Dawn Bowden MS, Deputy Minister for Arts and Sport, and Chief Whip
On Thursday 8 December, the Welsh Government and Sport Wales jointly hosted a Sport Summit at Cardiff City Stadium. More than 200 delegates attended from across and beyond the sport and leisure sector to discuss the challenges of, and opportunities for, shaping an inclusive sport system based on the lived experiences of under-served communities.
The summit heard how some partners are reaching into communities with whom they have traditionally found it difficult to engage. It also heard how we can enhance our ways of working to better involve people in the development and delivery of sport and physical activity opportunities.
The key message from the guest speaker from Norway – Per Tøien, senior advisor to the Norwegian Olympic and Paralympic Committee and Confederation of Sports – was that his country’s successful sport system was based on the principle of togetherness. But even in a country with a high rates of participation, it is experiencing challenges in recruiting sports volunteers.
The consensus from the summit was that the sports sector needs to be braver in its decisions, bolder in its ambitions and a positive disruptor.
The summit was the start of a process to understand and confront the issues creating an inequality of access to sport and to support us in delivering a key Programme for Government commitment. We collectively recognise that many challenges, such as the pandemic and the cost-of-living crisis, have compounded this issue in many communities. We will work with Sport Wales and other partners to bring about the necessary challenge and change to build a system that allows everyone to have a lifetime enjoyment of sport.