At the Hyde Park triathlon the sponsoring charity was the Laureus Foundation. This is a charity that works to use sport to help young people. People across the world who are deprived and people across the UK and the world who can use sport to improve their lives.
We often forget just how influential sport can be. Taking part in sport has a wide range of benefits for the individual and for the community that cannot be underestimated. If young people get involved in sport they are less likely to slip into a life of crime and anti social behaviour (the KickZ project has already shown this in my own constituency of Great Yarmouth) so there is a direct economic benefit from this. The team work and dedication required for sport at any level can help develop focus, determination and healthy competitiveness that can be good assets for life and so give a personal and community economic benefit. It is also true that sport can help pupils get better results in school, so it can help educationally too. Giving a break from the classroom, expelling excess energy and a range of other reasons back this up. There is also another and possibly most important focus and reason for sport being of community benefit and persona advantage: health. As someone who has been on the ‘heavy’ side all my life I know how much better I feel when I am just that few lbs lighter.
With obesity being such a factor of life now, it has to be obvious that any involvement at a younger age in sport can help develop a healthier lifestyle that will give clear health benefits later in life. I have found with my own training that I am more alert, more focused and more relaxed too. This improvement in health due to sport can potentially save our health service millions of pounds in the years ahead so again sport has a clear cross community benefit as well as a personal one.
Laureus covers all these factors and as such is a charity doing work that should get our attention. I for one will certainly be doing what can to support, promote and work with them.