News from the Games

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It has been a week since Sport England’s Active Lives Children and Young People report was published and the findings were shocking, but not surprising writes CEO Chris Broadbent.

Less than one in five children are meeting the recommended activity guidelines, with one in three doing less than half an hour of physical activity per day. Teenage girls are less likely to be active, as are children from low income backgrounds.

Our Southwest based youth charity has had some real success stories in the last year as we have made a deliberate move away from ‘preaching to the converted’ in our programmes and targeting groups where participation is low to make a real difference in our communities.

As a result of the programme, in 2018;

  • Nearly 1,000 young people became members of local sports clubs in the 3 months following their experiences with us.
  • Five new under 13 girls’ rugby teams were created in Devon as a result of a collaboration with the RFU.
  • Our Street Sports programme has proven to be 3X as effective at engaging young people from deprived communities into activity than traditional sports programmes.

We are building on this work by further developing our areas of success and using our market research to deliver an innovative programme for 2019. This includes Street Series SW, the region’s first street sports league, Adventure League - the region’s first outdoor pursuits League and the world’s first environment-themed multi-sports event - The Planet Earth Games.  The programmes encourage participation in not just physical activity but also caring for the environment. Leaving no trace and in a better state than when we found it.

We know our events are a catalyst for activity in communities and the parents of our participants recognise our value. “My child felt empowered to play a game she had never felt good enough to play before” one of them emotively told us.

So, you would imagine that funding for an organisation like ours that has successful outcomes and an innovative programme would be easy to come by - particularly given the apparent political appetite to address child inactivity.

But our charity finds any funding extremely challenging to come by from local, regional or national bodies. It appears Sport, as a sector, has now become much more adept at data and analytics. Of course, it’s very important that the public get return on investment with some real outcomes and analysis has its place, but have we swung too far the other way? Are we neglecting bean planting for bean counting?

We now know more about the extent of child inactivity, obesity and rising mental health issues among the young than we ever have before. But the issue continues and is seemingly worsening. The same approach cannot go on, we must stem the tide!

Where are the real national and regional commitments to deliver something truly innovative and imaginative to engage a breadth of young people into regular physical activity beyond school PE?

 In today’s world, I have much more accessible and affordable options in the community and online for sport and activity than my five-year-old twins do. That cannot be right. Where are the Strava and This Girl Can for children? Junior Parkrun is a positive move, but is still dwarfed by adult-dominated Parkrun.

A health crisis is looming and we are risking watching on passively as our children become less and less inactive. We owe them the opportunity of a healthy future.

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Recent Posts


| 26th July 2019 | Blogging

Devon County Councillors joined Games participants, volunteers and partners to celebrate the success of the first ever Planet Earth Games. The reception at County Hall, Exeter on 25 July also saw the awarding of the John Coates Cup, named after the charity's former Chair to Exeter Saracens for thebest performing local team at this year's Games. Councillor Carol Whitton is pictured with members of the rugby club....


| 09th July 2019 | Blogging

The first ever Planet Earth Games got off to a successful launch with over 300 people taking part in a range of activities at Flowerpot Playing Fields, Exeter. On a gloriously sunny day on Saturday 7 July, participants took part in girls' football, girls' rugby, plogging, paddle boarding, canoeing, raft-building, skateboarding, scootering, BMX, group cycling and trail walking.  The Games environmental commitments over no avoidable single use plastic, leaving no trace, using recycled materials and being at the forefront of sustainability in sports were full adhered to, with sackfuls of rubbish collected from wider Exeter by the plogging teams. CEO Chris Broadbent said: "The Planet Earth Games are now a reality, there is a been a lot of hard work gone into this year. But now we have delivered a world-first in sustainable sport. In particular, I would like to say a huge thank you to all the volunteers who gave so much to ensure the inaugural Games were such a success and did so with a huge smile too."...

Team GB's Lauren Dolan backs Planet Earth Games to have positive impact

| 03rd July 2019 | Blogging

With the Planet Earth Games now less than four days away, we caught up with Lauren Dolan - track cyclist for Great Britain - ahead of the inaugural event...    Who are you and what do you do?   "Hi! Im Lauren Dolan, a 19-year old road and track endurance cyclist, having represented Great Britain in both disciplines".   "After taking a back step in 2018 to recover from 2 major crashes, one being at the world championships in Bergen 2017, I am now back and fighting harder than ever. Ive had some of my best results to date this season, and am looking forward to the opportunities that lie ahead for me in representing my country".   Why you support and act as an ambassador to Planet Earth Games?   "It's a great privilege to be named as one of the ambassadors of last years up-cycled ‘'Devon youth games’’. Watching the games last year was incredible. To see so many talented young athletes compete, gracious in both victory and defeat was really special. I want to act as a beacon of direction for the athletes, helping to encourage them to pursue their ambitions, big or small, whether in sport or not. This year, with the additional focus of the environment, and its pertinence in the news, all over the world, I hope that I can spread the centralised aspiration of the Planet Earth Games (to ‘save our environment’) with the intention that it will remain an individual vocation for everyone in years to come".   What are your views on the importance of Planet Earth Games objectives around youth sport and the environment?   "The Planet Earth Games will have a really positive impact on everyone involved, creating a legacy that will have a bearing on people’s actions and outlooks, not just when it comes to sport, but also when considering our surroundings too. With the environment in such a declining state, there has never been a more crucial time to change our behaviours".   Why you are looking forward to the Planet Earth Games on Saturday? "I cannot wait to be a spectator at the games, to see the next generation of athletes across a huge variety of sports compete for the Planet Earth games title, as well learning a thing or two about protecting the environment at the same time. It's going to be an action packed, fun and crucially, an eco-friendly day for everyone to play a part in!"   Group Cycling is one of many family activities available at Planet Earth Games.         Join Lauren and our other ambassadors - Matt Jess, Jo Pavey, Will Smith and Charlotte Tregedeon - at the Planet Earth Games on Saturday 6th July!  Check out the Planet Earth Games website for more information.ENTER NOW!          ...

Showcase your organisation at Planet Earth Games

| 25th June 2019 | Blogging

Book your place on Village Green - July 6th!     Do you share our vision of inspiring a generation of environmentally sustainable young people through sport and physical activity?Then book your place at Planet Earth Games, the world's first environment themed multi-sport event in Exeter on 6 July. Planet Earth Games provides a unique Olympic and Paralympic-style experience for up to 3000 young people and their families whilst sharing the best in sustainability in sport and beyond.There is limited places in the Village Green, BOOK NOW. Or, to find out more, contact Jo Wood via email or on 07809 144260.   We are pleased to announce that we will be joined by a number of fantastic organisations, including: Nourish Zero Waste; Vegan Runners UK; Forestry England; Environment Agency; South West Water; Haven Banks Outdoor Education Centre; Devon Wildlife Trust; Sustrans; South West Coast Path & Plastic Free Exeter. The Planet Earth Games is committed to: zero usage of avoidable single use oil-based plastics leaving no trace by achieving zero waste usage of recycled materials wherever possible being at the forefront of sustainability in sport in the UK   Planned set-up. Exhibitors will be located at the Village Green.  ...

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