My View, Michael Hart - More needs doing on fitness

Michael Hart of DCLT
Michael Hart of DCLT
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I’d like to see Doncaster on the map for the work we do with young people to engage them in health, fitness and sport.

A recent report looking at the fitness levels of children in the UK said many under sevens do less than half an hour’s exercise a week, which is unacceptable. Locally, Doncaster gets negative press for featuring high up on national obesity tables, again not a position we want to be in.

Haydyn Fiori, from Sprotbrough.

Haydyn Fiori, from Sprotbrough.

Working in leisure for 20 years I get to see the other side of this, I see engagement programmes and successful activities for young people delivered by a number of organisations across Doncaster. I see the town working together to tackle this problem.

Then recent State of the Nation’s Waistline report said more needs to be done to prevent the problem.

We agree, and support the campaign because the statistics in the report are shocking, suggesting more than half the UK’s population will be obese by 2050 unless campaigns, similar to those for anti-smoking, are introduced.

Participation in physical activity is a long-term investment, so DCLT has a strong focus on the adults of tomorrow.

We are working in partnership with organisations across the borough and want to help young people in Doncaster focus on health and fitness before weight becomes a problem.

Regarding exercise, I’ve also seen lots of young people putting in hours and hours of training and achieving great things in sport and leisure.

We work closely with local schools and community groups to try and tackle this problem and encourage people to participate in health and fitness activities from a young age.

Our Gifted and Talented scheme has helped almost 30 young Doncaster people bidding to succeed in sport.

Working with local schools to identify youngsters who have the ability to excel in a sporting area, we give free use of the local leisure facilities to help them develop and progress.

There are so many talented young athletes and sports people across Doncaster and we are proud to be helping them reach their goals.

Working closely with schools we have developed our gifted and talented scheme to provide youngsters with the extra support they need to improve fitness and skills in their chosen area.

It makes me proud to hear about these young people’s achievements and see how well they are doing. Names like 15-year-old rising taekwondo star Bradley Sinden; British record-holding rower, Lucy Haigh, aged 16; Aiden Hughes, a ju-jitsu champion and 12-year-old Haydyn Fiori who is making a name for himself on the slopes being named 2013 Kids English Slopestyle Champion.

We are working hard, there is more we can do and we want to put Doncaster on the map for great achievements.

Michael Hart (chief executive, Doncaster Culture & Leisure Trust which runs Doncaster leisure centres including the Dome)