Guernsey Press

Commissions urge States to back Active 8 amendment

BOTH the Guernsey Sports Commission and the Health Improvement Commission have come out in support of Education’s bid for future funding for the Active 8 strategy, even though it falls short of what is needed.

Guernsey Sports Commission chairman Jon Ravenscroft. (32466207)

Education, initially criticised for planning to axe this funding as part of budget cuts, is now pushing the Policy & Resources Committee to amend the Government Work Plan to give it £300,000 per year, for the next seven years, for the scheme.

Active 8 was introduced in 2021 as a 10-year island-wide sports and physical activity strategy.

The two commissions would get the funding, with a small amount retained by the committee to oversee the governance of the strategy.

Guernsey Sports Commission chairman Jon Ravenscroft and the Health Improvement Commission chairman Mike Bane have both backed the proposal but continued to express concerns about the impact of budget cuts.

‘While we are pleased that the committee will be leading this amendment, the funding being proposed for the Sports Commission still falls some way short of what we need to be able to deliver the Active 8 workstreams in full,’ Mr Ravenscroft said.

‘We will continue to rely on the private funding we receive in support of a range of our work across the community and will need to increase this further to be able to deliver the objectives of Active 8.

‘If this amendment does not receive widespread support from deputies then our work promoting the good governance of sport, our support for broadening PE experiences in secondary schools and our support for children from vulnerable families to access sport outside of school will be seriously curtailed.

‘These are just some examples of the work we have been doing as part of the Active 8 Strategy for Sport.’

Mr Bane said the proposals should be seen as an investment, not a cost.

He said that when Active 8 was overwhelmingly supported by deputies on its introduction in March 2020, it was argued that sport and physical activity had ‘a unique ability’ to bring people together and promote a sense of belonging, as well as physical and mental health and wellbeing benefits. ‘That statement is truer now than ever,’ he said.

‘The benefits of sport and activity are increasingly evident and the cost-benefits of properly targeted activities are supported by research.

‘The funding proposed for the Active 8 strategy will enable both commissions to provide the people of Guernsey, regardless of age, background or level of ability, the opportunities and pathways to participate in sport and stay active in the manner most suited to them, thereby reducing their burden on the state.’

If the amendment is approved by deputies, the two commissions will review the service level agreements with ESC.