Tuesday 6th April is the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace, it presents an opportunity to recognize the role that sport and physical activity plays in communities and in people’s lives across the world.

Communities across the UK have faced unprecedented health, economic and social challenges over the last year brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic. Young people appear to be bearing the brunt with one in nine out of work according to government figures and 67% believing that the pandemic will have a long-term negative effect on their mental health according to a Young Minds survey. The last twelve months has shown the Trust that more than ever, young people need sport and physical activity to act as the spark to drive connections, create communities and learn valuable life skills.

Ben Hilton, CEO of Dame Kelly Holmes Trust

It is proven to me that sport and physical activity is the fabric that engages young people to lead positive lives. It increases physical and mental wellbeing, provides spaces for young people to make friends and connect with their local communities and reduces isolation. They way that young people have adapted to our virtual offer during this period, their desire to aspire and their ability to communicate honestly and openly around the challenges they are facing, has reaffirmed my belief of how critical and needed Sport for Development is. At a time of reduced youth engagement services, an uncertain economy and young people being disproportionally affected by the results of the pandemic, it is vital that we continue to provide opportunities for young people to be the best version of themselves.

Maddie gained structure after attending Get on Track in Folkestone

"Having these (physical activity) challenges gets me started for the day. I wake up, have a cup of tea, and then get on and do some activity. I’m definitely more motivated than I was before. If I hadn’t been on the course before the lockdown started, I don’t think I’d have known what to do now, but it’s definitely given me something to do, given me a kind of structure to my day." 

Myles found a purpose while attending Get on Track in Yorkshire

"I’ve found exercise really helps to manage my frustrations. I have a punchbag at home and working out on that has been really good as has been doing more walking. Over the last year this programme really gave me something to look forward to, it’s given me a purpose in life."

Chris used exercise to help during Get on Track in Folkestone:

"Now that I’m doing more exercise, I just feel more energised each day and it’s really helped with my confidence. Lockdown is tricky but I’m doing my exercise and coping with it all. The programme has really helped to keep me on track… if I hadn’t done this, I probably wouldn’t be doing exercise and just be playing on Xbox all day. Once lockdown is over, I want to join a fencing club if I can and continue what I started to learn on the programme."