In December, Lydia, a student from Hazel Grove Sixth Form, had the opportunity to go to the Houses of Parliament to take part in a roundtable organised by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).
The DCMS state that youth voices play a vital role in shaping their sport strategy. Together with the Youth Sport Trust, they held the roundtable to inform the work of the National Physical Activity Taskforce (NPAT), which aims to help one million more children get active by 2030.
Lydia was invited to take part as a representative of young people in tennis, and a recipient of the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) North regional ‘rising star’ award for volunteering.
Lydia has played tennis all her life, and has been coaching and volunteering in multiple clubs, schools and in the community to inspire more children, especially girls, to play tennis.
“I noticed that girls often dropped out of sports, specifically tennis at a very early age. I realised that there are few female coaches or role models at ‘grass roots’ to inspire girls to join and continue playing, I believe this is a big factor in why there are so few girls in the sport and knew that I needed to make a change.”
Lydia had previously attended the Youth Sports Trust’s Youth Summit 2023 at Loughborough University, where she and other young leaders discussed how to diversify sport and promote choice to make sports more accessible and enjoyable throughout the country.
She was also part of a scheme called Free Parks Tennis, which offered free tennis lessons to children.
In December, she was invited to a follow-up meeting, where she was selected for the roundtable at the Houses of Parliament.
Lydia’s trip to the Houses of Parliament was a chance for her and other young people to speak to the Minister for Sport Stuart Andrew MP, and former England rugby union international Ugo Monye, co-chair of NPAT.
During this meeting, they discussed a variety of topics and shared their own experiences relating to sport and exercise.
After outlining the barriers stopping young people from partaking in sports and physical activity, they considered what can be done to improve sports and physical activity inside and outside of school to get more people involved.
As well as taking part in the important discussion, the group also had a fantastic tour of Number 10 Downing Street.
We’re incredibly proud of Lydia for her involvement in inspiring more children to get into sport!