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Plaid Cymru blueprint ‘for an active Wales’

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Party unveils plans to get everyone involved in physical activity

Plaid Cymru today (June 24) launches a far-reaching blueprint aimed at getting all of Wales playing sport and taking part in physical activity.

Coming exactly a month before the start of the Commonwealth Games and during the football World Cup, the discussion paper makes a series of radical recommendations aimed at ending ongoing barriers to sport participation while at the same time improving the health of the nation.

To read the document, click here.

Among the proposals that a Plaid Cymru government would consider are:

Requiring schools to open facilities for community and club use in the evenings and at weekends;Instigating an Inspire Wales programme, where sports legends would visit schools and work with students to encourage participation and sporting excellence;Ensuring that schools deliver a varied programme of high quality PE for two hours a week;Establishing a right to access to wellbeing facilities such as cycle routes, leisure facilities, and green spaces for everyone;Developing a wellbeing oyster card that could be used across Wales at local authority-run facilities.

Bethan Jenkins AM, who speaks on sports for Plaid Cymru and completed the London Marathon this year, said:

“This proposal calls for a big shake-up of current arrangements. We’re convinced that this is what is needed if we are to have an active Wales. Sport and physical activity not only contribute to people’s wellbeing and happiness - they lengthen and improve lives, and they are good for the country in terms of having a fit workforce and less of a burden on services.

“The opening up of schools, in particular, is something I hear constantly on the doorstep. Plaid Cymru has listened to that, and we are now proposing it as party policy. But, more than that, we want an entire infrastructure – rather than the bolt-on policies so beloved of the current Welsh Government – that allows people the flexibility to take control for themselves, removing barriers and allowing them to focus on the things that are important.

“If you take my club, Run4all in Neath, it began through a small group of people coming together. Now that it is far bigger, it faces development issues such as health and safety and access to funding. I’d like to see similar clubs supported so they can get on with what they were set up to do. We need to make it easier for everyone to take part in physical activity - and this document is Plaid Cymru’s plan for doing that.”

Simon Thomas, Plaid Cymru Shadow Cabinet Member for Education, Skills and the Welsh language added:

“By using our assets and better, we can make it easier for people to access wellbeing facilities and get active.

“The Commonwealth games next month will be an important event where Wales competes in her own right on a global stage. We want to capitalise on that enthusiasm by making it easier for people to access day to day leisure facilities, and also to encourage sporting excellence.

“We have once again been watching the FIFA football world cup with interest and wondering how a Welsh team would have done against the other teams. We will be urging the Welsh Women’s senior team to qualify for the world cup in Canada next year. Sportspeople are important role models this is why in government we would develop the Inspire Wales programme.

“Later today I will be questioning the Welsh Government about how public bodies are co-operating to ensure that sport and leisure services are available in all areas of Wales. In the face of a culture of cuts from all Westminster parties a Plaid Cymru government would focus on how sport and leisure facilities are delivered now rather than spending on new expensive sporting facilities.”

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