Alex Welsh 14 July 2016
It was great last week at the London Sport Engagement Event at The Oval to share a platform with Caroline Brooks (London Sport), Sarah Ridley (London Marathon Charitable Trust) and Helen Griffiths (Fields in Trust) to discuss the challenges facing London’s playing fields stock over the coming years. The session provoked much debate and one thing became abundantly clear. At a time when London Sport is aiming to get a million more people active by 2020 it is illogical that the very places where this activity takes place are under threat.

How many of the current squad representing England in France this summer have relived that moment as a child growing up, pretending to be Geoff Hurst and Kenneth Wolstenholme in the same moment? And where did all this happen? On a local playing field where, for most of us, our love for sport began.

Don’t you just love those David Attenborough natural history programmes where he passionately describes the plight of another endangered species? And following the programme the charity promoting the cause is inundated with donations from people like you and me who want to see the species protected forever. Playing fields are a bit like that but no-one is making emotive television programmes campaigning against their loss. This is strange considering how much they play a part in people’s lives.

The Government’s new sports strategy “Sporting Future” and its ambition to transform people’s well being and create a fitter, healthier and happier nation has much to commend it.

Two reports published this week providing reasons why young people drop out of sport early tell us what we’ve known for some time.