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Social coaching should be election pledge

Monday 5 June 2017

A NATIONAL programme to create thousands of social coaches to help improve the life chances of young people should have the support of all parties, the leader of a major youth charity has said.

Former world karate champion Geoff Thompson, founder of charity Youth Charter and development lead of the Sport Industry Collaboration Zone at the University of Salford, spoke after presenting his plan and a report into the legacy of the 2012 London Olympics to the Rt. Hon John Bercow MP, Speaker of the House of Commons.

One of the key recommendations is the setting up of a social coach leadership programme to harness the skills of those who want to improve the lives of young people. The project, which would cost just £11m, aims to recruit and develop 10,000 social coaches by the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Their task is to inspire young people in arts, culture, sport and digital expertise across ten cities in the UK.

These coaches would empower one million young people and equip them with the skills to be employable in the modern world, as well as increasing engagement and levels of physical activity.

Geoff said: “This is an open goal for all the main parties. Our programme would help to tackle the challenges facing inner city areas and society in general, from health and fitness, to a lack social inclusion among certain groups which leads to radicalisation and then further problems. The best way to deal with these issues is to challenge and engage young people.

Rt Hon John Bercow MP, Speaker of the House of Commons, said: “This report comes at a very important time. The recommendations that the Youth Charter have made must be taken forward and supported to give our young people a real and tangible opportunity whatever their background or status From a personal perspective, with my sport being tennis, it is difficult for people from less affluent backgrounds to pay £7 per hour to hire a tennis court and this puts up a barrier to participation and means that we are missing out on a lot of talent.”

And test cricketer Clive Lloyd CBE, Vice President of the Youth Charter, said: “The Youth Charter has been doing great work for many years globally and now that I am retired I hope to be able to give more time to the agency in delivering this much needed opportunity for our young people.”

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Sam Wood

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