As well as art – and a range of social activities – enhancing the mental wellbeing of participants, MPs clearly believe involvement in grassroots sport has stalled since the successful staging of the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics.
Yet, as exemplified by so many footballers who are enjoying Premier League and Champions League success after overcoming challenging childhoods, team sports can change lives for the better because of the focus on important attributes like team work, fitness and respect.
As Tory MP Damian Collins, the committee’s much respected chair, says in the findings: “We cannot break the debilitating cycle of gang violence and knife crime just by arresting those who commit offences.” He is right. Yet, while this report does, to its credit, focus on the positive work taking place in many communities across the North, he also concludes that “there is a lack of a credible agenda to harness the power of culture and sport across government” and that schools should be “extending their cultural and sporting provision where it can be shown that it improves results across the board”. If Ministers don’t act, it will be yet another policy own goal – and, once again, entirely of their own making.