Plymouth’s sporting future in the spotlight

The future shape of sport in Plymouth is being discussed today at a strategic summit hosted by the University of St Mark & St John.

Organised in partnership with the Council and supported by the Plymouth Sports Board, the Plymouth City Sport Summit is bringing together the UK’s leading experts to look at ways that partners can work together to increase participation in sport and identify priorities for future investment.

Its aim is to deliver a city-wide plan for sport that will follow the strategic direction set out in the Plymouth Plan, which is looking ahead to 2031 and beyond.

As part of the summit programme, University Vice-Chancellor Professor Cara Aitchison will chair panel debates on sport and economic growth for the city. She said: “We have the research and evidence to demonstrate that sport and physical activity aid learning, build individuals’ resilience, foster teamwork and lead to healthy and cohesive families and communities. But sport also requires sustainable economic foundations.

“This is true for families seeking to support their children in sport, as well as professional clubs seeking, and sometimes struggling, to sustain their long-standing reputations. Our city must recognise the importance of sport as a catalyst for cultural development, economic growth and in attracting people to live and work in Plymouth.”

Deputy Council Leader Peter Smith said: “Sport and physical activity have a major role to play in every workplace, school and community and the health and wellbeing benefits cannot be emphasised enough. The University of St Mark & St John has a leading reputation in this field, which is why it was one of our priorities to partner up and host this important event for the city.”

Lisa O’Keefe, Insight Director from Sport England will be keynote speaker, along with academic experts from the University of St Mark & St John and Olympic swimming coach Jon Rudd. Initiatives to boost the business sector will be discussed by the Council, the Plymouth Growth Board and Plymouth Chamber of Commerce. Sports specialists from Edinburgh University, Canterbury Christchurch University, Sheffield Hallam University and Glasgow City Council will also be attending the event.