develop as a positive and healthy stance. It views its human resources as key drivers of economic progress and therefore these policies and government interventions aiming to make sport a habit of people are lauded across the state. The government aims at building a full-fledged sport system of the nation by not leaving any stone unturned in implementation of policies. These policies also aim at shifting the focus of youth and adolescents towards constructive activities rather than destructive activities. The three ambitions that will be the objectives of the 2021-31 strategic plan include winning well, inspire positive change, and thrive to develop a sports system. These policies also
Sport England has not been any less than other governing bodies in actively addressing the issues and needs of the program and hence, it curated a policy, “A sporting future for the playing fields”. Under this policy, the organization aims to develop playing fields in England. It aims to protect the scarce space available in the urban locations because these are eyed by entities for other developmental projects (Göpfert et al., 2018).Therefore, the organization prohibits and opposes strongly against such practices that might snatch the opportunity from potential youth to become representative of the country at global level. All the policies aim at developing and finding those candidates that will compete in sports at global level by giving everyone equal opportunity to learn, grow, and thrive to become the best. The policy of protecting and developing playing fields also targets to eradicate prejudice and inequality of providing the land to entities who might put the land to more profitable use in terms of creation of wealth while neglecting the need for a healthier lifestyle by the public (Kelly, Erickson, and Turnnidge, 2020).
In the FY 2019-20, the Youth Sport Policy received funds equal to £11,270,429 which was segmented in different departments to ensure that each department is equally developed to work in coordination and there is minimum lapse of time and energy. The program received £924,128 from Trusts and Foundations, £57,208 from Fundraising and donations, £290,838 from Corporate partnerships, £2,247,464 from Commissioned development work and Sport England contributed a sum of £5,173,416. Sport England was the highest fundraiser for the program. These funds were largely deployed to train coaches, teachers, and young candidates enrolling for the sports events along with making community facilities available for the general public accessible. The remaining chunk was used for campaign purposes The main programs which are leveraged from these funds include Active Across Ages, Active in mind, Barclays Game on Part of England Football, and the like (Kelly, Erickson, and Turnnidge, 2020).
In the recently published articles and government reports, it was found that people were given three choices to vote among. These included participation, volunteering, and spectating the game or sport. With the 2018-21 policy in place, it was found that people who were willing to become the source for their data collection and provide full and authentic information, chose to participate in sports primarily followed by volunteering and spectating respectively. This showcases that individuals were responding to their campaigns and these policies were making facilities available to the enthusiasts. There were numerous changes in different aspects that were recorded while observing the effect of these policies. People were adopting lifestyle changes that favored their physical and mental health along with economic development of the nation by making its labor force more productive.
It gave a competitive edge to the nation by developing healthier and happier human resources. People responded by stating they are getting better sleep and their focus has considerably improved. They also showed interest in making a career in sports. There was a considerable ratio of decline in the cases of medical conditions such as diabetes, heart diseases, depression,and cancer especially in those persons which actively participated through these programs. One of the great benefits that community sport policy and investment had was to direct weight loss goals and maintain healthy physical attributes with constructive activities such as eating healthy and exercising regularly instead of focusing on intense workouts and diets that might not be enjoyed by all and suit their body type (Patatas, De Bosscher, and Legg, 2018). There were more names for state level and national level sport events as people realized their potential in sports. Even people who earlier thought that sports were inaccessible and costly for them benefited from these policies. There was a tremendous decline in the cases of cognitive impairment in older women and mental illness such as depression and anxiety which means people became more confident to face challenges and engaged in social community through the way of sports. The increased investment in Public Sport facilities has enabled the country to lower medical costs (Hoekman and Scheerder, 2021).
Changes required in the current policies
Current policies are well implemented but still there is a dearth to reach every household and formulate a policy that not only promotes sport but also controls its reach to every individual. With increasing enrollments and more people joining sports, the team must grow as well. The government needs to employ more teachers, coaches, supporting staff, and motivate individuals for volunteer in matches. The government needs to deploy a controlling system as well as there are increased chances of injuries as people who might be joining sports for the first time are more prone to injuries due to their lack of information and skill in the particular field they are enrolling for. Moreover, special care needs to be implemented while curating physical activities programs for the older generation due to chances of injuries (Patatas, De Bosscher, and Legg, 2018).
Alongside, it will be highly beneficial for the government to promote healthy eating as well because it has been seen that diet is an imperative part of physical fitness and a good and healthy diet promotes an individual to give his best to the sport that he is playing. When people are more inclined towards fast food, they tend to feel indolent and are less likely to give their hundred percent in the physical activities and therefore the program and policy will not be as fruitful as it intends to be. So, for making the policy implementation holistically beneficial for the economy and the public simultaneously, the government needs to recruit more coaches and supporting staff and it can be facilitated by migration from different countries and choose skilled individuals to guide the public on the right track (Szczepaniak, 2020). A good control system and preparing the audit report will help to measure the effectiveness of the policy implementation and setting standards will help to compare the performance to find out whether it is the policy planning or implementation which needs to be taken care of, the next time (Hoekman and Scheerder, 2021). It will channelize the objectives and reduce having too much on the plate while planning a policy. These policies need to be spaced out and focus must be to achieve the sole goal by rigorous measures. With an intact control system, the sport system that the state is intending to create, will be facilitated and the government and the public will be highly benefited by it (Kwon et al., 2019).
Feddersen, N.B., Morris, R., Littlewood, M.A. and Richardson, D.J., 2020. The emergence and perpetuation of a destructive culture in an elite sport in the United Kingdom. Sport in Society, 23(6), pp.1004-1022.
Göpfert, A., Van Hove, M., Emond, A. and Mytton, J., 2018. Prevention of sports injuries in children at school: a systematic review of policies. BMJ open sport & exercise medicine, 4(1), p.e000346.
Hoekman, R. and Scheerder, J., 2021. Sport policy practice and outcome: theoretical and empirical approaches. European Journal for Sport and Society, 18(2), pp.103-113.
Kelly, A.L., Erickson, K. and Turnnidge, J., 2020. Youth sport in the time of COVID-19: considerations for researchers and practitioners. Managing Sport and Leisure, pp.1-11.
Kwon, J., Cameron, A.J., Hammond, D., White, C.M., Vanderlee, L., Bhawra, J. and Sacks, G., 2019. A multi-country survey of public support for food policies to promote healthy diets: Findings from the International Food Policy Study. BMC public health, 19(1), pp.1-10.
Patatas, J.M., De Bosscher, V. and Legg, D., 2018. Understanding parasport: an analysis of the differences between able-bodied and parasport from a sport policy perspective. International Journal of Sport Policy and Politics, 10(2), pp.235-254.
Skille, E.Å., Stenling, C. and Fahlén, J., 2017. Talent policies. In Routledge handbook of talent identification and development in sport (pp. 455-465). Routledge.
Szczepaniak, M., 2020. Public sport policies and health: comparative analysis across European Union countries. Journal of Physical Education and Sport, 20, pp.1022-1030.
It is true that sport helps in bringing down the number of medical cases but this decrease does not mean decreased expenditure in the medical resources and facilities. While bringing the public to participate in sports and motivating them to thrive harder, the state needs to provide supporting facilities as well, of which medical services and first aid are imperative. Government interventions are required to actively invest in providing medical aid immediately when it is needed on the playing field. The focus of programs include ‘Sport as prevention’ which means prevention from medical illnesses, so the government will be required to make it holistically achievable. For this reason, one of the recommendations is to install a medical support system in the playing fields. The other intervention is to prevent spacious grounds from being sold to capitalists, even if it proves to be ‘wealth creating opportunity’. This can be done by protecting these lands and leveraging it to community playing fields which is also a program of Sport England but government intervention is necessary on a state-level. The third intervention is to embed the intake of healthy diet in policies curated for the general public. Diet is an essential part of being active and participating holistically in the sport. If one is more involved in junk food, his ability to put his best efforts will be reduced considerably. Moreover, here the strategy moderation includes a very vital concept of having a supporting control system and preparing audit reports. This way policies will be streamlined with the national objective to expand sport activities in regional and urban areas without wasting funds on unnecessary activities and processes. It also suggests that it needs to have more coaches and supporting staff to meet the increasing requirement of increased mass that opt for participating in sports.
Here, we have discussed some information regarding the strategies and policies along with their implications for the general public. Sport England is an organization that is focused on reaching the public and motivating them to be involved in sports or physical exercise. It has also discussed how it aims at objectives and what are the aspects of its program. The organization is proactive in managing the communications with the public to facilitate the participation from every household and increasing the number of individuals for taking sport as their career option. It also showcases how parents have perceived the precautions taken by the Youth Sport Strategy community during the pandemic and whether they are satisfied or not. We see that the majority of parents are satisfied with the precaution taken by the community servicemen.
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