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Participation in Sport

Volume 583: debated on Thursday 3 July 2014

5. What recent steps the Government have taken to encourage access for, and participation by, under-represented groups in (a) grass-roots and (b) professional sports. (904638)

Sport England and UK Sport are committed to achieving equality in grass-roots and elite sport. They invest in a range of expert bodies to work with sport to remove barriers to participation among under-represented groups.

Does my hon. Friend agree that we might achieve even more success in international sporting competitions if our sporting authorities had deeper contacts among ethnic minorities, and were able to use their expertise in what we might consider to be minority sports, but what in their countries of origin are majority sports?

My hon. Friend has made an interesting point. UK Sport and national governing bodies capitalise on a wealth of diverse global expertise in order to get athletes on to the podium. Sport England also invests in organisations such as Sporting Equals to promote physical activity and diversity in all sport.

I know that I speak for a certain proportion of people in this country who were dreadful at sport at school and never improved thereafter. What will the Minister do to encourage people who have never had a positive experience of sport to take our necessary exercise by that means?

The hon. Lady has made a very interesting point. I would say that there is a sport out there for absolutely everyone. We need to listen to what people want, and give it to them.