Headlines: August 13th, 2009

Many young people are not aware of the sport and leisure activities provided for them in their local area. The Department for Children Families and Schools wants local councils to publicise what is on offer.

Aiming High, the Government’s Ten Year Youth Strategy, seeks to help all young people, particularly those from poorer areas, to take part in enjoyable and purposeful activities in their free time which can help them develop new skills and raise their aspirations. Activities include sports, dance, drama, music, volunteering, engagement in the local community, outward bound activity, and youth centres.

Research reveals that young people see organised activities as a good thing but are held back from taking part because they don’t know what is on offer to them. There is also evidence about reasons preventing young people getting involved in activities. Some young people see organised activities as something reserved only for the very sporty or talented kids. Peer group
pressure can also be a barrier, because teenagers prioritise friends and leisure time over taking part in activities and are often put off if their friends don’t take part.

Parents interviewed as part of the research say they support positive activities but struggle to encourage their children to take part due to lack of information. They want activities that provide their children with a safe place to hang out with their friends, where they can enjoy themselves as well as learning new skills.

The DCFS wants all local councils to let young people know about all the fun activities and places for them to go to in their area.