Loughborough experts invited to Westminster to present research on sport and physical activity for children in care

Two Loughborough academics will meet MPs tomorrow (26) to explain the importance of sport and physical activity in the lives of children in care.

Dr Rachel Sandford and Dr Oliver Hooper, of the School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences, have been invited to talk at the All-Party Parliamentary Group meeting for Looked After Children and Care Leavers, at the Houses of Parliament.

The event will bring together experts, professionals, voluntary organisations and decision-makers in government to consider what young people feel needs to change about the care system.

The pair will present their research, Right to be Active, funded by the British Academy, which explored sport and physical activity experiences of looked-after children and ran between January 2016 and October 2018. They will be joined by some of the young people who were involved in the study.

The event will also be attended by the Children’s Commissioner and senior colleagues from the Department for Education, Ofsted and the Association of Young People’s Health.

Dr Sandford, Senior Lecturer in Young People and Sport, said: “The study involved a review of policy documents and online surveys with care experienced youth and those adults who work with them, as well as participatory focus group discussions and narrative interviews with care experienced young people (CEYP).

“Through the study we used the conversations with young people to develop concept cartoons that helped to illustrate aspects of their experiences and tell their stories.

“We have shared these cartoons with both CEYP and adults who work with them (e.g. carers and PE teachers) and they have proved to be a valuable means of initiating conversation and building understanding about the lived experiences of CEYP.”

The study was jointly undertaken with Dr Thomas Quarmby, at Leeds Beckett University, as well as Loughborough colleague, Dr Rebecca Duncombe.