I have been pleased to see so many local organisations focused on our wellbeing, says Grantham MP
Last week we experienced the summer solstice, the longest day of the year, with 16 hours and forty three minutes of daylight, writes Grantham and Stamford MP Gareth Davies.
I am sure many of us associate summer’s longer days and better weather with good times and wellbeing, whether that’s relaxing on holiday or open-air activities.
However, sport is not just for summer, and wellbeing is just as much an all-round thing. We can see this closer to home, where Grantham Tennis Club was recently honoured as ‘Club of the Year’ at the LTA National Tennis Awards. Part of what makes Grantham Tennis Club so fantastic is the specialist sessions it runs year-round for those with mental health issues, as well as the weekly drop-ins for people with learning disabilities or who use a wheelchair.
Another incredible local initiative, which I have written about in these pages before, is ‘Inspire+’. Across South Kesteven, they are improving the wellbeing of our children by providing sports programmes for schools and mentoring for students suffering low confidence.
I am a strong supporter of access to sport being supported by long-term funding. So I was pleased by recent national announcements of £320 million of PE and Sport Premium for the next two years. This includes £11 million for the ‘School Games’ programme to give particularly passionate and talented young people the opportunity to compete.
Outside of sports specifically, it was great to represent a great British institution that has done so much to enhance the wellbeing of young people through a variety of activities: the scouts. I was only too ready to volunteer to help promote the ‘Celebration of Scouting and Volunteer Recruitment Day’ by wearing a scout necker in the House of Commons chamber (right).
In fact, the Scouts themselves have an initiative to create 10,000 ‘Wellbeing Champions’ by first educating members in the components of wellbeing - to connect, to be active, to take notice, to learn, and to give - and then encouraging them to take action not just as individuals, but also sharing these resources and helping others improve their wellbeing.
Of course, wellbeing is not just physical, but also mental. I was reminded in my recent meeting with Kidney Research UK, a charity which supports those with kidney illnesses. I was struck by their research which shows that over two-thirds of kidney patients experience depression. They are absolutely right to highlight that it is vital for the wellbeing of patients that this important side of treatment is not overlooked.
I am pleased we have so many people and organisations locally who are increasingly focused on wellbeing. It is easy to get distracted with the day-to-day responsibilities of life, but crucially we must all take care of ourselves and others for a happy and healthy life.