Multi-sport Grassroots Facilities

Culture, Media and Sport – in the House of Commons am ar 22 Chwefror 2024.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Peter Aldous Peter Aldous Ceidwadwyr, Waveney

What recent progress she has made on implementing her Department’s multi-sport grassroots facilities programme.

Photo of Lucy Frazer Lucy Frazer The Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport

The Government have committed over £325 million to multi-sport grassroots sites across the whole of the UK. This is part of our mission to ensure that every community has the pitches and facilities it needs. So far, 2,300 sites have been supported. That includes funding for grass pitch maintenance at Waveney football club in my hon. Friend’s constituency, creating many more opportunities for people of all backgrounds to get active.

Photo of Peter Aldous Peter Aldous Ceidwadwyr, Waveney

The development of multi-sport grassroots facilities is very often led by one sport, which then faces a variety of obstacles in getting other sports authorities to participate in a particular project. What steps is my right hon. and learned Friend taking to remove those barriers, and to promote collaboration between different sports authorities so that much-needed facilities can be built?

Photo of Lucy Frazer Lucy Frazer The Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport

I welcome my hon. Friend’s question because it allows me to champion the fact that, as a requirement of the Government’s investment in grassroots facilities, 40% of projects need to clearly benefit a sport other than football, such as cricket, rugby, basketball or netball. In England, the Football Foundation and Sport England work closely with the national governing bodies of other sports to encourage the development of multi-sport projects, to promote collaboration between clubs at a local level.

Photo of Wera Hobhouse Wera Hobhouse Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Transport), Liberal Democrat Shadow Leader of the House of Commons, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Energy and Climate Change)

Over 1 million girls lose interest in sports when they become teenagers, mainly due to lack of confidence and feeling judged, but we know how beneficial sports are for mental health, and there are many other benefits. How has the Department included gender in the implementation of the multi-sport grassroots facilities programme?

Photo of Lucy Frazer Lucy Frazer The Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport

I welcome that question. We have a national sports strategy to get 3.5 million people more active. That is focused on trying to get those who are currently inactive into sport. As the hon. Lady rightly mentions, women and girls are less active in sport than boys and men, so we are focusing in particular on that, with a national taskforce that brings together all relevant Departments and national governing bodies to ensure that we get more women and girls involved in sport across the board.

Photo of Jake Berry Jake Berry Minister of State (Cabinet Office)

Does the Secretary of State accept that grassroots sports can play a hugely important part in levelling up? As part of Darwen’s £120 million town deal, we have invested in our football club, our cricket club and our skate park, and we are about to open a brand-new five-a-side pitch. Will she talk with the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities to see what part her Department can play in ensuring that sport plays its proper part in enriching the cultural lives of people in areas with levelling-up bids?

Photo of Lucy Frazer Lucy Frazer The Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport

My right hon. Friend is a huge champion for his area and for the north in general. He is absolutely right that sport, drama, creativity—all those things—level up an area. I am very happy to talk to my right hon. Friend in the Levelling Up Department to consider how we can continue, across Government, to support the north.

Photo of Richard Foord Richard Foord Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Defence)

I have recently visited sports clubs in Honiton, including youth rugby, gymnastics and football. They are all seeking support from the local authority, East Devon District Council, on the basis of its 2017 sports pitch strategy. The Government’s multi-sport grassroots facilities programme is very welcome, but does the Secretary of State consider it generous enough for youth sport, given that the co-benefits of sport for young people include a sense of camaraderie, good health and civic pride?

Photo of Lucy Frazer Lucy Frazer The Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport

Our strategy is helping sport across the board, but I recognise in particular the importance of getting young people involved in sport. We have invested around £1 billion in sport for young people, including £300 million for multi-sport pitches and £600 million in schools so that more children get the required two hours of physical education. We are also investing across the board in youth services to get more young children active in constructive activities rather than in less appropriate ones.