National Plan for Sport and Recreation
Dr Neil Maxwell, Reader of Environmental Physiology at the University of Brighton, has contributed to a BASES (British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences) response to the House of Lords Select committee’s inquiry for a National Plan for Sport and Recreation.
Neil became involved after volunteering to join a BASES COVID-19 Special Interest Group and was then invited to join the Steering Committee. The first document they produced was a position stand on re-opening sport and exercise science laboratories which complemented Neil’s work at the university producing COVID-19 risk assessment material, and translating it into user-friendly documents for staff and students alongside an accompanying video. The second report was a reflection on the re-opening of the labs and the how initial report supported this.
The response to the House of Lords inquiry had key findings and recommendations including a need for a systems approach to improving physical and mental health for key groups as well as in elite sports. The report will be a platform for government, local authorities and sports bodies to commission / develop community wide (and elite) initiatives, but also for research and education.
The Steering Group has also fed into an inquiry into sport in the community which is yet to be published.
Neil said: “I can say without question the experience has been extremely rewarding. I had not really known where volunteering for BASES was going to lead and certainly not to later down the line responding to two parliamentary inquiries.
“It really was quite humbling to see how a pandemic brought out so much good in people – we stopped seeing each other as competitors at other institutions and there was so much collegiality and the desire to help. As we all moved to online delivery in a matter of weeks, I was receiving emails from colleagues at other institutions with links to online resources I could use with my students.
“Volunteering to join the BASES SIG Steering Committee enabled me to collaborate but more importantly allowed me to feel that I was doing something worthwhile that might help the sport and exercise science sector and the nation get more active.”