Motion to Take Note
My Lords, I am grateful to the many Members from all sides of this House who have chosen to speak in this debate. We received many valuable briefings in advance; I place on record my thanks to Russell Taylor, who collated the excellent Lords Library Briefing, highlighting the significant social benefits of participation in sport, the strong evidence demonstrating positive associations between participation in arts and health, social capital and education, and the benefits that sport and the arts bring to the well-being of society. He quotes Arts Council England, which stated that,
“art and culture enhance every part of our lives”,
as well as delivering social, economic and educational benefits,
“from the future prospects of our children, to the vibrancy of our cities, to the contribution made to economic growth”.
Ryan McCullough produced an insightful paper focusing on local sports facilities and the serious levels of inactivity in children and young people, on which the Sport and Recreation Alliance is rightly campaigning, mirroring Charlotte Cuenot’s work with ukactive as it aims to get,
“more people, more active, more often”.
That must be a priority for the Department of Health as well as for DCMS. The fight against obesity will be achieved by focusing not solely on what we eat but, equally, on changing people’s perceptions regarding lifestyle, the importance of a healthy diet and access to sports facilities at affordable prices.
When, as Minister for Sport, I was visited by the then Irish Minister for Sport in the late 1980s I was asked what one measure I would introduce to help sport, recreation and the arts. My answer was simple: introduce a national lottery. Margaret Thatcher thought otherwise. It took John Major to respond to this request, and sport and the arts should be forever grateful to him. In her briefing to us, Catherine Nicholls from Camelot highlighted just how important the National Lottery has been to sport and the arts, and how its investment of over £20 billion has added to the well-being in society.
Many noble Lords might be among the millions who have seen the YouTube video by Simon Sinek, which, while generalising broadly, nevertheless hits a nerve when he reflects that in our generation we have failed to prepare young people during their childhood and education for the realities of the workplace. How often, he asks, have we complained that the millennials are tough to manage, unfocused, lazy and entitled, and constantly being told they are special and receiving medals from us for coming last? He goes on to say that many turn to Instagram and Facebook, which places filters on life around them: no need to tough it out, just count the likes on Facebook. He points out that for many young people the greatest trauma is being unfriended by a popular classmate. When finally reaching their destination in the world of work, too many are unprepared for getting nothing for coming last, and at that point entire visions can be shattered.
In our schools, one critical component that we can turn to for the young and for the improvement of the well-being of society is widespread access to sport, recreation and the arts. Competitive sport is a vital educational tool, capable of addressing many of these challenges. There, the lessons learned are of teamwork—learning the ability to handle losing both individually and as a team—and taking the time to develop skills through hours of training. There is no instant gratification in the world of competitive sport. It is through participating as a member of a team that we build self-confidence and discipline, and the environment in which we do so must be fun and inclusive. We are better educated from the experience of playing within the rules of sport and building trust through co-operation, and realising the joy of working hard on something which takes a lot longer than a month or a year to learn. We learn to recognise that making time for people and the little things are the building blocks of leadership. Sport can help this generation build confidence. Playing by the rules reinforces values, allowing us to reach a better work/life balance.
Our exposure to the arts has the same ability to broaden our minds and develop a whole range of skill sets. It is very important to look to the quality of arts education and to recognise that there is so much more that we should be doing to promote, increase and improve the standards of teaching. As Picasso said:
“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist while we grow up”.
However, the well-being of society is also about having a deep and clear understanding of what is right and wrong, and it must be based on the strongest ethical standards, because that is what all of us expect of those who compete or enjoy recreation. We ensure that the 100-metre runner has his or her fingernails microscopically behind the line as a demonstration of fairness and clean competition.
That is why, in my view, one of the most important sporting events of 2019 took place when my right honourable friend the Secretary of State Jeremy Wright hosted the International Partnership Against Corruption in Sport—IPACS—meetings in London earlier this month. More than 100 Ministers, international sports organisations and experts came to London to work on a global commitment to tackle corruption in sport. I declare an interest here as vice-chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Sport, Modern Slavery and Human Rights, under the able leadership of the noble Baroness, Lady Young of Hornsey.
In that capacity, I spoke last week at the Sporting Chance Forum, ably led by the Centre for Sport and Human Rights. Today I urge the Government to develop tools to prevent corruption around procurement at sports events. It should never be the case that workers on venues which have to be finished to meet the deadline of a FIFA World Cup have their passports withdrawn on arrival in the country, effectively being drawn into modern slavery. Corruption in all its guises is corrosive, but nowhere more so than in the world of sport.
Good governance, transparency and the avoidance of conflicts of interest are vital. We expect integrity, honest endeavour and fair competition from our athletes. They in turn should expect nothing less from sports administrators and the nations that host international events, along with the wealthy individuals who benefit from sharing the gold dust that clean competitors create by their skills.
There is an important role for government here through anti-corruption legislation and law enforcement. We will not put an end to match fixing, illegal gaming, bad governance, insider information, conflicts of interests and the use of clubs as shell companies unless Governments act in unity and place legislation on the statute book to tackle these pernicious characteristics which swarm around sporting events. We need laws to help root out the perpetrators of sexual abuse in sport and to support the survivors. We need to protect the rights of athletes and fans, and of journalists working in totalitarian countries whose Governments increasingly seek to host major spectator sports events to gain international credibility where they have no alternative to win recognition. We need to fight for the human right to non-discrimination and equality in sport, recognising Georgia Hall’s stunning victory in the Women’s British Open in golf as much as Francesco Molinari’s success on the international and national stages.
I have had a number of opportunities in your Lordships’ House to debate the greatest challenge to elite sport not only here but internationally: namely, doping. This first came to my attention when I had the privilege of coxing the British eight in the 1980 Olympic final, with one of the finest crews this country has produced in front of me. We were narrowly beaten by an East German eight. In latter years, members of the DDR Olympic team sought compensation from the post-unification German Government for the damage to their health from the drugs they had taken. Even that was not enough for the International Olympic Committee to strip them of their medals. The IOC at the time did not have the courage of its convictions to act in line with its charter, but it had a major influence on me and led me, when Minister for Sport, to seek agreement for the first Council of Europe sports ministerial initiative to tackle drugs in sport.
An athlete knowingly taking performance-enhancing drugs to cheat a clean athlete who has trained all his or her life, with the support of his or her family, out of selection, a career, a living and considerable wealth is committing fraud. The criminal sanctions should be no different from those for fraud. So far we have turned a blind eye to this, whereas Australia, Austria, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and Italy, to name just a few countries, have all enacted sports-specific legislation that criminalises the trafficking of performance-enhancing substances, with some going considerably further to protect clean athletes.
This is a matter for the law to protect and promote well-being in this society. My right honourable friend the Secretary of State is a lawyer. Given his interest in sports law, I urge him to follow the example of many countries and consider introducing a UK sports law. Over the past 40 years, sport has developed from recreational activity largely enjoyed by amateurs in the 1970s and 1980s to highly commercialised and lucrative worldwide competitions. The change has been caused by the explosion of media rights and sponsorship, particularly in the 1990s. When in 2005 we won the right to host the Olympic Games in London, I noted that sport contributed some €29 billion towards the European Union economy and provided jobs for approximately 4.5 million employees. The value of European football alone is today £21 billion.
The need to justify this spending is recognised in the Parliaments of European nation states and is becoming increasingly important here, not least because there is barely a department of state not involved in sport and recreation—from taking disadvantaged kids off the escalator to crime and away from their feelings of alienation in the classroom, at home or in school by conversing in the only language that many of them understand, which is sport; to the health benefits; to the soft power; and to the far-reaching educational benefits.
There is now pressure on government to match the political changes under way. The well-publicised failings of sporting organisations in the first 18 years of this century, such as the IOC scandals in Salt Lake City, corruption in FIFA and the IAAF, scandals in Formula 1 and the World Anti-Doping Agency’s ineffectiveness in discovering endemic state-controlled doping programmes in Russia—we have the Sunday Times to thank for that—and subsequent inability to address the scandal, should surely ring alarm bells in the corridors of the DCMS. These well-publicised failings of sporting organisations damage the integrity and fairness of sport which we expect from the players, and the onus should be on Governments to intervene and co-operate with sport rather than sit back.
It is time for the governing bodies of sport to adopt best international practice, not least in dealing with the prevention of harm from injuries, including concussions in contact sports. It is time for the Government to legislate further to promote the safety of cyclists. It is time to oblige sports agents to disclose their financial interests when entering into an agency contract with an athlete—and, more fundamentally, it is time to oblige the Government to produce two annual reports, one on sport and one on the arts, to be debated in both Houses, setting out national policies for both.
It is time to promote sport and physical activity to tackle obesity and enhance healthy lifestyles. It is time to legislate for clear measures to increase participation, not just for the able-bodied but, most importantly, for disabled athletes, where not only active leisure pursuits but access to facilities should be part of our legal structure. It is time to recognise the importance of cross-sector partnerships between independent and state schools, as well as local communities, and the dual use of school sports facilities to justify charitable status in the independent sector. All of these measures would add to the well-being of society.
The image of sport has been tarnished by various scandals in recent history, and its credibility and integrity need to be restored. A new framework for sport is long overdue. We need a sports law—and it would be the most popular Bill of its Session. I beg to move.
My Lords, I most warmly congratulate my noble friend on a magnificent speech on a subject that I am sure unites the House: the importance of sport for young people—able-bodied and disabled—and the part it plays in people’s lives in their sense of well-being, their health and their education. There is critical concern over disreputable behaviour, dishonesty, the lack of integrity, and drugs at an international level which cannot be ignored.
Thirty years ago, my noble friend and I were fellow Ministers at the Department of the Environment—my noble friend as Minister for Sport; I was a very junior Minister responsible for the green environment, heritage and local government, I believe. This was a troubled time for sport then—the time of the Hillsborough disaster, and getting all-seater stadia. I remember from my time in court that Mondays were always full of villains—the football hooligans who had been picked up over the weekend. A huge amount has changed, but even then my noble friend talked about the importance of dual-use facilities, and getting all maintained schools involved in sport.
I went to the Atlanta Games when British gold medals consisted of one only— Matthew Pinsent and Steve Redgrave won the single gold medal. I was delighted that it was for rowing, but it was a disappointing time. This was, of course, before John Major’s intervention, as has been said. He has said that:
“My original vision for the Lottery was to fund a renaissance in sport, the arts and our heritage. I saw the opportunity to fund projects the Treasury would never be able to afford”.
Frankly, a lot of my time later as a Culture Minister was spent stopping the Treasury getting its sticky fingers on that money and using it for its own purposes.
To think that at the last Olympic Games in 2016, we won more gold medals than China—a greater number than ever before. In the year I went to Atlanta, our comparators were Algeria, Ethiopia and North Korea, with our low level. Now we look forward to the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, where I hope sport will have the same opportunity to lift the spirits and provide a lasting social, economic and sporting benefit to the local community. I know that the West Midlands mayor, Andy Street, has declared his aim,
“to restore pride in the West Midlands”,
and Birmingham will surely rise to that challenge.
Let me turn to the arts, which is what I really want to focus on. There has been an extraordinary investment, with £5.6 billion going to arts organisations through 118,000 grants and £7.9 billion to heritage projects through 43,000 grants. Sir Ernest Hall, a great lover of the arts over the years, said:
“Through the Lottery we have an opportunity to do for our towns and cities what the enlightened patronage of the Papacy and the Medicis did for the cities of Italy. We can realise Blake’s dream of making England ‘an envied storehouse of intellectual riches’”,
and so say I. Our many magnificent institutions were tired; to reinvest in the British Museum, the Tate, the Albert Hall and institutions up and down the country has been absolutely phenomenal. I mention in passing that when the British Museum, which opened in 1759, was funded by a lottery, William Cobbett, a resident of Farnham, said:
“Why should tradesmen and farmers be called upon to pay for the support of a place which was intended only for the amusement of the curious and the rich, and not for the benefit or for the instruction of the poor? If the aristocracy wanted the Museum as a lounging place, let them pay for it”.—[Official Report, Commons, 25/3/1833; col. 1003.]
I am sorry that my noble friend Lord Cormack is not in his usual place to reflect upon these words.
At a regional level, the transformational effect of the National Lottery was realised in Hull City of Culture 2017. I hope the noble Lord, Lord Parekh, will say more about this. The City of Culture was entirely transformational: there was the “Made in Hull” light spectacle, Spencer Tunick’s “Sea of Hull”, the Freedom Festival with Kofi Annan, the Ferens Gallery and the Turner Prize award, with Lubaina Himid being the first black woman to win it. I applaud the work of the chairman, Rosie Millard, the brilliant chief executive, Martin Green, and the 2,400 volunteers. Council leader Steve Brady was determined we would win that accolade. We were all set to work: I was appointed Sheriff of Hull and I lobbied ruthlessly. The noble Lord, Lord Hall, was absolutely magnificent; we had the BBC programmes “Woman’s Hour” and “Today”, as well as Radio 1’s Big Weekend, in Hull. James Graham—the playwright who went to the University of Hull—Tom Courtenay and others all played a part. There was a great launch with the glitterati of the art world—Nick Serota, Peter Bazalgette, Tony Hall. In short, it had a really serious send-off.
The effect has been evaluated and it is so heart-lifting: there was an increase in investment, with 800 new jobs and £300 million contributed to the economy; 95% of residents participated at least once over the year; nine out of 10 cultural organisations were able to do more; 87% of people felt optimistic about the future; 75% of residents felt proud of living in Hull. I dislike people who are even remotely disparaging about Hull, but I know that in 2003 it was labelled the most “something” town in Britain—I do not feel able to say the word in this House. What a transformation: in 2016, Hull was identified as one of the top 10 cities to visit by the Rough Guide. We look forward to Coventry having the same opportunities in 2021. Only yesterday, I was with Margaret Casely-Hayford, the chancellor of Coventry University, talking about how transformational this opportunity can be.
John Major said:
“Man cannot live by GDP alone ... A country can only be strong, healthy and contented if it burnishes its heritage, encourages its citizens to pursue excellence in sport and cultivates widespread appreciation of the arts”.
I support my noble friend.
My Lords, I thank the noble Lord, Lord Moynihan, for enabling us to have this welcome debate. He spoke with deep knowledge and passion.
The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Arts, Health and Wellbeing, which I co-chair, published a report in 2017 entitled Creative Health. It was the product of a two-year inquiry involving more than 300 people working in health and social care and in arts and cultural organisations across the United Kingdom and abroad, with participation from some 40 parliamentarians. The noble Baroness, Lady Bull, in her capacity at King’s College London, ensured that her institution was a wonderful, fully committed partner to the APPG in this endeavour, and I very much look forward to her speech later in the debate.
The report contained three key messages: the arts can help us to stay well, recover faster and enjoy longer lives better lived; the arts can help health and social care meet major challenges—ageing, long-term conditions, loneliness, mental health; and the arts can help to save money for health and social care. The report contains an abundance of evidence in support of those three contentions. It examines the contribution of the arts to health and well-being across the life course, and in all parts of this country. There are impressive case studies from Newcastle, Hull—of which the noble Baroness, Lady Bottomley, just spoke—Calderdale and many other places.
Artlift is a charity delivering arts on prescription in Gloucestershire and Wiltshire. Health professionals refer patients, suffering perhaps from chronic pain, stroke, anxiety or depression, to an eight-week course of two-hour sessions led by a professional artist, working possibly in poetry, ceramics, drawing or other art forms. A cost-benefit analysis over three years showed that, after six months of working with an artist, participants asked for 37% fewer GP appointments and needed 27% fewer hospital admissions. One participant in Artlift, who had suffered a stroke, said:
“I had split up from my partner, found myself without anywhere to live and couldn’t see my children. I couldn’t work as I wasn’t physically able to do the job and wasn’t in a position mentally or financially to start a building business again after going bankrupt. Since going to Artlift I have had several exhibitions of my work around Gloucester. I find that painting in the style that I do, in a very expressionistic way, seems to help me emotionally. I no longer take any medication and, although I am not without problems, I find that as long as I can paint I can cope. It doesn’t mean that depression has gone but I no longer have to keep going back to my GP for more anti-depressants. I just lock myself away and paint until I feel slightly better. I now mentor some people who have been through Artlift themselves and they come and use my studio a couple of times a week to get together, paint, draw and chat and I can see the benefit to them over the time they have been doing it”.
Creative Families is a project helping mothers with postnatal depression, co-produced by the Southwark parental mental health team and the South London Gallery. The engagement of the creative imagination of those women, through a 10-week art and craft course, has led the mothers to experience a 77% reduction in anxiety and depression and an 86% reduction in stress. The emotional, social and cognitive development of their children has also been measurably improved.
Age UK, in a major study of more than 15,000 people, found that creative and cultural activity was the biggest single contributor to their well-being. The report contains a substantial section on dementia, showing how the arts and culture can support people with dementia and their carers.
A carer whose husband had been diagnosed with terminal cancer wrote to the director of Grampian Hospitals Art Trust, saying:
“To be given a terminal prognosis is devastating for both the patient and family. To take away your future, the opportunity to grow old and grey with your spouse and to watch your children grow and thrive. You lose your independence and your sense of self, your purpose and role in life. Yet in the midst of this suffering lies the Artroom. An oasis of positivity and fulfilment providing a different purpose. One of creativity and self-expression. It is a place where the self is rediscovered and allowed to flourish. A place where you feel valued and worth investing in. It’s medicine for the soul and every bit as vital as drugs and chemotherapy. A life-fulfilling experience that has changed both our lives for the better”.
There is growing recognition of the benefits that the arts and culture can bring to health and well-being. However, funding for such projects is marked by discontinuity, and provision is very uneven across the country.
The APPG is not calling for new legislation, organisational upheaval or even for more public expenditure. We seek a change of culture, which will be achieved by leadership across the complex systems of health and social care and the arts and culture. We are offering a challenge to habitual ways of thinking and an invitation to collaboration across conventional boundaries, leading to an informed and open-minded willingness to recognise the benefits of the arts. Progress is being made; increasingly, senior people within the NHS are recognising this opportunity, and I was pleased recently to be invited to speak to a conference of NHS Providers on this subject.
We are watching with great interest the radical experiments in Greater Manchester, as they involve the arts and culture in the development of their integrated health and social care strategy. We welcome the recent speech at the King’s Fund given by Matt Hancock, the new Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, and the emphasis he is giving to the national prevention strategy. However, as yet I have seen no evidence that the most senior people in NHS England are seriously addressing this agenda.
The APPG made 10 specific recommendations for change, and we are developing strategies to support the acceptance and implementation of each of them. Only one of our recommendations is made to the Government, namely that there should be a cross-governmental strategy to enlist the arts and culture for the benefit of health and well-being. We were encouraged by a positive response by the then Culture Minister, John Glen, in autumn 2017, but I wonder what the position is now. The Culture Select Committee in another place recently interviewed five junior ministers. I did not hear any very convincing responses from them about the development of this strategy, and I would be most grateful if the noble Viscount the Minister would write to me, and to the APPG, to explain in detail what the Government’s view is and how they intend to continue to respond to that recommendation—the second recommendation—in Creative Health.
My Lords, I congratulate the noble Lord, Lord Moynihan, on pursuing this subject, which he has done so well in recent years. I hope he will continue to do so. I have enjoyed working with him on the pursuit of partnerships between independent schools and state schools, pursuing the question that many state schools lack the facilities for good drama, sports and musical activities, and we therefore need to work very hard to find ways in which they can use them.
I am extremely lucky: I live in a village founded by a philanthropist who gave the village two cricket pitches, a football pitch, a crown bowls club, two sets of allotments and a tennis club. That gives us a huge bit of social glue that helps bring the community together. It is impossible for me to walk down the street in Saltaire without meeting someone we know; the number of people who work on the same allotments we work on means we just know that many people.
In the cricket club, I see the extent to which social integration is moving ahead in Yorkshire, after—to its shame—the desperate efforts of the Yorkshire County Cricket Club 30 or 40 years ago to resist having Asian players. Any decent cricket club in Yorkshire now needs to have some bright young Asian players, and both our clubs show that very well.
Well-being in society provided by sports, music, drama and other forms of artistic activity are good for the individual. I declare an interest, having been a trustee for nearly 15 years now—probably too long in charitable terms—of a musical education charity, for which the Institute of Education has done some research. There is clear and strong evidence that collective singing in harmony in primary and secondary schools improves concentration, discipline, confidence, a whole range of things that add pluses to those schools. The same is true of collective sport, of dancing—there is also a wonderful dancing club in Saltaire—drama and other forms of activities, including gardening.
I really want to talk about what this does for the local community and those on the edge of it, particularly the elderly, whose children often live some distance away. It brings them out of their houses and into the community. That is a huge plus.
There is also the social integration element of meeting people who you otherwise would not meet. I often reflect on the fact that one of the best networks in the Palace of Westminster is the Parliament Choir, in which I sing. I have a wonderful memory of being in the private office of a Conservative Minister—whom I will not name—who discovered with horror that I was a close friend of one of his strongly right-wing colleagues. I had to explain to him that, whatever he thought of this particular right-wing Conservative, he has an excellent voice, and he and I have enjoyed singing together for many years. From singing in the Parliament Choir, I of course got to know Commons clerks, Lords librarians, doorkeepers and other professionals. It is a way of making sure that we do not just sit and work in our own little compartments.
That is also true for local communities. We have seen many of the networks that held together local communities get weaker over the years. The churches and chapels in Yorkshire around which so many of the local activities happened—including Gilbert and Sullivan light opera and the other things that I remember they used to promote—have, sadly, weakened. Social mobility, with people moving around and in and out, means that you do not easily know all of your neighbours as well as you did. The likelihood that you went to school with them is now relatively low. There is a great deal of loneliness and loss of social cohesion. Collective activity helps to build communities and hold them together.
Of course, what I see in a relatively middle-class village, as Saltaire now is, is infinitely easier than three to four miles down the road once one gets into the working-class estates in Bradford, where people lack self-confidence and facilities are not there. Local Liberal Democrat councillors in north Bradford have been running a summer school for the last three summers for children between primary and secondary school because there are almost no public facilities or open spaces for them to play on when schools are closed. That is part of the problem we face in many of these communities. However, brass bands in Yorkshire are a community in which working-class children feel very comfortable and at home. They are something we need to put money into in schools to make sure they are maintained.
I have now discovered park runs. When my grandchildren come up to Saltaire for the weekend they go off on a Sunday morning and run around the park with a couple of hundred other people who they have not met before and then have buns with them at the end. That is a tremendous way of making sure you mix with other people, as of course are allotments and the new collective gardening movement. They are all extremely good for mental health, getting out in the air and engagement with others.
The important thing is that these subjects should start in schools and should not be peripheral. It is sad that we now find ourselves having to fund them as peripheral subjects. One primary school in Bradford, in Queensbury, has its own brass band. For the four weekends before Christmas, it was out on the streets of Queensbury playing to raise money for its musical activities. That might be the way it has to go at the moment, but we need to fund these things.
Schools in east Asia have now discovered that maths and English are not enough and that cultural efforts—music and drama—are important parts of education. We need to regain that sense as well.
My Lords, it is a privilege to follow the noble Lord, Lord Wallace, in his comments on the importance of cultivating social cohesion. He put me in mind of Clement Attlee, who was a youth worker in the East End of London. Although he was privileged and had been to public school, he gained an affection for and understanding of children living in poverty, which shaped his political efforts and the nation.
I thank the noble Lord, Lord Moynihan, for securing this important debate. Listening to him, I was reminded of an experience stroking a Lea Valley eight 20 years ago. They were young working-class boys; it was difficult job for me to stroke. I think of the progress since that time in making rowing far more accessible to all walks of life. It is a tremendous sport, which brings great health benefits and sense of team spirit.
I declare my interest in the register as a trustee of the Brent Centre for Young People, a mental health service for young people and adolescents in north London. We use sport through our Sport and Thought programme, developed by Dr Maxim de Sauma and Daniel Smyth, to improve the conduct of young people who lack control of their impulses and who can disrupt the education of their peers—the noble Lord, Lord Moynihan, referred to these issues.
Just this week, a Daily Telegraph front page highlighted the adverse impact on teacher retention of low-level disruption by pupils. Every day, we read of concerns about youth gangs and young people carrying knives. Sport is well suited to capturing young people tending towards anti-social behaviour and making that behaviour pro-social. Anna Freud highlighted that impulse control can be difficult in adolescents. She pointed to higher levels of aggression and identified how they move from devotion to their parents to devotion to their peer group. Working with a peer group, establishing norms of good behaviour to which newcomers wish to subscribe and appointing captains and leaders who can model good behaviour are all tools that sport can offer to the management of adolescent young people.
I recently observed the Brent Centre for Young People’s Sport and Thought programme at a secondary school in north London. The 14 boys were all of black and minority ethnic origin. Most of these young men had been facing exclusion from school. Some no longer came to school but still attended the Sport and Thought training. The football pitch was tarmacked with a high-fence surround; they wore their black uniforms and the right trainers. The clinician and the sports coach—so a therapist and a sports coach—spoke to them, laying out the rules of behaviour and what would happen if they were broken. They would be able to play football only if they behaved. They began with a jog—a few circuits of the pitch. Even that was stopped if they did not keep together. Then there were drills and finally a football match. All the time, the boys knew that they would not get their game of football if they failed to behave. The approach was strict but not punitive. The principal requirement was for them to discuss why they were grew angry with their coach or team mates. The purpose was to enable them to think of another way of behaving and to manage their resentments—so apparently simple, but so effective.
One of their teachers, a young woman, came to speak to me as I observed their game. She told me of the extraordinary change in the pupils’ behaviour. Young people who had disrupted classes and received regular detentions were now avoiding reprimand for weeks on end. It was clearly a great relief to her that this sports therapy had so improved her male pupils’ behaviour. Some of the young men had become excellent footballers and others models of good behaviour; some, both. A head of year said of one beneficiary whom she taught, “It’s a miracle what you have done with Aaron. Everyone has seen a massive change”. His head teacher said, “It’s been incredible, his behaviour and whole improvement at school”.
The Brent centre provided 79 sessions to 60 young people over the past year—62 at Brent schools and 17 at the Brent Youth Offending Service. I am very grateful for this opportunity to celebrate its work.
I note in the welcome and helpful Library briefing that volunteering to support sport has dropped significantly in the last reported period. Can the Minister confirm that this is the case? What factors have led to this? What steps are being taken to remedy this drop?
I want to highlight the importance for boys and young men of positive male role models. I must have visited about 10 young offender institutions in the past 20 years. Young men in custody have often had no positive role model to emulate. Sport is one way to cultivate such models and to provide them for the young. I hope that any sports strategy developed by the Minister will include an awareness of how sport can provide positive male role models and a means to cultivate and use them.
Finally, I want to speak of another hero in another discipline: I draw noble Lords’ attention to the death of district judge Nicholas Crichton on Sunday night. He introduced family drug and alcohol courts to this country. There are now nine FDACs helping mothers to overcome their substance misuse and prevent their children being taken into local authority care. I will go no further now; I am grateful for this opportunity and I look forward to the Minister’s response.
My Lords, I congratulate my noble friend Lord Moynihan very warmly on his speech. I cannot possibly match his experience, his authority or the span of his remarks; I shall concentrate just a few words on sport exclusively, but that does not mean that I ignore or undervalue the role of the arts in improving the well-being of society.
There is general recognition that on the whole, give or take one or two possible exceptions, biologically, physiologically and psychologically, participation in sport is, in the words of 1066 and All That, “a Good Thing”, benefiting not only the individual but, echoing the words of the noble Lord, Lord Wallace, the wider community also. So logically, we ought to want to get more of it. The question is how this can be achieved. My insights are based simply on what I have experienced in my life and what I have observed.
Of course, in theory young people should be persuaded at school that it is important to have some element of sport in their lives and the opportunity to engage. However, we know that too often this is not the case, for reasons that are very well rehearsed. I add to those reasons what I call the school bus issue: parents often have an added concern about when their offspring return home. If they stay on at school to participate in team sports and so on they can be very much later and there is a fear that they are at risk in making their own way home.
When I moved to Greater Manchester in the 1970s I became acquainted with Monton Sports Club in the borough of Eccles. I joined as a social member but became very aware of the activity in the three sports the club embraced: lacrosse, cricket and tennis. Through the endeavours of the people in that club—they raised money, they borrowed money, they organised events—it was able to extend. It bought two squash courts and the club turned a corner; it was peopled by the local community and went from generation to generation. Fathers and mothers were playing tennis, their offspring were playing cricket or lacrosse and they all played squash. The club never looked back and is today one of the great community sporting centres in that part of the world.
In Saffron Walden, where I became the Member of Parliament, my young sons had a preference for football and I went out with other parents to support them in the under-eights, the under-nines, the under-10s et cetera. I saw again the determination of volunteers to support their offspring and then to look at how they could get better facilities: previously, they changed in the mud and there was no opportunity to have a shower immediately afterwards. That is not good enough if we are to retain the engagement of young people in sport today. The club to which they were attached, the youth football club, also went on to develop a social side and it survives today.
Noble Lords may know that one of my passions is cricket—without, I may say, any ability to play the game competitively. Nevertheless, Saffron Walden cricket club has an outstanding record in engaging boys and girls. Its registration day every April attracts a very large number of people.
Team games such as cricket are important for creating interdependence, as the noble Earl, Lord Listowel, said. There have been examples of very difficult youngsters being engaged for the first time when someone has been prepared to take them on and has given them the opportunity of playing cricket, whether on the beach, in the street or wherever. Two-handed sports such as tennis or badminton are also important for the person who is shy and nervous about taking part in sport, because you can find someone of your own level and get very great pleasure out of playing at that level with someone else.
We all know that at the back of all this is the need for money. There have to be decent facilities, as I have said. Kit has to be provided. Resources do not need to come solely from the public purse. I add to the praise for John Major for initiating the National Lottery. I have seen the good it has done in my former constituency. Local firms can be engaged. They too have an understanding of what makes a good community. There have been many examples of generous donations to help particular clubs along, especially if it is the very young they are helping. There are sundry charities which can be tapped if there is determined leadership in the social sporting clubs.
We should concentrate on strengthening this network of clubs because they deliver sporting benefits and help bring the community together. I would describe them as the building blocks of an integrated society. That is what I believe sport can contribute to the well-being of the community and the country.
My Lords, I too am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Moynihan, for introducing the debate and for his magnificent speech, which covered so many areas which indicate how transformative sport can be—in ways that I think the arts can mirror.
This Christmas very large numbers will attend carol services in churches across the country. Church of England statistics for 2017 indicate that nearly 8 million people attended a Christmas service of some kind, drawn by a combination of music, architectural environment and the drama of liturgy—a topical example of the arts and social well-being in the bringing together of practising Christians and others who find that this celebration of Christmas breaches barriers and creates community and a deep sense of belonging and well-being. Of course, this experience is not only for those who are privileged but happens in our churches that serve the outer estates and areas of deprivation in our nation.
Our cathedrals, Anglican and Roman Catholic alike, invariably maintain professional or semi-professional choirs. In order to do so, many of them offer choristers a free education from eight to 13. It would be a mistake to think that all successful choristers started life with social advantages. I owe my education and vocation to gaining a choral scholarship at a time when my mother was a struggling single parent. Many former choristers who are professional musicians and leaders in sport, drama and other important parts of national life today could tell a similar story.
The experience of music and training in that area is not the only way in which abilities can be unlocked. I recently met a senior academic who had struggled at school at a time when dyslexia was not recognised. It seemed that her intellect was not going to be developed—until she discovered a fascination with and love of art. That led her to study Chinese because of the different way in which the language is presented, through characters. As a result, her gifts were unlocked and she became an internationally recognised scholar.
The significance of the arts is evident in a number of ways, for all of them, as with early musical training, have something immersive that releases these gifts. The experience of endlessly rehearsing and performing, while constantly developing skills, is a vital factor in the functioning of the arts and sports. When we in this country sponsor major events of national celebration, such as the Queen’s jubilee or a royal wedding, we rightly believe that we have at our disposal a kaleidoscope of performance skills that are world class. Those skills make great events because they are practised week in, week out. In this respect, music and the arts are so similar to sport and our remarkable achievements in the Olympics. International achievement is based on largely hidden but routine commitment. Let us not forget that this commitment so often depends on funding and on massive levels of encouragement, which are increasingly important in securing the social mobility that will enable gifted children to develop their gifts.
My second and final point is about the recuperative quality of the arts, which the noble Lord, Lord Howarth, also touched on powerfully. The remarkable arts charity Outside In was established in 2006 at Pallant House Gallery in Chichester. It supports artists facing significant barriers to the arts world due to health, disability, social circumstance or isolation. It has worked with over 5,000 artists—half that number are now on its website—and sponsors live exhibitions. Artist support days, one of its primary activities, are held throughout the United Kingdom in locations of low arts engagement and social deprivation. Its open art exhibition, started in 2006, is now an international event from which award winners have gone on to develop a career in art. One artist whose work was exhibited by Outside In said of that opportunity, “If my life hadn’t changed at the point it did, I would have been found dead”. The astonishing achievements of Outside In demonstrate the social value of investment in the use of gifts that enrich us materially, emotionally and spiritually. They are for life, not just for Christmas.
Our future political uncertainty is already causing significant reputational and economic damage to our arts and their place internationally. Our creative industries, sport and tourism also suffer. Can the Minister give any commitment or indication from government that will help make a difference to that damage?
My Lords, I am grateful to my noble friend Lord Moynihan for securing this debate. Like him, I thank everybody who has sent briefings—there have been a lot of them. I want to follow up on his worrying comments about the amount of corruption that there is in sport today.
Sport has been an important part of my life, as I suspect it has for others taking part. It began with netball at school, followed by hockey, tennis and, in later years, golf. We were encouraged to take part and do our best but, as others have said, always to remember that we were part of a team. That is so important. I am glad that Sport England is investing some £40 million in large-scale facilities and that its community asset fund provides grants of up to £150,000 to organisations and communities that want to take over the ownership of spaces in their local areas.
This weekend, we have had a feast of the year’s sporting successes. All are to be congratulated, especially the Tour de France winner Geraint Thomas on his cycling achievements and the English women’s netball team on their success in winning at the Commonwealth Games in April. Perhaps even more moving were the successes achieved at the Invictus Games, where individuals who had overcome life-changing disasters showed that can-do attitude and, in turn, have gone on to inspire others.
In preparing for this debate, my mind went back to the 2012 Paralympics here in London. It will be a turning point in the recognition of the contribution made by all competitors. The opening set, with athletes suspended high in the air, was followed by fiercely competitive events that will be long remembered. I believe that that summer hotels, transport companies and many others realised that they must improve access for people with disabilities. I think it went further than that. I think employers then began to realise that people who were disabled but had commitment should succeed in the workplace, which is to be greatly encouraged.
I now turn back to the start of sport for many. I am lucky to be president of Young Leicestershire, which, through its clubs, gives young people the opportunity to take part in recreational skills including football, boxing, snooker, badminton, abseiling, fishing and canoeing, to name but a few. The river canoeing test, run over some 100 miles, celebrates its 60th anniversary next year. These clubs have been proud to see Leicestershire youngsters go on to many successful careers. Indeed, we are very proud to claim Gary Lineker and Mark Selby, who started with our clubs for young people.
I turn my thoughts to the benefits of music. As someone who learned the piano as a child, going through the agony of learning scales and arpeggios, my early enthusiasm was nearly killed off. I wondered whether it was all worth while, but music and movement can benefit us all, whether young or young at heart. Music and its rhythms speak to us in a personal way. Whether it is traditional or modern, pop or Christmas carols, one cannot help be uplifted. UK Music’s 2018 report states that the industry contributed a record £4.5 billion to the economy. It is reported that music is helping people with Alzheimer’s gain mobility and get greater enjoyment out of life.
My noble friend spoke of recreation and its value to well-being. Each year, millions of people take breaks or longer stays in the countryside. They visit the seaside, the uplands, national parks, National Trust properties or the National Forest and those visits are long remembered. Whether good brisk walks or slower rambling, playing games or taking on a more challenging venture such as rock climbing, outdoor recreation has much to offer. For many, being a volunteer with a wildlife group, where work is undertaken to improve habitats, blends hard work with enjoyment. We live in a beautiful country which has so much to offer.
I now have some questions for the Minister. First, the BBC covers many sporting events but I am concerned that more seem to be taken over by other broadcasting companies. Do the Government have a view on that change? Secondly, will radio coverage continue to exist in future years? For people travelling long distances in cars, the radio becomes an important part of that journey, and there are still many people who would rather listen to the radio than watch television.
Today is a very important day. Those of us who care very much about sport and recreation will have enjoyed this debate enormously. I again thank my noble friend for having introduced it.
My Lords, I, too, begin by thanking the noble Lord, Lord Moynihan, for securing this debate on the contribution that the arts, recreation and sport make to the well-being of society. It raises two questions. First, what is the well-being of society? What are the constituents of well-being? Secondly, do the arts and sport contribute to it and, if so, how? I shall talk about these two questions in that order.
When we talk about the well-being of society, I think we are in danger of thinking of society as a kind of abstraction, hovering over us. At the end of the day, society consists of individuals and their relations with each other. The well-being of society really amounts to the well-being of individuals and their relations with each other. So the question to ask ourselves is: what kind of human beings would we like to encourage and what kind of relations between them would we like to cultivate? Many noble Lords have already spoken eloquently on the kind of society and the kind of individuals they would like to see.
On physical well-being, we want our fellow human beings and fellow members of our society to be able to live long and, more importantly, healthy lives. We want psychological well-being: we do not want them to feel lonely. Robert Putnam talked about bowling alone, where you are forced by the society in which you live to do major activities on your own without support from others. How do we secure a sense of community? There is a social component of well-being: a sense of reassurance that others care for me and that if I am in difficulty or subjected to any injustice, my fellow members will be prepared to stand up for me. There is also the moral component of well-being: a recognition that one is not an orphan, that there are others who care for one, that one is a valued member of society, with a sense of worth and self-esteem.
As we are now beginning to see, there is also the political component of well-being. Well-being is possible only in a society that is stable and secure, and that is meeting the challenges it comes across and conducting itself in a manner that one recognises and of which one is proud. Here, I should not be surprised if tomorrow, for example, poll results show that Brexit has resulted in a large number of illnesses in our society. With a political event such as Brexit, a lot of people feel utterly depressed at the way things are happening, wondering what is happening to our great country and as a result feeling lonely and worried about their future. That is not conducive to the well-being of society. Those are some components—there are many more. I am not giving a philosophy lecture but simply talking about the components of well-being.
I turn to my second question: how do sport and the arts contribute to well-being as I have defined it so far? Take sport. As several noble Lords have pointed out, it builds a sense of community and teaches us to be a team player, to be honest and to follow rules. In fact, often one first learns what it is to follow a rule when engaging in sport. It teaches us self-discipline. More importantly, it teaches us how to subordinate our ego to a larger cause, the team, how to be a team player and, beyond that, how to be loyal to sport—not just to this sport or that sport but to sport in general.
It is conducive to physical well-being. We all know that. Today’s newspapers talk about how 20 minutes of exercise can do far more than a pill to control your blood pressure. More importantly, it creates invisible benefits by providing a common space, a common subject of conversation. A lot of people will say, “Are you a Manchester United fan or a fan of another team?”. In the course of that, you build up a sense of a community of meaning, a community of aspirations, a community of contact. That vital role of sport should not be ignored.
As I can say from my experience, as one gets older, sport becomes very important. Once you have finished your life’s work, what do you do? You get up in the morning. If you have no interest in sport or the arts, you ask yourself: “How will I spend my day?”. I can say from experience that for people who take up golf or another activity, sport becomes a lifesaver.
Let us turn to the arts and how they contribute to well-being. Here again I want to talk not only about the physical or material advantages that the arts bring; I want to talk about the invisible spiritual and moral contribution of the arts. The arts expand our consciousness. They help us to understand the other, who otherwise remains opaque. They bring us together by interpreting one community to the other and building a sense of cohesion. Arts are also the guardian of society’s values. A man of literature or art helps us make sense of our experiences, so that one begins to make sense of one’s own world and finds meaning in one’s life. Take away the arts and a lot of us would not know what to do with ourselves: how to make sense of the chaos of human experience that constantly bombards us.
I therefore conclude that for these and other reasons, the arts and recreation—which I have not said much about, but not much needs to be said—contribute to our well-being. However, they contribute only if they are conducted in the right spirit. Here I alert your Lordships to one tendency that I have noticed in all countries, which is nationalism. When sport is no longer seen as sport but as war without weapons, and when the question is simply how to beat the other guy and how to make one’s country great, whether it is in the Olympics, soccer or whatever, sport fails to perform its function.
Noble Lords will know that the noble Lord, Lord Tebbit, once said that to test an Indian immigrant’s loyalty you should ask what team he supports in cricket: the Indian team or the English team. By saying that, he was politicising cricket. He was looking at one’s politics—which team one supports—as a badge of one’s patriotic identity, and that is a dangerous way to go. Likewise, art and culture can be seen in an extremely nationalistic way: art must promote patriotism and an individual’s loyalty to the state. That is not the way in which sport and art should be conducted.
I want to ask the Government lots of questions, but one simple question is: given the fact that the arts and sport are so important, what are the Government’s plans to encourage them in our schools? In many schools the budget has decreased and there is a sense of loss. I also want to commend Camelot, whose reception I went to the other day, which has given £39 billion to various activities, including £3 billion for arts and £3 billion for sport. I will end by saying how much I enjoyed the contribution of the noble Baroness, Lady Bottomley. If I had more time, I would have loved to reinforce her view of how culture and the arts can contribute to the well-being of a society and its members.
My Lords, there are many sides to this debate, and each of its components deserves a separate debate of its own, but to have all these together is a rare feast. I add my huge and warm thanks to my noble friend for introducing this particularly relevant topic, for this is a subject very far removed from the monotony and stress of Brexit, in which there is scant recreation.
First, on the physical side I will give just a few statistics, which nowadays appear to be a necessary part of every subject, and of which I am sometimes somewhat sceptical. Sport alone apparently adds over £20 billion to the economy and supports 400,000 full- time jobs. Over 36% of all adults play sport at least once a week—a remarkable figure. Society benefits significantly from this, as there are over 6,000 voluntary sports organisations, many providing invaluable assistance to deprived communities. It is further recognised that the economic benefit of sport to health and well-being is in excess of £12 billion per annum. The growing popularity of outdoor activity also means that now three in four adults in England regularly engage in outdoor recreational activity.
The arts—and culture—are also increasingly important, both to the economy and to society generally. Nicholas Serota recently praised the leading role played by the arts and culture in rejuvenating towns and cities across England. The economic value of the arts is in excess of £12 billion per annum, and the latest assessments are that this sector is growing five times faster than the UK economy as a whole.
To fully understand the origins of these activities it is possible to go way back into the history books. There is clear evidence from their artwork that the ancient Egyptians focused their lives on enjoying themselves and that, apart from excessive wine and some very doubtful partying, sports and games were highly popular. Roman history also tells a similar story, and of their skills in acting and storytelling.
On the more spiritual side of the debate, the beauty of art in whatever form lifts the spirit, transcends the soul, gives quiet joy and happiness and uplifts what for many can be a drab and dreary life.
Music can take us, as if on the wings of a dove, to faraway places where it holds us aloft. Literature can stir the imagination and relieve the continuous gloom of everyday media; it allows our eyes to linger on the works of great novelists and poets. Sport excites us, shows off the skills of great players and unites us in bonds of friendship and passion for our own individual chosen heroes and heroines.
Just imagine the emptiness of a world without sport, recreation or the arts. As the frailties of society become ever more apparent and disturbing, all three of these can have an immense beneficial impact on our health and mental well-being, enabling us to glory in the richness of the universe. Today my noble friend has struck a most noble chord.
I join in the congratulations to the noble Lord, and confess to him that I was a bit worried that this might be one of those debates in which we all just agree with each other. But there has been such an interesting variety of perspectives that although we may all agree, the debate has had variety and depth. I shall focus exclusively on the role of volunteers in delivering the whole spectrum of recreational activities, from internationally renowned organisations such as the Globe Theatre to small community groups such as the football club in my home town of Needham Market. Whether people are donating millions for a new gallery, putting loose change in a bucket or volunteering their time for something they believe in and enjoy, these are the people who make all this happen. I should declare my interest as a member of the NCVO advisory council, and as a trustee of Community Action Suffolk.
One of the consequences of the reliance on philanthropy and public grant is that many of the organisations we are discussing today are in the business of having to demonstrate exactly how they impact on the well-being of society. That is a difficult area to navigate. The scepticism of the noble Earl, Lord Arran, reminded me of the theory that birthdays are clearly beneficial because people who have more of them live longer. However, despite the scepticism there is now a huge amount of evidence about the link between volunteering, recreation and well-being. That has come across strongly in a whole range of the briefings we have had, so we have moved beyond the formula cited by the noble Lord, Lord Haselhurst—“It’s a good thing”.
I found some interesting research from the What Works Wellbeing centre, which was set up to provide high-quality analysis for government, civil society and business. It shows how involvement with volunteering promotes different feelings depending on the sector in which the volunteer is working and the age of the participant. For young people, involvement with volunteering is about promoting stronger social connections, while for older people it is more important in giving a sense of purpose and identity, particularly once the work situation has ended.
In a study of older adults, reduced mortality was seen in those who volunteered regularly. Crucially though, this really applied only to those who were motivated by external reasons. In other words, there is something in the act of serving others that has the power. When people were being forced into doing something the effects were less positive. If that is borne out, it has some interesting implications for public policy. It is interesting to reflect that the benefits of the recreational activities we have discussed are both created and amplified by the benefits of volunteering.
A project run by Inspiring Futures over three years, centred around 10 heritage attractions in Greater Manchester including the Imperial War Museum, had volunteers from three groups—18 to 25 year-olds, over-50s and veterans. Of the 231 participants, 75% reported improved well-being, 60% reported long-term improvements, and 30% gained employment. These are powerful statistics.
One of the things we know about young people is that they are often reluctant to seek help from medical sources when they are chronically stressed, anxious or depressed. Their sources of support tend to come from their peers or from trusted adults such as youth workers or sports coaches, many of whom are volunteers; that point was made powerfully by the noble Earl, Lord Listowel. The charity City Year UK told me about one of their full-time social action volunteers, Sarah Smith, who set up a girls-only sport club in the school where she was working. Her club empowers girls to explore sporting activities such as kickboxing.
One of the key things to emerge from these studies is that such approaches can only happen when proper partnerships are working between community sports, community organisations, health and local authorities and the voluntary sector. That is one of those things that is easy to say but quite difficult to do, particularly because local authorities on the whole are pulling back from the sort of brokerage activity that they traditionally used to be involved in. That is why local infrastructure bodies such as Community Action Suffolk are so important: they provide the brokerage, the glue, that begins to pull these things together. They need investment: funding for volunteer offices and other infrastructure bodies is in decline and, as with most charities, there is a problem that while quite a lot of grant money is available, often there is no core funding to run the thing or, particularly, to meet the various regulatory requirements such as safeguarding, which we all support. This is an important area that we need to address.
On diversity, the noble Lord, Lord Wallace, is absolutely right; we see strong recreational and volunteering benefits in wealthy, middle-class communities. The trick is to know how to extend those benefits. I was particularly impressed by some work that the National Trust has been doing at Raynham Hall in Havering. It has been bringing members of the local community into arts and community gardening projects, along with schools and so on; where we get these partnerships, we can begin to break down barriers.
This is something for the whole sector—at statutory, local and national level, in organisations, businesses and communities; everyone needs to work together. The well-being benefits that we hear of are not about individuals alone, but about the well-being of society as a whole.
My Lords, I congratulate the noble Lord, Lord Moynihan, on securing this important debate. Both he and I were involved for many years in different aspects of the 2012 London Olympics, he in the sport, me in ensuring that east London had a longer-term legacy from the Games.
I was involved in the London Games for 19 years. The noble Lord, Lord Rogers of Riverside, and I, along with Paul Brickell, Richard Sumray and the architect Mike Davies, wrote the first document setting out the legacy vision for east London and creating the rationale for what turned out to be a successful bid. Paul Brickell and I then wrote the structure for the Minister of State, Hazel Blears, which led to the establishment of the Olympic Park Legacy Company, where I chaired the regeneration committee for 10 years.
I mention these facts, which are often not grasped by the press and the wider world, because the reason we got involved in the Games as locals from day one, and encouraged this country to challenge the Paris bid, was precisely because we could see the catalytic opportunity the Games would present to east London with respect to regeneration and community building: using sport to stimulate an enterprise economy that would not only generate jobs and skills but create mixed integrated communities. It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to connect sport, recreation, housing and the arts with business development and entrepreneurial activity. The planets we could see had the possibility of aligning, thus creating the thrust you need to generate changes on a large scale. This 248-hectare development could catalyse change in some of the most challenging communities in this country, if only we could move beyond traditional government silos and join the dots.
One of the keys to our success of course was that those of us working on the ground knew that in the middle of this emerging opportunity lived one of the largest artistic and creative communities outside New York. The die was set, the conditions existed to lift the well-being of thousands of people in some of our poorest neighbourhoods. The challenge was to get the long-term cross-party support that would be necessary and to bend the clunky, siloed machinery of government to serve our purpose. I left the Legacy Corporation board last March with a legacy firmly rooted in east London. The plans we have been developing over the last 19 years for sports, the arts and culture at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park continue to slot into place.
Our plan, first articulated in 2006, to bring University College London, UAL, the London College of Fashion, Sadler’s Wells, the BBC, the V&A and the Smithsonian to the park is going well, although it is a hard grind as always getting the buildings actually built—there is nothing new there. Practical relationships are deepening between these institutions and local communities; that is the key and it is why a core group of us got involved in this project in the first place. Fish Island was designated last Friday as a creative enterprise zone by the Mayor of London, thus helping to generate a lively small-business cluster linked to universities, cultural institutions and the tech and creative businesses at Here East, the former Press Centre.
I will focus the remainder of my speech on the arts and on one of these east London artists in particular, because I think the clue to the “how” in the title of this debate is to be found in his work in east London stretching back over 30 years.
Frank Creber is like the Lowry of east London. I declare an interest as a friend and colleague. It was he who was commissioned by the noble Lord, Lord Coe, and LOCOG to make paintings that captured the regeneration and legacy of the Games. It was Frank who I worked with in 2014, when at ExCel London, down on the Royal Docks, he unassumingly brought together the “Walking on Water” exhibition in partnership with Grand Designs Live. A one-mile long art exhibition captured the interplay between east London’s vibrant communities and the regeneration which is now defining them, with large art works mostly in oil, capturing the public spaces in east London where education, housing, recreation, theatre, business and enterprise and the arts play together in a global dance.
Over 110,000 people visited Frank’s 200-piece exhibition, which brilliantly captured the changing life and times of east London. Large oil paintings captured both the scale and physicality of the regeneration taking place in the Lower Lea Valley. But more importantly, Frank captured the lives of local people who live in these communities, dissected by the many islands of land that litter the six and a half miles of waterways that define the Lower Lea Valley.
Places are created and defined by how well or not the physical changes they undergo connect and engage with the people whose lives they disrupt. Look at some of the megacities the Chinese are creating, displacing en masse millions of people along with their history and identity. Let us ask ourselves how engaged their people are in the regeneration of their societies. Where are their artists?
Frank Creber’s pictures, which you can see on the web, rather brilliantly capture the engagement in east London and the creative interchange between people and place. He knows that health and well-being are not to be found in government silos but in the interplay between them. His pictures capture the thought that you can only embrace change if you are a participant in it, not just an onlooker. He captures the human spirit’s natural tendency to be curious. His work does not think in boxes; it is organic. Frank works with local young people on their projects; his pictures capture this interplay. Many of the young people Frank works with in east London come from chaotic backgrounds. His artwork positively embraces this complexity and sees it as a positive opportunity to be harnessed, much as I suspect John Lennon did in his life: the adversity made the man.
The arts are a window into our souls and into our communities. Frank Creber is an excellent example of what this debate is all about.
My Lords, prior to my current role at King’s College London, referred to earlier by the noble Lord, Lord Howarth, I had the privilege of working in the arts for 30 years. They were 30 years in which I experienced at first hand, in schools, hospitals and local communities, the ways in which art inspires and empowers individuals to imagine a world beyond their own—to dream, then to aspire and then to achieve. Encounters with prisoners on parole, young people at risk and patients in hospitals convinced me of the multiple benefits that flow from engagement with art—to people, to communities and on to society.
Over the years, I gathered many powerful anecdotes about individuals inspired and lives transformed through art, but, as I never tire of saying, the plural of “anecdote” is not “evidence”. So when I had the chance to take up a role within a university, where I might connect what I had done for so many years with robust evidence about its value, the opportunity was too good to turn down. Therefore, I too am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Moynihan, for what I see as an early Christmas gift— the opportunity to talk on one of the subjects about which I am most passionate.
Over recent years, two authoritative reviews have provided the most comprehensive overview to date of the value of arts and culture to society. The 2015 Warwick commission and the 2016 Arts and Humanities Research Council’s Cultural Value project both expound the array of benefits that art generates—economic, educational, and for health and well-being, as well as social.
As time is limited, I will note only in passing the underpinning economic contribution of the cultural sector and the jobs it provides. I will talk about how arts participation supports improved educational outcomes through enhancing cognitive abilities, confidence, and problem-solving and communication skills. Nor will I expand on art’s contribution to health and well-being—a subject so ably covered already in this debate by the noble Lord, Lord Howarth. Instead, I will concentrate on those issues that might be grouped under the heading “social”: community cohesion, civic engagement and crime reduction.
Across the world and across history, there are many examples of art building bridges and fostering dialogue across fractured communities. In 1947, the Edinburgh International Festival was founded by Rudolf Bing, an Austrian who had fled the rise of Nazi Germany and come to the UK to run Glyndebourne opera house. Bing conceived the Edinburgh Festival as a way to unite divided nations through art. Four decades later, on the site of the Berlin Wall, Leonard Bernstein conducted musicians from both east and west in a performance of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, its final movement memorably reimagined as an ode not to joy but to freedom. More recently, the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra was formed to include both Arab and Israeli musicians, working together as equal artists across political and ideological divides.
So what are the properties of art that it can play such a powerful role in reconciliation and community cohesion? I believe that art offers a safe environment in which to explore differing views—a way to see the world through other people’s eyes. These are not just fine sentiments; a growing body of evidence shows that participation in art helps diverse groups to form friendships and understand each other across cultural divides. It helps us become more tolerant, more empathetic and more altruistic, better able to coexist in a diverse world. I cannot think of a moment in my lifetime when this has been more important.
There is also a proven correlation between arts engagement and civic behaviours. Students from low-income families who engage in arts at school are twice as likely to volunteer and 20% more likely to vote. A range of studies show that arts participation helps young people build the confidence for political engagement, which is fundamental to the processes of democracy.
I do not pretend that the arts are a panacea for all of society’s ills, and I am well aware that similar claims to these about the benefits of sport have already been made in this debate by other noble Lords, but I believe that there is something unique about art, and that distinction derives from the personal experience of it. As the AHRC’s 2016 report made clear, some of the most important contributions made by art to society are embedded in the individual experience—in art’s ability to make us more self-reflective and better able to understand ourselves and therefore to understand others.
Perhaps nowhere is that more powerfully demonstrated than in the still-too-rare examples of art in prisons. The 2013 Re-Imagining Futures report explored arts interventions in the processes of desistance. It found that arts engagement helped prisoners redefine themselves. It increased their ability to work with others, which correlated with increased self-control, and through art they were able to imagine and then to explore alternative ways of living their lives.
In reviewing the evidence, it is hard not to be struck by how often research shows arts participation to be of disproportionate benefit to the well-being of people from disadvantaged backgrounds and to those living in disadvantageous circumstances. Yet we know from the Warwick commission that children born into low-income families are the least likely to engage with the arts and culture, either through education or at home. We also know that in state schools hours of arts teaching and the number of arts teachers are falling, while fee-paying schools continue to sell themselves to parents on the basis of their outstanding arts provision and facilities.
Does the Minister agree that we need urgently to find ways to address this conundrum—that those people who would derive most benefit from engagement with the arts are often the least likely to be given the means through which to access it? In the end, the well-being of society, whether through art, sport or recreation, depends on the well-being of individuals—individuals across all parts of society, and particularly those most in need.
I am very grateful to, and thank, my noble friend Lord Moynihan for introducing this very important debate on sport, recreation and the arts and their value to society.
As a teenager, I played a lot of tennis, and even had the honour of once representing Wales as a junior. Although I did not go on to pursue a professional career, I know that participating in sport, at whatever level, can bring great benefits to communities and individuals. Sport can often touch and inspire young people who struggle in other areas of their lives.
We are all familiar with the image of the typical teenager these days—glued to a smartphone or stuck in their bedroom playing computer games hour after hour. There is no shortage of evidence that young people do not take enough exercise, as mentioned today. According to Sport England, 80% of girls and 70% of boys do not meet the Chief Medical Officer’s national recommended level of activity. The challenge is particularly great for disadvantaged young people, who do not always have access to good facilities or the opportunity to participate in sport.
Until recently, I chaired the national sports charity StreetGames—an interest that I need to declare—and I am now privileged to be its patron. There are 1,000 organisations in the StreetGames network, each providing activities on most days of the week. They are all the lifeblood of their neighbourhoods, providing about half a million young people with activities each year. Exercise is not the only benefit. The StreetGames Fit and Fed campaign delivers many hours of physical activity nationwide to disadvantaged young people each day of the school holidays and it provides a meal, facilitating an opportunity to combat the inactivity, isolation and loneliness that affect many children during their holidays. These projects were evaluated by Northumbria University, which highlighted that they provided more than just sports and food; they also offered the opportunity to learn new skills from the course leaders, from each other and from partner organisations.
I would also like to touch on the use of sport to reduce the risk of young people getting into trouble and to support those who need a positive pathway to stop reoffending. Children and young people get into trouble for all sorts of reasons. The value of sport in tackling youth crime and anti-social behaviour is well known. It is not just that the physical activity takes them off the street; mentors and supportive volunteers provide a friendly ear and the discipline and guidance that these young people do not get anywhere else. Self-confidence grows from breaking away from the crowd.
As a youth magistrate and a board member of the Youth Justice Board, I saw how sport can transform young lives. As a magistrate, I often wished that there were more options to send children to relevant and safe community sports clubs and programmes that would really help them and help to deal with the issues they faced with their offending. Finding that club, organisation or activity to which they could relate made a huge difference, and there are some great initiatives and organisations providing excellent opportunities.
One example is Wirral Positive Futures, which engages young people who have offended or are at risk of offending or at risk of substance misuse. One teenage boy referred to this organisation had been excluded from school in year 10 with no academic qualifications. This negatively affected his confidence, self-esteem and behaviour. The Wirral anti-social behaviour team helped him get involved in sporting activities and in volunteering for several sports development programmes, including the National Citizen Service. He went on to gain a City & Guilds level 1 qualification. But more than the paper qualification, he described how he now felt he had a focus on what he really wanted to do with his life and on who he wanted to be, with a better path ahead. Without sport providing these opportunities, the future for this young man looked very different indeed.
Such opportunities should be available across the country, through the creation of a locally led national referral pathway to be used by youth offending teams and other agencies to help reduce crime and reoffending by directing young offenders into sport and physical activity. I ask my noble friend the Minister to explore the potential to integrate sport into the core crime reduction and protection policies across government. The aim would be to develop an early pathway to connect the youth justice sector with community sport to reduce crime and anti-social behaviour. A huge leap in the right direction would be to get key agencies and organisations such as the Home Office, the MoJ, the Youth Justice Board, the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners, DCMS and Sport England around a table. The potential benefits are clear to see, for the young people and for wider society: fitter, healthier and more focused teenagers, as well as safer communities with fewer victims of crime.
Finally, we need to recognise the importance of thousands of dedicated volunteers up and down the country who help deliver community sport in whatever local facilities can be found. Volunteers give their time freely and selflessly. They make a huge difference to others, and we owe them a huge debt of gratitude. Sport can and does play a massive role in society, improving physical and mental well-being, bringing communities together, increasing social interaction, creating positive change and, in some cases, turning lives around. This all makes our society healthier, safer and happier.
My Lords, when you find yourself speaking at the end of a debate, it is a real occasion. Everybody has said all there is to be said, but I have not said it personally. So I now find myself running down the list of who I agreed with, although it is a rather boring way of speaking.
I have to start with the noble Lord, Lord Moynihan. When he starts talking about sport, I find myself agreeing with about 95% of what he says. That is better than most colleagues on my own Benches—quite a lot better, to be perfectly honest.
Much of the tone of this debate is recognising that all this is, as the noble Lord, Lord Haselhurst, said, “a Good Thing”—something that adds to life and makes it slightly better. It is positive and active; it makes you interact with people. The most unexpected bit of briefing I got was from the Royal College of Psychiatrists, which said that visiting a museum or gallery makes you something like 48%—I do not know how it came up with 48%—less likely to be depressed, if you are over 50. I should pop into one on the way home. Something there goes in.
All forms of sporting activity and the arts, certainly at an amateur level, have far more in common than any of the groups involved likes to admit. You have to get together as a group, organise and get people there on time; you need a secretary and a treasurer; you have to deal with a little bit of internal politics; you build links, and often it is an employment exchange; there is social interaction—it is all there. All these things come together for a common purpose, so I think it is very good that we bring them together.
The one thing these all have backing them, the one almost universally praised bit of legislation on this, is the National Lottery. It is coming up for a quarter of a century old. Whatever else happened in Sir John Major’s life, that was “a Good Thing” that I do not think anybody will argue with. One or two people still say that the Government should have funded these as core activities, but they never did. They never gave that solid base for all these activities. Without the National Lottery, we would not have had the Olympics or the incredibly positive experience of the Paralympics, which have changed entire attitudes towards disability. The numerous speeches I made on the subject in here were swept away by that opening ceremony. The lottery gave us the base to prepare properly for it.
I had a briefing from Camelot, which is very concerned about the Postcode Lottery and had been very concerned about the Health Lottery. It does not want anybody to bite into their thing, and it is smaller now. If anything is going to damage the National Lottery and that central pool of funding, we have to look at it very carefully. If we destroy this great pool of funding, it will come not with one blow but with many. I ask the Government to monitor the situation. How about even suggesting that anybody who wants to run these synthetic lotteries, as they are rather rudely called, and gets to a certain level takes on some of these responsibilities? That might be a nice idea. “If you are going to raise billions of pounds, you take on some of this work”. I think we might have a change and a different relationship with what is going on. This building block for our society, which has been very necessary, could be damaged, so I hope the Government monitor this and make sure that they keep an eye on it in future. If it goes, we are back to square one, where sport has to scrabble around for support and cannot build long-term projects or get good funding for a development programme.
We relied on the lucky and the brilliant to get medals in the past—a policy that will always give you some success, but never consistent success. The same will be true of the arts. When the right reverend Prelate spoke about it being a lifetime of commitment, he reminded me of Jack Nicklaus. I think it was he who, when asked why he got lucky, said:
“The more I practise, the luckier I get”.
You have to work at these things to find excellence.
I ask the Government to look at how they make sure these wonderful amateur structures are supported and helped. Local government has given help in the past and is under pressure at the moment. Local government is one of the key elements here that has not been mentioned much—although local structures have, and I thank my noble friend Lady Scott for mentioning volunteering, which runs through everything we are talking about here. How can local government be seen, supported and helped? The National Lottery can do lots of things, but it cannot do all of it. It can help, but it cannot do everything. If you put up a pavilion on local authority land that is not maintained, you will not get the best out of it. You may well not be able to use it at all.
We have a situation where there is much that is good. We are enabling ourselves to do very good things. We have a structure, based on volunteering, that is not doing it all but is helping. How do we get more people involved? It comes down to education. The pressure provided by the baccalaureate and the pressure on academic attainment seem to be squeezing out the introductory process at an early age. We all have wonderful stories about finding people and bringing them in from the outside. The noble Earl, Lord Listowel, spoke about sports projects. I am involved in the Atlas Foundation, which takes rugby union’s All Schools project out and gets people involved in education. This is wonderful, but it is repairing damage. We should not have to do that as much. We should use the education system to get people their first taste and make sure it goes through. As we look to the future, I hope we concentrate more on making sure that these things in the education system are valued and actively supported.
Once again, I agree with the noble Lord, Lord Moynihan. We should make sure that those schools that have an abundance, often in the private sector, support the state sector. Ultimately, you are helping yourselves. If you are on a football team, you need someone to play against. You need to expand your base. Recreational sport needs this. Sport itself is reacting. Older groups in society are often learning lessons from the younger ones—if you cannot run around for 80 or 90 minutes and take all the knocks and bumps that you used to when in your prime, there are ways of carrying on doing something in later life. I plead guilty to golden oldies rugby, which I describe as a methadone project for those who were heavily addicted in their youth. The same is true of walking football, et cetera—making sure that people carry on.
We learned these lessons from having introductory games and versions of these sports when younger. I think rugby union developed mini-rugby when it became apparent that, in an under-nines game at 15-a-side, all that the winger was tested for was how he endured hypothermia. We have to make sure this goes through. Unless we support and give introductions, and have places in local clubs which are doing most of the work for us, which can take this on, we will not get it through.
The same is true of the arts. I am told that, in many a dance studio which is badly maintained, the question of hypothermia becomes relevant again. But they all need the same thing. They need to be introduced early and supported.
I hope that the Minister will be able to give an assurance that the Government are taking this seriously, will make sure that the structures that we have within the public sector are strong and will be protected, and that we support and help those who are doing most of the work for us, basically because they enjoy it.
My Lords, this is indeed an early gift for Christmas—a debate whose title, when I first looked at it, reminded me of a rather shapeless pyjama suit that I sometimes wear that allows me, within its unfolding scope, to go this way or that. I leave the rest to your Lordships’ imagination.
Like the noble Lord, Lord Addington, I certainly do not want to repeat what has already been said. It has been an impressive debate, with a wide variety of points of view and perspectives, and a lot of expertise. I am very grateful to have listened to the speeches.
If I do not want to repeat what has been said, I certainly do not want to repeat what I myself have said. It was Harold Wilson who could quote himself brilliantly for many years after he had spoken on anything. However, I am aware that in the few short months I have been standing in this position, I myself have spoken in debates—this is by no means an exhaustive list—on the future of museums, the importance of the arts, post-Brexit realities for the creative industries and the 250th anniversary of the Royal Academy of Arts. That is under the arts bit of the Motion.
On sport, we have debated the balance between giving money to elitist and medal-winning sports, and getting children and others out on to sports fields by injecting funds at the lowest possible level. And we had a recent debate on image and performance-enhancing drugs, and looked at sport from the point of view of the threat posed to it by these habits.
Under well-being, last Friday the most reverend Primate the Archbishop of Canterbury introduced a debate on reconciliation as an aspect of British foreign policy and, not long before that, we had a debate to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Armistice, when we had occasion to speak about peace. There have been many debates in your Lordships’ House in recent times about mental health, particularly as it applies to children and young people, and loneliness and self-image have figured largely in how those debates have proceeded.
With all that in mind, and not wanting to go over that ground again, though profiting from what others have said, I have tried to find a different way from this point forward: how to triangulate those areas of experience and endeavour. I came up with a saying by the French philosopher Michel Foucault, who described more than once something he called a “limit-experience”. For him, a limit-experience was what behoves a human being to test themselves to the limit to discover who they are. Settling for a bourgeois, unchallenged kind of repetitive and routine life is the very pits in terms of defining what it means to be properly and fully human. So we test ourselves to the limit. I believe that these areas of endeavour that we have been talking about give extraordinary opportunities for people to test and push themselves to the limit.
I shall use the art technique known as pointillism and just give little bullet points. On art, for example, I was standing in the Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg in front of the recently restored Rembrandt painting of “The Return of the Prodigal”. I had seen excellent reproductions, but nothing prepared me for the reality. I stood in front of this picture, which was larger than I had thought, for a start, and it simply demanded of me that I situate myself in the dynamic that the artist had put before us on a flat canvas. Was I with the father welcoming the child home? Was I the child longing to be welcomed home? Was I with the older brother in a bit of a stupor and not being very friendly? There was all the darkness as well as the light, and Rembrandt was a master of the light.
Then we have Picasso and his extraordinary “Guernica” in Madrid. What a commentary on the rise of totalitarianism in the 1930s that was. What searing images of cruelty and suffering, and the twisting of all it means to be human is present in that canvas. I have to say that I will be spending Christmas in Paris, and I will certainly visit the restored Picasso museum—which I dislike enormously; its predecessor was much more ordinary and more wonderful. Picasso’s “Guernica” is what constantly comes to mind when I want to think about the rise in our day of totalitarianism.
Then there is the Tate Modern, where I stood in front of those extraordinary canvases by Mark Rothko. I did not understand how to approach them. They are not my kind of thing, although I am wearing a Mark Rothko tie in honour of the debate. A dear friend of mine, Katherine Baxter, who knows about these things, assured me how to be in front of the “dark luminosity”—there is a phrase—that comes from that canvas, both half threatening but beguilingly drawing you into something that is far deeper than you have ever known before.
I lived for 10 years in Haiti and worked in co-operatives with the primitive artists there whose art in the 1950s and 1960s was very much in vogue. People had suffered so badly, yet through art they were able to envisage realities and cope with externalising interior dynamics that they found almost intolerable. If you can get alongside such people and enter their minds and their spiritual being, something happens to you as well. Art can push people to the limits. It is that aspect of art that I want to lay before your Lordships today. A work of art, said Picasso, must make a person react. It must agitate him and shake him up.
Turning to sport, I played rugby for my university at a time when Wales beat everybody. I played rugby against Barry John—people of a certain age will know that that ought to get me into heaven more quickly than others. Rugby is a terrifically physical game; you put your life on the line every time you rub the wintergreen into your legs before taking to the field, and run faster than the other guy not because you are more skilful but because you are terrified of being tackled by him. The noble Lord, Lord Parekh, says that sport teaches people to follow the rules; not in rugby, especially in the scrum. The things that happen in the front row of the scrum are in defiance of the rules—it is indeed a law book unto itself, never written down. But people are certainly living at the edge of their abilities there.
I got my colours for both rugby and cricket at university. In Wales, we have soft wickets; fast bowlers do not do terribly well. They swing the ball, but they cannot do much off the pitch. However, on tour in Hampshire, where they have hard wickets, the ball comes at you like a rocket—an Exocet. You pretend to be brave as you put your foot forward into the line of the ball and play the perfect stroke, only to realise that it was a nanosecond or two too late. Cricket is an intimidating game, too.
My noble friend Lord Parekh talked about nationalism, which he is rather worried about. My wife—bless her heart—is worried about it too: she is English, and so when England play Wales, it is not possible for us to coexist in the same house. Ancient wars are being refought when those games take place. I find shouting for the Welsh team when I watch a Wales-England game on television is a good substitute for going out and knocking the first Englishman I see on the nose.
I cannot go to the Millennium Stadium, or whatever it is called now—I have never been—because I cannot bear the commercialisation and commodification of sport. It was such a fantastic game to be part of—an activity and a way of life. But I cannot bear the flames that go up, or the triumphalist announcements made when someone scores.
Art and sport can push us to the limit; what about well-being? What pushes me towards well-being, or the feeling that my well-being is asserted or affirmed by experiences that push me out of my comfort zone? It is poetry. I gave my library of 5,000 or 6,000 books to a seminary in Fiji, but I took all my poetry into retirement. I live with the earth-shaking thoughts of George Herbert, John Donne and R S Thomas. The love of solitude is also something that threatens me; I am naturally gregarious. It is sometimes a little threatening to be on your own, and yet I think I absolutely need to do that sometimes in order to discover the deep streams running through me and the deep thoughts struggling to find expression.
All of this tells me we must not just approach questions of sport, the arts and well-being quantitatively. We must not simply commodify them. We must somehow always understand the importance and essence of these activities and endeavours. How can anybody be against any of them? Surely the case that needs to be made is that their availability should be maximised, and we should do whatever it takes to bring people the possibility of enjoying these activities. That is true more than ever in these Brexit-dominated times. Rather than percentages, statistics or millions of pounds, we should focus on understanding and supporting these essential activities and empathising and associating with them.
This is my conclusion, you will be glad to know. I wrote a poem, which is my Christmas present to your Lordships. I grew up the son of a single mother, living in utter poverty in one room in a brickyard in Burry Port, South Wales. I was gloriously happy as a child. Here is my gift, which will remind you of “The Hippopotamus Song”:
“Sport, sport, glorious sport,
Nothing quite like it in my Burry Port.
There’s art for the seeing,
And tons of well-being,
A town to have glee in
Is my Burry Port”.
Well, my Lords, it will be difficult to follow that. I would like to start by thanking my noble friend Lord Moynihan for securing today’s debate on this hugely important and rather wide-ranging subject, and for his excellent speech. We have heard so much about the benefits of sport and the arts that I almost feel I should give my remarks with a Dispatch Box that rises up and down to ease the back, or jogging on the spot, or speaking in iambic pentameter. But I will spare noble Lords that; in fact, given his poetry, the noble Lord, Lord Griffiths, is certainly better qualified for this form of exercise.
The interest in today’s debate has illustrated the incredible power that sport and the arts have in inspiring people to get out into their communities and connect with others, and the enjoyment and benefits this can bring. I will speak about the arts, but let me focus first on the benefits of sport and physical activity, which we all know can be good for us in many ways, both mentally and physically. As the noble Lord, Lord Parekh, said, it can strengthen communities, but I will add that it can strengthen the economy, too.
Looking at the physiological facts—here I have my own verbal exercise—moderate-intensity activity stimulates the body’s cardiorespiratory, musculoskeletal and metabolic systems and, achieved over time, causes them to adapt and become more efficient. As my noble friend Lord Haselhurst said, that is clearly a good thing. Muscle-strengthening activities help maintain functional ability, stimulate bone formation and help reduce bone loss. They also help with glucose metabolism and reducing blood pressure. Indeed, there are reports in the press today about research by the London School of Economics and Political Science which suggests that exercise is as good as medicine for lowering blood pressure, as the noble Lord, Lord Parekh, pointed out.
When you exercise, your body releases chemicals called endorphins, which reduce your perception of pain and trigger a positive feeling. All this adds up to a reduction in risk of approximately 30% for all-cause mortality when comparing the most with the least physically active, according to the UK’s Chief Medical Officers, who produce guidance about recommended physical activity levels. Being active has been shown to treat, manage and prevent a range of physical and mental health conditions, including heart disease, cancers, diabetes, stress, depression and anxiety.
Talking of diabetes, we know that there is a pressing need to look at the rise of type 2 diabetes. Only this week, the Times reported that two dozen people a day are having feet and toes amputated because of diabetes. Foot amputations are up by a quarter since 2010. Another pressing matter for society and this Government is poor mental health. Again, we know that the risk of depression is approximately 20% to 30% lower for adults who participate in daily physical exercise.
It is not just health; physical activity can be a tool for social good, too. For example, as my noble friend Lady Sater said in her remarks, in prisons it can have benefits for the physical, mental and social well-being of prisoners and it can reduce recidivism. As she said, it can also provide a meaningful alternative to those at risk of committing crime, and I can assure her that we are working with the relevant departments and agencies on these very topics.
All of this is at the heart of what we are trying to achieve through the Government’s sport and physical activity strategy, Sporting Future. In the strategy, we set out five key outcomes that we are striving towards: physical well-being; mental well-being; individual development; social and community development; and economic development. We want to use sport and physical activity to create a healthier, happier and more productive nation. Helping people to be more active in whatever way suits them is a crucial part of this. For some people that may be sport; for others it means fitting physical activity into their busy daily life. I am reminded that when my late father, George Younger, was interviewed about how he got exercise during his long and busy political career, he said, “Oh yes, very important, I tend to run up the stairs”. He would learn much from this debate; things have moved on.
We particularly want to reach people who have not traditionally got involved, or who think that being active is not for them. Sport England has committed to spending at least a quarter of its budget on tackling inactivity. For example, it is investing up to £100 million in 12 local delivery pilots across the country to solve inactivity challenges in specific locations and scale up what works in other areas. Such areas include Doncaster, South Tees, Hackney and Greater Manchester.
Investment is also going into mental health projects such as Mind’s Get Set to Go project, supported by Sport England and the National Lottery. Since 2015, this project has helped more than 3,500 people with mental health problems take part in specially designed physical activity projects. The evaluation has shown the important role that physical activity can play in building resilience and supporting mental health recovery. As was recently revealed by the new Active Lives Children and Young People survey, it is encouraging to see that some 3 million children lead active lives, doing an average of 60 minutes or more of physical activity a day.
But let me be clear: there is another side to this story. Some 2.3 million children and young people— that is almost a third—are doing less than 30 minutes of physical activity a day. This is unacceptable. We must do more, and the Government must do more, to encourage young people to live healthy, active lives. To answer a question raised by my noble friend Lady Sater, this is something we will tackle through the new cross-departmental school sport and activity action plan, with DCMS, the Department for Education and the Department of Health and Social Care working together. We will make it a priority to ensure that all young people have sufficient opportunities to engage in sport and physical activity.
Government is working ever closer. For example, just last week five Ministers appeared in front of the DCMS Select Committee at the same time to discuss the social impacts of culture and sport—the first time this has happened.
My noble friend Lord Moynihan raised an interesting point about introducing legislation—I think he called it, as a start, sports law. The Government have no such plans currently, but he made some interesting points and I will certainly take them back to the department.
Good-quality facilities and spaces are important factors to keep people engaged over the long term. Sport England is investing up to £40 million in large-scale sports facilities projects up to 2021, and a further £15 million per year in smaller-scale projects through its Community Asset Fund. We recognise that playing fields are a vital part of sporting infrastructure up and down the country and are one of the most important resources for sport in England. Every school must, by law, have access to enough playing field space to meet its sports and curriculum needs. Sporting Future made clear our support for bringing together sports and physical activity facilities with other community services. It also highlighted the benefits of multisport facilities in improving usage and sustainability.
The noble Lord, Lord Addington, and others mentioned volunteering. I want to see strong local partnerships come together with the amazing workforce of community volunteers that we know sport relies on, to understand the needs of different areas and to reinvigorate their local facilities and green spaces.
We can be proud of our sporting heritage in this country. We are spoiled for choice when it comes to sporting heroes, and I am sure noble Lords enjoyed this year’s “Sports Personality of the Year”, which I happened to watch last weekend. I offer my congratulations to the worthy winners of the various awards.
I thank my noble friend Lady Byford for her comments about broadcasting, including TV and radio; I have noted what she said. The Government have said that they do not intend to reopen discussion on listed events. It is for sports bodies to strike the right balance between reaching a wide audience and generating revenue. We have a proven track record in hosting major events that inspire people—look at the impact London 2012 had on volunteering and on perceptions of disability.
The noble Earl, Lord Listowel, spoke about volunteering, particularly in sports. As he pointed out, the latest Active Lives survey showed a decline in sports volunteering. We need to look into the reasons for this, and we will certainly do so. We understand that volunteering for major sporting events remains robust, so that gives some reassurance.
In the legacy of London 2012 we also see sports and the arts come together. The forthcoming East Bank site at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park will host BBC Music, a new V&A museum and a new venue for Sadler’s Wells. I am delighted that the noble Lord, Lord Mawson, spoke in this debate. I applaud his role in the success of these projects, involving a combination of sports, the arts and artists, as he mentioned in his speech.
Major sporting and cultural events offer unparalleled opportunities for everyone to get involved and can lift the spirits of everyone around. For example, the volunteer programme for Hull’s City of Culture year in 2017 had engagement from every street in the city. My noble friend Lady Bottomley waxed lyrical about the benefits of the National Lottery, in conjunction with mentioning Hull. I applaud her for that. I also pay tribute to Sir John Major’s great vision: it was, is and continues to be a great success story.
ONS data for London 2012 showed that on a day-to-day basis, people were happier. I presume that means there was a “happy index” somewhere—but I have to admit I have not seen it.
I listened to the excellent speech from the noble Baroness, Lady Bull. Of course, during her long career she has combined sport and art, although I think it fair to say that her remarks were focused more on the arts. This provides a nice bridge to move the debate on. Noble Lords will recognise that engagement in the arts, culture and creative practice are also very good for us—whether that is singing in a choir, visiting a museum, using a library, or volunteering at a heritage event. The noble Lord, Lord Wallace, spoke about the Parliament choir, of which I declare my own membership and support. It is a great choir and although I am a lapsed tenor, I hope to come back at some point.
These pursuits may be our life’s passion, a hobby, or a place to socialise and reflect; we do these things because we intuitively know that they bring enjoyment, meaning and purpose to our lives. The right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Chichester was right to highlight the importance to communities of choirs, the benefits of choral scholarships, focusing on all backgrounds, and the uplifting of the soul through great music, including carols. In this context, my noble friend the Earl of Arran used the phrase “wings of a dove”, which was really quite poetic. As the right reverend Prelate said, the skills engendered fuel the production of many of our great events, including royal weddings.
As the noble Lord, Lord Howarth, said, it was fantastic to see the Health Secretary Matt Hancock speak recently on the power of arts and health. Noble Lords should be aware that there is now growing evidence that taking part in the arts and culture has a significant impact on our health throughout our lives, preventing illness, improving mental health and aiding recovery from ill health. As the noble Lord, Lord Griffiths, said, art can shake you up—hopefully, he did not mean in such a way that the doctor has to be called. It is so encouraging to see enthusiasm for work on arts and health across government.
I have already spoken of the connection between good mental well-being and physical health.
I did ask whether the Minister would kindly write to me and the all-party parliamentary group describing the Government’s plans for developing their cross-departmental strategy to enlist arts and culture in the improvement of the nation’s health and well-being. When he has had advice, will he be able to do that?
I was about to come to that, but now that the noble Lord has raised the question, I am delighted to say that I will of course write to him. It is a good point.
One example of the connection between good mental well-being and physical health is the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, which is funded by Arts Council England and runs Strokestra, a programme which brings together musicians and stroke patients to harness the power of musical techniques to support rehabilitation. An evaluation of this project reported that 86% of participants felt relief from symptoms. I liked the expression that the noble Lord, Lord Howarth, used—“medicine for the soul”. That stuck in the mind, amongst other things, during this debate.
Our libraries, as recreational spaces and community meeting places, are developing ways to support health conditions associated with ageing, with trained Dementia Friends and shared reading courses for people with dementia and their carers. Various speeches today raised these issues. Museums are at the forefront of developing programmes and schemes to support those living with dementia, often using their collections.
Many people also volunteer for heritage organisations or events. Seventy per cent of those who volunteered at recent heritage open days reported feeling more relaxed afterwards, with 64% also feeling more active and healthier. Sixty per cent of the people involved in the Manchester Museum and Imperial War Museum North’s Inspiring Futures programme reported a sustained increase in well-being. This was raised by the noble Baroness, Lady Scott. We want to see as many young people as possible engaging in culture. In October, the Culture Secretary announced £5 million for the Youth Performance Partnership Scheme—a demonstration of the Government’s commitment to children’s participating in the arts, which we know can be so transformative.
So how are we supporting this work? The DCMS is committed to promoting the role that arts and culture can play in a healthy, happy society. We will continue to work with our colleagues across government to ensure that this impact is felt. The noble Baroness, Lady Bull, asked whether we would agree, as a Government, that we must find ways to address the conundrum that those who benefit from art most need the help to access it. It is a fair point. We do agree. The Government want as many people as possible to access arts and culture. Arts Council England continues to support arts and culture organisations to expand and also diversify audiences—a point well made. For example, Creative People and Places provides £47 million as an investment in arts provision and building audiences in places where people have fewer opportunities; I am reminded of Liverpool, where opera is transmitted into the city centre via cinemas.
The Government continue to fund approaches that integrate the arts and culture into communities, such as the £20 million Cultural Development Fund. This fund helps towns and cities put arts and culture at the heart of their growth plans. DCMS is also working with the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government on the special funding announced in the Budget for Heritage on the High Street as part of the major new Future High Streets Fund.
The right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Chichester asked a wide-ranging question on the EU, and whether we could give a commitment, and an indication, on how the Government will repair our reputational and economic damage from the current political uncertainty. That is a big question. I will answer it by saying that the Government recognise the importance of cultural collaboration, and the UK wants to build on our long history of working with the EU to continue to produce and promote excellent culture. That is why, in the July White Paper, the Government proposed a wide-reaching agreement on culture and education with the EU that is broader and more collaborative than anything the EU has agreed before.
The political declaration and agreement with the EU on the terms of our future relationships delivers on this proposal. The proposed agreement on culture and education covers a number of key areas of mutual benefit. I would like to mention the work undertaken by the All Party Parliamentary Group for Arts, Health and Wellbeing, co-chaired, as he said himself, by the noble Lord, Lord Howarth, to whom I pay tribute for bringing together expert voices from across both sectors, not only to recognise the great work going on across the country but to continue to shape the direction of arts and health going forward. I was interested to hear his remarks about the benefit of painting linked to mental health. I reflect on Winston Churchill’s experience; he was known to suffer from what he called the “black dog”, and painting was clearly a cathartic hobby for him.
The noble Lord, Lord Moynihan, spoke about doping in sport, and the many points that he made are very important indeed. He knows that I will say this, but doping in sport is completely and utterly unacceptable. We completely support the work of UK Anti-Doping.
The noble Lord, Lord Addington, asked whether we should ensure that local government is helped. Local authorities are a major funder of culture through libraries, museums and arts as well as sports, and many recognise the importance—because of the many benefits—of maintaining this funding. The Government encourage them very much to do this. The noble Lord also spoke about the National Lottery. I have spoken previously about the role of Sir John Major, and assure the noble Lord—and the Chamber—that the Government will continue to monitor lottery revenues.
We enjoy good well-being in the UK. According to the Office for National Statistics, people’s satisfaction rate with their lives stands at 7.7 out of 10, which has held reasonably steady since measurement began in 2010. But there is much more to do to help inspire people of all ages and backgrounds to get involved. I am passionate that sport and arts should be for everyone, and that they are at the heart of a happy and healthy nation.
My Lords, once again sport and the arts have united the House. I thank my noble friend the Minister for stepping in at short notice for my noble friend Lord Ashton of Hyde, whose daughter is unwell at the moment but on the road to recovery. I know the whole House will offer them both our best wishes. I thank noble Lords for their contributions and in particular say how moved I was by the contribution of the noble Lord, Lord Griffiths, which was a classic of its kind—and I say that as a Monmouth-educated boy.
It would be invidious to pick out other speeches, but perhaps I may pay tribute to the noble Lord, Lord Mawson. We worked very closely together. I may have done a whole range of activities during the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, but none reached the persistence, the commitment and the devotion of time over a very long period—both before and after the Games—that the noble Lord has given to the legacy of the London Olympic Games. It is a privilege to pay tribute to him for all his hard work.
One issue resonated through the debate: the Paralympic Games. I was pleased, because the Olympic Village grew in size; the whole nation became an Olympic village, and when the Paralympics was on, the nation recognised for the first time in my lifetime that we could concentrate on the abilities of the Paralympians and not their disabilities. That resonated throughout society. I think two of the great misnomers are “able-bodied” and “disabled”—but the reality was that, at last, across society there was great recognition and respect for people for their abilities rather than their disabilities, which has lasted to this day.
I thank noble Lords for contributing to this debate, and conclude by reflecting on the powerful and evocative speech on music given by the noble Baroness, Lady Bull. It made me reflect on how many times I have listened to Verdi’s “Nabucco” and hoped there would be a call for an encore to the “Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves”. This was a debate where an encore would indeed be a valuable use of parliamentary time—and with those words I wish all noble Lords who participated a very happy Christmas, and my heartfelt thanks for participating in an extremely useful and insightful two and a half hours.