The Covid pandemic has had a huge impact on the ability for people to take part in and enjoy the sports they love.
However, as lockdown restrictions eased, Kent Sport has distributed £327,000 of funding from The Department for Education to open-up school facilities out-of-hours to support young people and the local community to re-engage with sport and physical activity.
Kent Sport – Kent and Medway Active Partnership – now wants to hear residents’ ideas for a new fund called Positive Activities for Young People.
This will be funded by part of Sport England’s £200,000 National Lottery investment into various children and young people programmes in Kent and Medway.
This new fund will continue to support groups of young people who are least likely to be active across the county, including those from ethnically diverse communities, financially deprived backgrounds, and children with long term health conditions or disabilities.
There is a simple online form to complete at http://www.kentsport.org/greatideas
The Partnership is concerned that about 55% of young people are not meeting the Chief Medical Officer’s guidelines in being active for one hour each day.
Sport can be perceived by some young people as boring, but others are reaping the social and therapeutic benefits of being physically active – research from a Kent project has revealed.
Over the last decade, 21,000 14-19 year-olds have been able to build healthy habits by taking part in the Satellite Clubs project delivered by Kent Sport. The programme has been funded by Sport England through National Lottery funding and has particularly helped those from less well-off backgrounds and disabilities.
The programme funds the extension of sports clubs, to provide them in youth clubs, secondary schools and colleges to make them easier for young people to take part in.
“Giving young people choice and a voice about the activities offered is the winning formula,” said Daniel Bromley, the Satellite Clubs Development Officer.
The range of activities has been wide, with around 60 different ways to get moving to choose from. Even during the pandemic 35 different online activities have enabled young people to stay active as well as socialising with their peers.
Examples of activities provided by the scheme include:
Handball clubs being developed in 30 venues with around 1200 participants, as well as introductory courses to teaching handball being available for teachers across the county.
Boxing and BoxFit were identified as activities that less active young people would like to try, and over the last eight years over 3500 young people have taken part in 97 satellite boxing clubs. Many of the young people taking part have special educational and physical needs.
Mr Gavin Bright, Head of Physical Education at Saint George’s School in Gravesend said:
“Most of these pupils are not the most active or sporty, but they’ve really become engrossed in the boxing.”
A new badminton club at Canterbury Academy has utlised funding to purchase new equipment and then staged tournaments with teams wearing fancy dress.
Folkestone Academy chose cheerleading sessions which enabled 20 young women to take part in.
Teacher Lily Mclaughin, said: “Some pupils are less active, others are not the best behaved, however by introducing cheerleading we have had a positive impact on these students. Behaviour improved and our school had a real buzz about it.”
Since the start of the pandemic many of these activities moved online and those unable to access online activity were temporally provided with equipment bags to continue their physical activity.
Dick Fedorcio, Chair of the Kent and Medway Active Partnership, said: “Our aim is to get more people across Kent and Medway to be more active, more often, to enjoy healthy lives.
“These funded programmes are enabling young people to have an amazing choice of attractive activities – giving them the foundations for an active life.”
- The Kent and Medway Active Partnership – Kent Sport is an integrated team of Kent County Council and Sport England funded staff working together as the Active Partnership for Kent and Medway. It is part of a nationwide network of 43 Active Partnerships.
It provides a strategic lead on sport and physical activity so that all people and organisations may work together towards a more active county.
Partners and networks include:
- governing bodies of sport
- school sports networks
- local authorities
- adult social care
- community safety
Together we aim to provide opportunities for everyone to get involved in sport and physical activity for enjoyment, as well as wider health and social outcomes. www.kentsport.org