Featured Event: B Active in Parliament
Soft drinks company Lucozade Ribena Suntory and Active Communities Network, a charity, celebrate one year since the launch of a programme to keep young people physically active
Lucozade Ribena Suntory and Active Communities Network
A reception celebrating one year since the launch of ‘B Active’, a programme designed to help young people (aged 16-24) in some of the UK’s most deprived communities access sport and physical activity.
Boosting participation in sport and activity can improve health outcomes, bring communities together and give people a way to advance their prospects. Unfortunately, sport and physical activity levels are lowest in highly deprived communities and those areas that could benefit most.
England Lioness and Manchester City forward Nikita Parris shared her experience growing up playing football in a Liverpool youth centre. “For me, my youth centre was an integral part of my childhood. When I was there I felt at home, I felt secure. It was a safe haven and I felt like I belonged,” she said. “Change is needed in inner-city communities and sport is one of the drivers.”
The three-year B Active programme currently operates across five different regions: London, Manchester, Belfast, Hull and Newport. It will be extending to Birmingham in 2019, focusing on helping young women in the area get more involved in sport and physical activity. The youth-led activity programmes run five days a week, 50 weeks of the year. Since launching in 2018, over 4,000 young people have taken part – three times as many as originally expected in year one – with 3 in 7 volunteering in their local community, and over 700 gaining vocationally-recognised qualifications.
WHAT THEY SAID
“As sports minister, I want more people to be active, to be involved, to be a part of this. It’s fun being in sport. If you get a chance to find a love of being active through this programme, you’re more likely to carry on with that through the rest of your life.” Mims Davies MP, Minister for Sport and Civil Society
“The key to the programme for us is that young people have to be at the heart of everything. We really built our programmes with young people involved in the content and young people involved in the direction. Even the branding was designed by young people.” Gary Stannett MBE, CEO of Active Communities Network
“Participation in sports is lowest in the most deprived communities, and in particular we see participation rates drop between the ages of 16 to 21. That’s why we launched this programme.” Hannah Norbury, Marketing Director, Lucozade Ribena Suntory
“For me this programme will be an imperative part of our society moving forward. It inspires me each and every day.” Nikita Parris, English professional footballer and Women’s Super League all-time top goalscorer
The House interviews Nikita Parris
You’ve said that sport is an important part of community. How has that played out in your life?
I used to go to a local youth centre. I walked into the gymnasium full of boys and I just felt happy. It allowed me to develop into a seasoned player, the top goal scorer in the league, and it’s because I trained in that gymnasium.
Were you a little intimidated playing a bunch of older boys?
Oh yeah 100%, but I knew I could hold my own because of the talent I had. To be honest, they encouraged me every day. They never discouraged me. They allowed me to join in with them and play.
At what point did you decide to become a mentor yourself?
As your profile starts to increase more people start to recognize you, and more young girls start to say ‘I want to be you’. I always say ‘don’t be me, be better than me,’ because ultimately if you’re better than me then we’ll raise the profile of the sport. So it’s grown on me. Now I feel an obligation to give back to my community, to give back to these young girls.
To learn more, download the e-booklet B Active: Celebrating the first year of the partnership between Lucozade Ribena Suntory and Active Communities Network