As we entered our second national lockdown, talented gymnast Isabelle Priestley (First Form) took it upon herself to speak out and wrote a letter to Boris Johnson and the local MP party to voice her concerns about the closure of gyms and youth sports centres. As a result of having no indoor sporting activities, Isabelle projected her feelings about how this decision is affecting children around the country.
You can read Isabelle’s letter below:
Dear Mr Johnson and Mrs Grant,
In the light of last night’s press briefing by Boris Johnson, I feel I should write to you directly about withdrawing indoor sporting activities.
Sport has been my life for 11 years, I have never had something that I could count on more than it, and over the first lockdown, I really struggled. It affected my mental health negatively, self-doubt and pressure issues, so I really want you to consider keeping youth sports open during the second lockdown. I completely respect your opinion and the severity of the pandemic and the death rates at this moment of time, however, sport is very important to young people as it teaches discipline, drive and endeavour which you carry forward later on in life, and this is something you can’t learn in school.
My dream is to represent the country and I have finally been given the opportunity to follow the pathway. I have worked so hard for ages and all this hard work isn’t for nothing, I want to achieve it and I will one day. I am 11 years old, I train 26 hours a week and have one of the best coaches in Great Britain. I have been given an opportunity of a lifetime and I don’t want it to go waste. Lockdown means more and more time away from the gym which puts me further and further away from achieving my dream to represent the country. The first lockdown put me so far behind and I have had to work very hard to get back there again. I have lost and gained my skills and it was a really tough time.
The gym is very safe; we are all following the Government guidelines, from the two-metre social distancing rule to sanitising the equipment, our coaches clean all the equipment twice before the other girls go on it later in the day and our groups are very small which is a very good thing to do. Our coaches wear masks and are safe from COVID-19, so I would really like you to consider my points and take them in carefully.
Isabella Priestley, 11 years old
You can read the reply from Helen Whately MP here.
Well done Isabelle for making your voice heard, we are very impressed that you took this initiative.