Coaches asked to give their views for a national inquiry

January 17, 2021 | by Matt Halfpenny


England Boxing has been asked for help by Lord Willis, Chair of the new House of Lords Committee on a National Plan for Sport and Recreation, in seeking out boxing coaches to input into its inquiry.

The former Burnley Police Club boxer is keen to hear how they see the future of the sport and what can be done to get more young people active.

Lord Willis said: “As a young boxer, I learnt a lot about self-discipline and the importance of staying physically fit from those hours on the heavy bag and getting knocked about by better boxers while sparring.

“My involvement in boxing all those years ago, and my experience of seeing the benefit taking part in boxing can have for young people in Leeds as a teacher in the city for many years, means I am very keen to hear from coaches and others involved on the ground about how they see the future of the sport.

“The last year has probably been the most challenging for grassroots sports clubs and coaches of modern times. Right now, as we begin the third national lockdown in 12 months, and children and adults are once again stopped from taking part in organised sports and physical recreation, it might seem like a depressing time for a new House of Lords Committee to look at the future of sport and recreation in England.

“However, times of challenge can also be times of change .The truth is physical activity for many people of all ages was far too low even before COVID-19, so we want to understand how we can turn that around.

“There is no doubt that getting the nation more active is vital for mental as well as physical health and produces a huge range of benefits for individuals and communities.

“It is estimated that during the first lockdown, adults classed as inactive (achieving less than 30 minutes of physical activity each week) rose sharply to 30%. With disadvantaged communities seeing the biggest drop in activity levels. That trend needs to change and we want to know how you as boxing trainers can be supported to play a role in delivering that change.

“The new House of Lords Committee on a National Plan for Sport and Recreation, which I chair, is currently asking for anyone with an interest in sport and a passion for getting more people active to tell us how that can be done.

We know that it’s the coaches on the ground, as well as the myriad of administrators, referees, “welfare officers and other volunteers who make grassroots sport possible and provide the opportunities for people to be active.

“We really need to hear from those people directly about the challenges they face and how government, elite sports organisations, governing bodies and others can do more to help you. We don’t just want to hear from the usual suspects and big organisations. It’s important to us to hear first-hand from those delivering sport and recreation opportunities in local communities.”

Anyone able to submit their thoughts on these issues should do us by Friday 29 January.

More details on how to do so can be found on the committee’s website.

All submissions and some of those submitting evidence may be asked to join the Committee for an oral evidence session so we can explore the issues raised further.

The inquiry will run until the autumn when we will publish a report making recommendations to Government.

House of Lords Committee reports have a great track record of influencing Government policy and delivering significant change, so submitting evidence can play a key role in making sport and recreation work better right across the country.