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Flixton Girls School helps launch National School Sports Week

Flixton Girls School helps launch National School Sports week.

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Image of Ben Smith

Children’s charity the Youth Sport Trust’s National School Sport Week commenced today June 24th, with a Five Ways to Wellbeing Festival in Trafford, Greater Manchester. The event at Flixton Girls School – part of the Healthy Learning Trust brought together schools from the surrounding area.

Youth Sport Trust (YST) Wellbeing ambassador Ben Smith, the man who ran 401 marathons in 401 days hosted the launch and also announced details of how his next challenge will aim to build a wellbeing legacy in schools.

Thousands of young people are getting the opportunity to take part in a challenge though an education programme developed in partnership with the YST, which will aim to inspire and build awareness of the importance of physical activity, and its role in nurturing wellbeing

New research shows the majority of UK adults do not know that young people should be active for 60 minutes every day, so thousands of schools are joining this national campaign led by the YST, calling for greater awareness of the importance of sport and Physical Education to young people’s wellbeing.

YST National School Sport Week 2019 runs from today (24 June) to Friday and will see schools well as sporting organisations, charities and businesses putting on events, sports days and talks. The week is being themed around the Five Ways to Wellbeing – focusing on how PE and school sport get people active, connecting, giving back, taking notice and learning.

Schools across the UK are using the occasion to send a message about the importance of physical activity at a time when national statistics shows young people’s wellbeing and levels of activity have been in decline.

Ben Smith said: “My experience of PE at school was scary. I felt like I wasn’t good enough, like I would never fit in, that I wouldn’t enjoy it and I put so many barriers in place as an excuse not to exercise. Knowing what I know now, this was down to my experience of sport and not having many options to choose from and thinking I needed to be the best. Having found sport later in life, I can now see the power it has to not only build a person’s soul but also the benefits it has on confidence, self-esteem and our overall mental wellbeing. It’s vitally important that every young person has opportunity to enjoy what sport has to offer.”

As well as thousands of schools, the week is also being supported by charities including the Jo Cox Foundation, Association for PE, Manchester City FCs City in the Community, and governing bodies of sport including Swim England, Boccia England and England Netball.

YST Chief Executive Ali Oliver said: “We’ve seen a worrying trend in recent years of a decline in young people’s physical activity, and a squeeze on time allocated to good quality Physical Education. With our new research showing that most people do not know how much physical activity children should be aiming for, it has never been more important to raise awareness of why this is so important. Our work with schools across the country all year round shows the power of sport and play to improve young people’s confidence, tackle stress and equip them with the skills to succeed in life.

“It is really encouraging that so many schools and organisations are joining together this YST National School Sport Week to champion the vital importance of PE, school sport and physical activity for every young person. Thank you to all of the schools and partners for making the week such a huge celebration of the positive power of sport for good.”

Ben’s USA 2020 Challenge will support the work of his 401 Foundation and YST. It will see him run a marathon in every US state capital and cycle between each one – covering 18,500 miles in 104 days and finishing during next year’s YST National School Sport Week.

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