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- 14 April 2014 00:00
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StreetGames CEO Jane Ashworth says that the biggest challenges for the organisation and its network remain ahead in terms of bringing sport into disadvantaged communities.
Since launching in 2007, StreetGames has proved hugely successful in delivering doorstep sport to young people from lower income households but a recent report they commissioned highlighted the amount of work that still needs to be done when it revealed the cost to the UK economy of inactivity across the lifetimes of today’s young people will be over £53 billion.
"Almost all young people would benefit from participating in sport more often, but those from lower income households - where health inequalities are greatest and where participation in sport is lowest - would benefit most from a more active lifestyle,” Ashworth exclusively told Community Sport Network.
"A young man growing up in one of the UK's disadvantaged communities 2007-10 is expected to die almost 15 years earlier than a more affluent peer.
"Regular participation in sport is lowest in these areas where physical activity is lowest and early morbidity highest.
"According to Sport England surveys, young people from the lowest socio-economic group are around half as likely to regularly play sport compared with those in the highest socio-economic group.
"Sport is not the same as physical activity.
"It is a subset that many disadvantaged people want to make a component of their healthier, more active lifestyle but they are denied the chance to take part because of their socio-economic status.
"Many organisations, including StreetGames, help reduce this sporting inequality but there is still a very long way to go and that is why our biggest challenges remain ahead of us.”
Ashworth also maintained that she was more motivated than ever to continue to work to bring sport to disadvantaged communities.
"For me, StreetGames is not a job; it is a way of life,” she said.
"It is the same for many of my colleagues.
"We are driven by a burning desire to deliver sport to the doorsteps of young people in disadvantaged areas.
"That was has been my passion since day one of StreetGames and that passion remains as strong as ever for me.
"It is not about money or acclaim or anything like that; it is about really rolling your sleeves up to make a difference.
"We are going to continue to work hard to make a difference and we will continue to encourage others to do the same.
"From the largest Government departments to the smallest community project, organisations need to support more people to get active and to stay active.
"In doing so, we can create not only a healthier and happier society, but a richer one too.”
To read the full exclusive "Catch Up” with Jane Ashworth, Click Here