BASC has urged the Welsh government to encourage state schools to promote shooting sports as a way of making young people more active.

BASC has focused on shooting’s health benefits in its written submission to the Health, Social Care and Sport Committee’s inquiry into physical activity of children and young people.

Highlighting statistics from the Personal Value of Shooting Study completed last year, the UK’s largest shooting organisation has called for young people in state schools to be given the same opportunity as those in private education.

Dr Peter Marshall, BASC’s best practice development officer, said: “Participation in shooting is growing, with at least 76,000 active participants in Wales. Shooting is open to all backgrounds, ages and abilities and is an activity that people can take part in throughout their lives. Education is a key part in learning to shoot which will instil good habits and high standards.

“Many children from private schools get to enjoy shooting as part of their extra curricula activities. However, these opportunities do not seem to be afforded to children at state schools.

“School children should be given the same opportunities whatever their background or education. It’s important to remember that shooting is a socially inclusive sport, which is safe, fun and in which boys and girls can compete on an even keel.”

The Personal Value of Shooting Study reported that 88 per cent of those who shoot felt it provided them with moderate to high intensity exercise while 92 per cent of those who responded believed they would spend less time on outdoor recreation if their involvement in shooting stopped.

Dr Marshall added: “Shooting is a good tool for getting children out of the classroom and engaging them with the countryside. The health benefits to being in the outdoors are well evidenced and should be available to as many young people as possible.

“BASC welcomes the Welsh government’s decision to analyse the physical activity levels of its schoolchildren and hope shooting will be recognised for the opportunities it provides.”

In its response to the consultation, BASC has offered to provide shooting introductory days to Welsh schools based around the association’s previous engagement with the pioneering West Rise Junior School in Eastbourne.

Duncan Greaves, BASC council member for Wales, said: “BASC is open to running introductory days to shooting sports in Welsh state schools.

“We have provided primary school children at West Rise Junior with an annual opportunity to have a go at clay pigeon shooting, air rifle shooting and learning about the important role that shooting plays in the management and conservation of the British countryside. It has proven extremely popular with the children and is a model which could be rolled out elsewhere.”

Garry Doolan

Garry Doolan is BASC’s deputy director of communications and public affairs. He has more than 20 years experience of journalism and the media. He joined the organisation in 2016 and is a keen shooter and beater, with his springer spaniel Quincy.

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