Last week we had the privilege of being invited to the Youth Sport Trust conference. We are lucky to be business members of this amazing charity which is pioneering new ways of using sport to improve children’s well-being and give them a brighter future.
Such an inspirational day; my mind has been awash and with the subjects discussed there and it’s taken me all week to put them down! Needless to say, all delegates were well-fuelled with GO BITES – great brain food as well as good energy!
Our relationship with the Youth Sport Trust fits perfectly with our 5×2025 mission. For those new to us, our vision is to inspire and fuel active lifestyles with our delicious food, books and education. We’re absolutely passionate about helping children understand about the connection between the food they eat and their physical and mental well-being, so by 2025, our mission is that every child should be able to cook 5 nourishing meals by the time they leave home, and, importantly, to understand why these meals are good.
So, key takings from last week’s conference:
1. If children are not mentally and physically fit, how can they access the good teaching that is taking place in schools?
As Chief Executive Alison Oliver says:
“The world is moving faster than ever. Things keep spinning and moving but at the same time the world is slowing down and has almost stopped in terms of physical activity. Young people are getting less and less active but more stressed… There is a growing elephant in the room. In our schools, teachers are doing some remarkable work but if young people are not well enough to access that teaching and education, then it is wasted.
It is time to change and transform what we look at in education. This year we will continue to campaign for PE’s place within the curriculum and to break outdated stereotypes.”
2. What should schools be accountable for?
Are our expectations too high? Should parents not take on more responsibility for their children’s well-being? With budgets cut, less and less time available for PE, art, music, or connecting with nature, and so much pressure on schools to achieve academic results, how can schools be expected to get the best out of their pupils?
Much talk of starting ‘academic’ school later, and learning through play until the age of seven, which sounds good to me in theory.
One delegate used the example of her son in Year One, who, from spending his first 5 years of life running about and playing, was suddenly subjected to spending the school day sat at a desk. Picking him up from school, she said, was a matter of taking him ‘for a run like a dog’ to calm him down. This mother was lucky enough to have the time and sense to do this.
So many children are now subjected to inactivity through their parent’s lack of understanding… or perhaps, dare I say, laziness? (A weekend at our Costco Roadshow in Chingford has provoked this, seeing children as old as ten years old, ie perfectly able to walk on their own, being pushed around in trolleys!)
3. Physical activity is so much more than just keeping fit!
Well, we all know that don’t we! It’s such an effective medium for character-building, developing courage and resilience and for social mobility. It breaks down barriers, keeps us mentally fit and spreads a little happiness ….
The conference ended with a celebration of the incredible achievements of both teachers and students in schools around the country and a truly inspirational talk from Ben Smith of the 401 charity. Ben’s an ultra-marathon runner who completed 401 marathons in 401 days. That’s nothing! He’s currently planning to run a marathon in every US state capital and cycle the distance between them in 2020! Ben found the transformative power of sport in his 30s having had a difficult childhood and battling his own mental health issues. He’s a great guy!
Plus of course, delicious food and not an insignificant amount of dad-dancing!