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We’re helping Wolverhampton youngsters get more active

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Did you know that in 2020-21 only 44.6 per cent of children and young people aged 5–16 in England met the guidelines of taking part in sport and physical activity for an average of 60 minutes or more every day?

Government policy aims that children and young people should get 30 minutes of their daily physical activity through the school day and 30 minutes outside of school, with activity being of at least moderate intensity.

For those growing up in urban and inner-city areas, there may be a range of obstacles which prevent youngsters from getting the recommended amount of exercise each day such as:

  • Concerns about crime and antisocial behaviour
  • Not being allowed to play outside or away from home
  • The cost of activities and equipment
  • Road safety on the journey to parks and leisure facilities

GreenSquareAccord, Planning for Real and TLC College have been commissioned by Wolverhampton Voluntary and Community Action (WVCA) to work with children attending school in St Peters Ward, Wolverhampton, to gain a deeper understanding of what barriers exist to increased physical activity and how they can be overcome.

The project will involve Wolverhampton schoolchildren at every step and seek to find interventions which will help them become more physically active. Predicted to draw to a close in Spring 2023, the project will be delivered in four distinct stages:

Stage one (Autumn 2022): The project team will work with local children, aged 9-11, and young people to explore what they understand about physical activity, what activities they might enjoy and any barriers that are currently in place which prevent youngsters from taking part in them.

Stage two (Winter 2022): Working with small groups of key stage 2 children, the project team will co-design ideas to boost physical activity in the St Peters area.

Stage three (Early 2023): A fund of £60,000 will be available to deliver agreed interventions that respond to the needs, gaps and ideas identified

Stage four (Spring 2023): The funded physical activity interventions will begin and we will measure their success.

Our Head of Planning for Real Unit Margaret Wilkinson said: “We are working with partners in Wolverhampton to gain a rich understanding of what being physically active looks like through the eyes of children so we can pilot appropriate interventions.

“Our hope is that one of the outcomes of the project will be increased access to activities which are designed for and by young people.”

To date, the project team has held several mapping sessions with pupils at West Park Primary School, SS Peter & Paul Catholic Primary Academy and Dunstall Hill Primary School to understand what the current level of provision is for sport, games and recreation and what the children would like to see in future. More sessions will be held involving local schools early in the new year.