FAST programme uses targeted approach to tackle inequalities
Posted: Wed, 20 Feb 2019 08:46
Cherwell District Council are delivering a four-year Sport England funded project to engage families from targeted areas in physical activity. The project focusing on the wards of Neithrop, Ruscote and Grimsbury where there are clear inequalities including life expectancy being nine years lower for Ruscote residents than other parts of Cherwell district and obesity levels for year six pupils being 11% higher than the average for England.
The programme offers a FREE block of 12 weeks activity for families in various settings along with support and resource packs to help parents and children continue to participate in their own time. The project has a referral system through School Headteachers, OCC troubled Families, Sanctuary Housing and GPs to ensure families with the greatest need are those who benefit.
Partners are also being encouraged to make activity more accessible by offering heavily subsidised sessions. For example a family swim (for family of 5) has been reduced from £13 to £3.
Cherwell District Council Youth Activators deliver free informal physical activities for young people in community, schools and more recently family settings. Using alternate sports and multi skill games to help to build confidence in sport encourage, team work and break down the normal barriers of physical education to allow for young people to grow in a smaller environment. The Youth Activators deliver activities for targeted young people to engage in positive activities with the aim emphasis being fun. The games that are focused on have three areas gross motor skills, Cognitive decision making and team work. These skills are then hopefully transferable to many sports and games and so help create a strong basis that can be built upon in the future while still allowing the students to have fun and use these skills without having the focus of 'sport' which can be off putting to many young people.
More recently the Cherwell Youth Activators have been working a new FAST programme (families active sporting together) which has been a huge success, attendances have been fantastic and its great to see so many families taking part in fun sporting activities whilst improving family relationships, something which is nice to see when taking the sessions. Additional community sessions are lead which are free to children in the district, once again these are multi-skill sports and games that they all enjoy taking part in.
The Cherwell Youth Activators have seen new friendships being made during these sessions and less anti social behaviour around the parks where some of the sessions take place, which once again shows the success of the programme. The aim is to link all these sessions- for example telling the families where the community sessions are and encouraging them to come along.
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