20 SEPTEMBER 1940, Page 12


SIR,—I feel sure that the great majority of those connected with youth organisations will be as doubtful as your Parliamentary Correspondent about the prospect of success of Mr. Ramsbotham's new scheme for the physical training of youth. The much advertised and well-staffed National Fitness Council was, despite a lot of very hard work, able to achieve very little in as two brief years of existence. This was be- cause it encountered two problems for which there was no rapid, and sometimes no possible, solution. They are : t, Lack of suitable accommodation, and very often lack of space where suitable accommodation could be erected. 2. Shortage of good leaders and

instructors. .

It is obvious that wartime requirements will still further increase the problems of accommodation and instructors, while the always difficult task of getting young people together in the evening will be additionally complicated by their longer hours of work, the black-aut and the air-raids. If public money is to be spent—as it certainly needs to be—on maintaining and improving the health of our young workpeople during this war, I suggest it would be far better spent on good welfare work in the factories than on the attempted provision of physical training facilities in the evenings.

Personal supervision, good medical attendance, good canteens and well-equipped rest and recreation rooms in all our factories would uo far more for the health of the 54-2o age-group than all the gymnasia and instructors in the world. And the provision of these amenities is a practical possibility!—Yours faithfully,