Tuesday, April 17, 2012

What Community Sport Means to Me - Keith Towler

On 100 days to go until the London 2012 Games, Sport Wales is embarking on a series of blogs on Community Sport. Keith Towler is the Children’s Commissioner for Wales.
Most Friday evenings I head to our local comprehensive school not for maths but to pretend for 90 minutes that I can still play with some skill, speed and precision. The reality is I'm not sure I ever really had any skill as I head there with a group of middle-aged men, from all walks of life, to play football.

Children's Commissioner for Wales Keith Towler

We’re not the best, and we’re probably not the worst, but most importantly, we’ve become good friends, and so have our families. It has become part of our community life.

Sport has this magic ability to unite people – around clubs, communities and countries. It’s this ‘pull’ that Sport Wales wants us all to harness to create an environment where every child and young person in Wales can live in communities without barriers, without fears, without prejudices.

This new community strategy is a document with goose-pimples. Odd turn of phrase you might think, but when you read it you can’t help but want to encourage your neighbours, your local businesses, your local schools, your local halls, your community, to create safe, healthy and happy environments for our children. An environment that fosters opportunities for all children and young people.

Whilst access to play and recreational activity is a child’s fundamental right, let’s look at this as a wider opportunity to instil a sense of worth, pride and ambition in our children. And a sense of belonging – perthyn.
Keith Towler is the Children’s Commissioner for Wales. He has also recently been invited to join an international group of experts to advise the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child on its General Comment on Article 31 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child on play. You can follow him on twitter @childcomwales

This blog was written in conjunction with the launch of a strategy for Community Sport in Wales.  If you’d like your say, get involved in the debate on twitter – using the hashtag #communitysport and you can mention us @sport_wales