Swedish sports lesson

By on 06/08/2009 in News

Date: Thursday 6th August 2009

Time: 1pm - 3pm

Location: Kebabish Original, Unit 7, Watson Road, Star City, Birmingham, B7 5SA

Details: Young people from a Birmingham constituency with the lowest sports participation rate will be travelling to a country with one of the highest to learn how it's done.

Ten teenagers from Hodge Hill are to travel to Sweden next week where more than half of the population engage in healthy physical activity or sport.

By contrast, only 13.2 per cent of adults in Hodge Hill participate in at least three 30 minute sessions of sport a week - the worst rate in Birmingham (city average is 16.9 per cent) and significantly below the national average of 21.3 per cent (Active People Survey 2007/08).

The survey also shows Hodge Hill is below the Birmingham and national averages for sports club membership, participation in organised competition, receiving coaching or tuition in sport, volunteering in sports and being satisfied with sport provision (see notes to editors below).

The group of young people aged between 15 and 18-years-old will identify good practices in Sweden that can be imported to Hodge Hill.

Their work will feed into Hodge Hill MP Liam Byrne's 2020 vision to transform the area which includes turning it into a “destination of choice” for sport.

Mr Byrne said: “This is a fantastic opportunity to help make Hodge Hill the best place in Birmingham to be a young person.

“If we want to deliver on this goal, we have to learn from the best – like Sweden – and put our young people in the driving seat.

“Youngsters think the same as the rest of us about what needs to change in our community. They want to see less crime, speeding, drug-dealing and gangs. So we need their advice and leadership on how we make change happen for the vast majority of good kids who don’t have enough to do right now.”

During the visit the youngsters will host a “British evening” in Sweden to educate young Swedes about British culture and lifestyle when they will cook a balti.

The team is to be taught how to cook an authentic balti from scratch by chefs from the Kebabish Original restaurant at Star City on Thursday afternoon.

Karina Bowkett, health project worker within Birmingham City Council's Youth Service, said: “People might not associate a balti with keeping fit but we want to show the Swedes something of our culture.

“The British evening will be an opportunity for young people from both countries to discuss the problems they face in their respective communities and explore how sport can promote inclusion.

“Sport and physical recreation is far reaching and beyond the usual physical benefits.  Unfortunately, not enough people in Hodge Hill have got that message which is why the young people will be ambassadors for their constituency and spread the word.

“Sweden has a great record of participation in sport and physical exercise and if they can do it there is no reason why we can't do it here.

“We are very excited about this trip and believe the lessons learned there can really make a difference to the lives of people here.”

Nuzhad Chagan, a Birmingham City Council employee from Sweden who has worked in the city for the last year and is helping with the project, added: “Sport is big in Sweden. It is partly because we have the infrastructure but also to do with the culture.

“In Sweden you feel motivated to be active because everyone else is active. Sport provides an outlet to make people socialise, get healthy and improve their overall physical and mental wellbeing. It would be wonderful to import some of that to Birmingham.”

The International Youth Exchange trip has been organised by Birmingham City Council's Youth Service and is funded by the British Council Youth in Action initiative.

Notes to Editors

• Almost half of Sweden's seven million population aged between seven and 70 are members of a sports club.
• More than two out of every three boys and half of girls aged between seven and 15 in Sweden belong to a sports club.
• There are about 22,000 sports clubs throughout Sweden plus 7,000 sports clubs attached to companies.
• The Active People Survey shows only 12.2 per cent of the adult population in Hodge Hill had sports club membership last year compared to 20.7 per cent in Birmingham and 24.7 per cent nationally.
• Only 9.9 per cent of adults received any tuition in sports in the constituency compared to a Birmingham average of 14.6 per cent and 18.1 per cent nationally.
• In Hodge Hill just 7.3 per cent of adults took part in an organised competition last year compared to 12.6 per cent in Birmingham as a whole and 14.7 per cent nationally.
• Just over half - 54.3 per cent of adults in Hodge Hill were satisfied with sports provision in their area compared to a Birmingham average of 60.8 per cent and national average of 66.7 per cent.
Further information from Shahid Naqvi 0121 303 3635.

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