The BBC is reporting a new study that suggests young people are being squeezed out of sport because a third live in poverty and the cost of taking part is too high.
Schools could help by opening facilities to community groups out of hours, it says.
The National Association of Head Teachers said tight budgets saw many schools already hiring out their sites.
Cost is the biggest barrier to taking part in sport for young people over school age, found the report, Moving the Goal Posts…
“They like gyms and would go if it wasn’t for the cost barrier,” it says.
“They also like the idea of team sports, but often there is a fee for participating and cost can become expensive.”
The study, funded by the charity Street Games, says people aged 18-25 have been the most harshly affected by falling real wages and job security, reduced benefits and increased training costs.
Low incomes and debt problems mean even small additional costs are unaffordable, it adds.
School sport is often free or very low cost, but this provision ends when young people leave school, says the report.
In addition, teenagers are often wary of taking up informal, low-cost sporting activities, fearing anti-social behaviour and poor supervision of open spaces.
“It was eye-opening to learn just how much joining in matters to young people, how much informal games, outdoor activity and sport can inspire and motivate them, yet how many children and young people are held back from actively getting involved,” said author, Prof Anne Power…
National Association of Head Teachers general secretary Russell Hobby said opening sport facilities to the community could make sense for schools…
What are the main barriers to schools opening their facilities to young people?
Would you like to see more of them doing it and do you think it would make a difference?
Please let us know in the comments or via Twitter…
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