Rosie Meek, Professor of Criminological Psychology in the Law School at Royal Holloway, was recently invited to discuss her research at 10 Downing Street, to raise awareness of the importance of sport and physical activity for the physical health and wellbeing of young people.
Professor Meek’s presentation was part of a wider conversation on child obesity and the necessity for schools to open sport facilities out of term-time in order to benefit those from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Speaking alongside Lawrence Dallaglio, the ex-England rugby captain and Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson, the former Paralympic champion, who are lobbying for schools to be encouraged to make their sports facilities available to pupils during the summer months, Professor Meek presented findings from her research into sport and physical activity as a positive way of engaging with people in the Criminal Justice System.
Last year, Professor Meek undertook a review, commissioned by the Ministry of Justice, to identify the vital role sport and physical activity can play in rehabilitation and reducing re-offending in young people.
The review highlighted how engaging in structured programmes can help to teach those caught up in the Criminal Justice System self-discipline, team work and leadership
Speaking of the event at Downing Street, Professor Meek said: “It was an honour to be asked to speak about the work I’ve been doing around the wide ranging benefits of physical activity in making our communities safer.
“The findings from my research show how sport can have a positive influence, not only on an individual’s health and fitness, but their overall wellbeing, helping young people with often complex behavioural issues to change their attitudes and lifestyles, while also improving relationships with professionals.
“We’re hopeful people will realise the importance of this, and back our initiative to encourage schools to open up their sports facilities over the holidays, so pupils can maintain their physical and mental wellbeing out of term-time to ensure positive development.”