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By GreaterSport | 31 March 2022 | TAGS: Children and young people, Research and learning, education

  • New data shows that only 1 in 3 young people in GM were meeting the recommended daily physical activity recommendations set by the Government’s Chief Medical Officer during the Autumn 2021 term.
  • Previous research shows there’s a positive association between levels of engagement in sport and physical activity and levels of mental wellbeing amongst young people.
  • In response to the #BeeWell findings, GreaterSport will be launching a youth-led campaign on physical activity and mental health, with partners across the city-region.

Movement, activity, and sport play an important role in young people’s social, emotional and physical development for young people. Yet a new survey shows that only 34% of young people in Greater Manchester meet the national recommendation of 1 hour activity per day. That’s according to the new #BeeWell survey that heard from nearly 40,000 Year 8 and Year 10 pupils in Greater Manchester on their wellbeing in Autumn 2021. The survey also demonstrates a clear inequality for girls and for pupils of some ethnic backgrounds, with only 28% of girls, 27% of Asian pupils and 17% of Chinese pupils achieving the recommended daily levels. In addition, only 26% of young people who identify as non-binary are meeting the national recommendation. Despite this 83% of young people report they feel they have good, very good or excellent physical health, which could highlight a disconnect in young people’s perception of health and the reality of our need for movement and activity.

In response to these findings GreaterSport have announced that they will be launching a youth-led campaign on physical activity and mental health. The campaign will be designed and led by young people and delivered by GM Moving partners across Greater Manchester.

The campaign will be designed to:

  • Support Active Lives for all young people in an inclusive, accessible way, with a focus on mental wellbeing.
  • Be designed to ensure that people and organisations across the whole of Greater Manchester can use it in their work to support young people’s wellbeing.
  • It will also give specific focus to girls, building on the #BeeWell findings uncovering the extent of the gender gap in sport coming out of the pandemic.

Francesca Speakman, Strategic Lead for Active Children & Young People at GreaterSport said: “GreaterSport commits to using the #BeeWell data and insight in all future planning for support and investment with children and young people alongside the national Active Lives CYP survey. This survey provides us a unique opportunity to respond as a system and support our young people to improve their mental and physical wellbeing. To support our young people to move more we need to listen to our young people about what matters to them and work together to remove the barriers to participation. We want to build on the great work taking place across Greater Manchester, and recognise we need to do more collectively. This new campaign seeks to connect the benefits that activity can have on your overall wellbeing and making guidelines more real to young people.”

The campaign will create resources with young people in Greater Manchester to encourage institutions and organisations to embed more opportunities for movement across the day, both in and out of schools. With 67% of young people doing sports, exercise or other physical activities at least once a week outside of school, this suggests there may be an appetite for engagement. The work taking place aims to provide positive experience for all young people to move more, particularly for girls and non-binary young people.

David Gregson, Chair of the #BeeWell Delivery Group Board, said: "With the immense support of secondary schools, the young people of Greater Manchester have given responses to the #BeeWell survey, and in enormous numbers. It's marvellous that GM Moving partners have reacted so quickly to those voices with plans to put in place a new campaign, informed and inspired by #BeeWell data. This campaign will be targeted at raising young people’s physical activity levels in general, and those groups whose physical activity levels are particularly low quite specifically. We are enormously grateful for such a focussed and effective response to #BeeWell, and are determined to support GM Moving partners in ensuring that their efforts make a real difference to the lives of young people across the city region."

Across the city-region, GM Moving partners are looking to build on existing work using the #BeeWell data and are committed to:

  • Supporting schools to prioritise physical activity and moving more across the school day. Active Education Leads in every borough will support settings that would like to prioritise physical activity in their ambition to improve pupil mental wellbeing. They will do this by connecting them to local opportunities and embedding physical activity using the Creating Active Schools Framework. We will also build on the success on the Opening School Facilities work, in creating safe spaces in the community for our young people to move more, funding projects such as Active Angels yoga clubs.
  • Understanding and reducing the barriers faced by our young people who identify as LGBTQ+. The GM Moving LGBTQ+ Steering Group will use the data to strengthen our insight and understanding of the barriers to participation and embed mental wellbeing into recommendations for the system to be more welcoming to all young people. An example of this work includes a recent project with the Albert Kennedy Trust in supporting young people within the LGBTQ+ community who are at risk of homelessness in engaging in physical activity to improve mental wellbeing.
  • Embedding physical activity in mental wellbeing services. In Rochdale, Your Trust (alongside Rochdale MHST, led by Pennine Care Foundation) will use the data to pilot a project with year 8 pupils around their mental wellbeing and engagement in activity, building on their existing work within the local mental health support team service in Primary Schools. The team are also considering how to link together the Youth Social Prescribing with other wellbeing services in the borough by working with the youth social prescribing lead based at Hopwood Hall college.
  • Create more opportunities for girls to be active. The data suggests girls are less likely to be active than boys. This was also confirmed by the recent Women in Sport research – showcasing that 43% of girls are likely to drop out of sport due to a fear of feeling judged by others (68%), lack of confidence (61%), pressures of schoolwork (47%) and not feeling safe (43%.) Partners are testing different approaches, like the new Glow Sports project in Bolton, looking to make traditional activities more attractive through UV.

If you would like to see more about this work or how you can play your part in supporting our young people to be more active then please click here. 

If you would like to know more about the #BeeWell data and the initial findings please click here.

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