Children and Young People
With a clear focus and priority on raising the number of children’s positive attitudes towards physical activity, and as a result increasing activity levels among young people, Active Essex have utilised extensive research, co-designed a countywide campaign, and embedded themselves across a number of different sectors this year. This has enabled them to significantly contribute to the vision set out within Fit for the Future – to ensure every child has the best start in life, whereby they are active, healthy and happy.
From engaging schools with
CPD offers and inspiring them to get involved in initiatives to increasing children’s aspirations to participate in physical activity, they are working to create the right
environments and inclusive communities that provide the opportunities for young
people to be active. The work has been wide ranging to
target not only children and young people, but those that influence and inspire
Inclusive and supportive schools and communities
Supporting schools to deliver high quality PE and school sport and developing a highly skilled and dynamic workforce, has been the motivation behind a successful Essex School Games programme, Key Stage 1 Award scheme, PE conference and FA Girls’ Football partnership festivals.
The 2023 School Games programme included a county cross-country event, Rounders competitions, Cricket finals and TEES golf competitions. The School Games calendar was also refreshed this year, to include the Teach Active and Essex Year of Numbers initiatives, alongside an enhanced offer of Panathlon and The Daily Mile. The School Games programme also included targeted initiatives, such as ECO friendly projects and the set up of School Sport Youth Boards.
In order to address the lack of positive attitudes associated with physical activity from children and young people in Essex, Youth Boards have been consulted with to ensure School Games events, and other county-wide initiatives are relatable for young people. This evidence has also contributed considerably to the foundation of the Essex campaign, Move With Us.
It's important to take time to reflect and understand the learnings from work undertaken, in order to focus on ways to improve in the future.
Increased workload among teachers remains a challenge to attract them for CPD courses.
Listening to young people helps to build the right opportunities to engage them in activity.
High level of engagement for more competitive opportunities relating to School Games.
The second year of Opening Schools Facilities (OSF) funding has been rolled out, with over half a million pounds committed to 40 schools across the county, supporting institutes to open their facilities past the school day.
This has led to spaces for
physical activity opening for communities to access new opportunities. Not only
is this benefitting the school environment and children’s activity levels but
benefiting the wider access to sport for community residents.
Take a look at our case study
Providing fun, safe, inclusive and positive experiences
Following Active Essex’s involvement on the Children’s Partnership Board, it was expressed as a desire to produce a children’s campaign to increase activity levels, get young people outside and boost children’s mental wellbeing.
With the Active Partnership leading on this agenda, the team worked alongside the Essex County Council Data and Insight team to conduct 7 focus groups to gain insight and understanding of barriers, motivators, and attitudes towards physical activity from young people living in the county.
Read more about Move With Us
In order to ensure experiences of physical activity are deemed positive, the Children and Young People Strategic Team developed a range of workshops to strengthen the sectors understanding of physical literacy and its relationship with getting children active. This included a well-attended workshop at the Share-Connect-Collaborate networking event, the PE Conference and a course in Health and Safety in PE.
Active Essex were successful in receiving Path to Paris funding, and an engagement plan was drawn up which is now underway. Conversations took place with the BOA, Multi-Schools Council and a focus group with Mistley Kids community group to gain insight from children and parents around the current local physical activity opportunities, how this initiative could build upon the foundations already set, and to understand where the gaps are.
The funding received has helped to initiate participation in SEND schools across the county for paralympic sports, to support the lead up to the newly rebranded Special School Games, now named Invincible Games.
Resilient children and young people
A partnership with the Youth Sport Trust saw a new programme called Active in Mind begin in September, with 120 school staff trained through virtual and face-to-face training, the recruitment of 40 young Mental Health champions and 120 children supported through athlete-led targeted Active in Mind programmes.
Huge successes also came for
the Active Essex Foundation, after they were successful in receiving funding
from the National Lottery for a new project using sport and physical
activity to support young people with poor mental health. Working across the
county, the project will work with local organisations to help over 2,000 young
people who are struggling with their mental health. In addition, the work of
the Active Essex Foundation has allowed Active Essex to demonstrate to the
Youth Justice System that sport is an effective tool to enhance positive
outcomes for young people.
Read more about the Active Essex Foundation
Safe and accessible neighbourhoods
This year, schools have continued their Active Travel plans, following the funding from the School Active Travel grant, with thanks to London Marathon Foundation, as a result of Ford RideLondon-Essex.
Encouraging safe neighbourhoods and developing existing spaces has led to a strong partnership continuing with ParkPlay. 14 locations are now engaged with families and young people attending and utilising their green space.
At the beginning of the year, Active Essex aimed to ensure 100 young people from a lower-socio economic background would receive a free bike through the Essex Pedal Power programme. However, this has since increased to 200 bikes being distributed to eligible children on Canvey Island through the CPR School Sports Partnership, and 245 children bikes given out through the Harwich and Dovercourt programme.
Stable and thriving families
Recognising the wider family unit, and influence of parents, the Children and Young People team have prioritised creating stable, secure and resilient families to make healthy lifestyle choices.
A key portfolio of Active
Essex’s family work is the Essex ActivAte, Holiday Activity and Food programme,
engaging with over 10,000 children and young people throughout the school
holidays. Surveys collected at the end of each holiday helped to provide
insight that children’s knowledge and skills have improved, developed more positive attitudes towards physical activity and now feel confident when taking
part; all contributing towards Active Essex’s aims.
Read more about Essex ActivAte
With the goal of
collaborating with system partners to hardwire physical activity to local
place-based work for children and families, Active Essex hub teams have
representation at all four quadrant children’s partnership boards, which has
enhanced relationships and knowledge when attending the county board.
Aligning the Find Your Active
Small Grants fund to the Essex County Council Early Years Charter, has helped
to ensure all organisations delivering to under 5’s, must be signed up to the
early years charter to receive physical activity training. To build upon this,
Active Essex have engaged with the Essex County Council Early Years team, to
plan future CPD and an Early Years award criteria has been drafted to align
with the Key Stage 1 Award. Providing recognition into setting areas that deliver positive
experiences, in line with Department of Education guidelines and framework, has been prevalent to this piece of work.