As the sport, fitness and activities sector marked Pride Month, the sector rallied to discuss and highlight measures for greater inclusivity. The sector represents the best and brightest in athletic potential as well as the future of health and wellbeing. From inclusivity and representation for the LGBT community to athlete support, the sector is creating a better environment for an active future.
Marking Pride Month
Pride month saw the Sport & Recreation Alliance speaking to Olympic Racewalker Tom Bosworth. Tom is one of the few openly gay British athletes competing at the highest level of his sport. Despite huge strides made in sport to support inclusivity, celebrating Pride was an opportunity to discuss how sport could improve.
Within his work for England Athletics Pride Network, he discussed making sure activities for inclusion weren’t just ‘tick box exercises’. For him, it’s about making sure that the messages of inclusion and welcome aren’t lost or diluted by social media. He added:
“I’m more about taking the next step now, and how we can use Pride Month to galvanise what we do day-to-day, 365 days a year.”
Making movement count
A newly published report on movement and dance was released by the Sport and Recreation Alliance. The report was publicly launched with Strictly Come Dancing judge Shirley Ballas in attendance. She emphasised the importance that dance and movement should have as a multifaceted form of activity.
Ballas herself spoke about the inclusivity of dance as a “cultural exchange and a celebration of heritage”. For her promoting dance and movement recognised the need for self-expression, creativity and better physical and mental health.
Intended as a ‘starting point’, the report is part of the continuing support the Alliance will offer for dance and sport. It provides a strong evidence base for the impact of participation in dance for individuals, communities and society as a whole.
Making Athletes’ voices count
Sport Wales is supporting an ‘Athlete Voice Panel’ that has been developed to help produce more positive environments for Welsh athletes. The aim is to have current and former athletes voice their concerns and experiences to produce a structure that helps athletes thrive at the top level of their sport.
Several Welsh sports people joined the panel including Commonwealth Gold medallist boxer Rosie Eccles, Wheelchair basketball player Anastasia Blease and ex-swimmers Alys Thomas and Georgia Davies. As the first panel, they will be discussing what would help create the best environments for athletes’ mental health and wellbeing.
To find out more from the most influential actors in the sector, why not check out The Drive Phase podcast? Host James Moore, a sports entrepreneur, speaks to leaders in businesses, charities, NGBs and foundations who are working to make physical activity a top priority.