Council backs scheme to help children achieve sporting ambitions

A successful scheme which supports children to achieve their sporting ambitions has received funding backing from Westmorland and Furness Council.

Step Up and Play gives four to 11-year-olds in Barrow the opportunity to attend local sports clubs by transporting and escorting children to training, practice and competitions.

The programme involves pupils from four schools: Sacred Heart Catholic Primary School, St George’s CE Primary School, Greengate Junior School and Ramsden Infant and Nursery School. The partnership helps to increase physical activity, participation in regular sporting club events and breaks down barriers by providing transport so children can access sport outside of school.

Step Up and Play has enabled 135 children to receive regular training at sports clubs and 60 children to represent a club in a competitive environment. A survey showed that 67 per cent of Step Up and Play families polled would not have had children involved with a sports club without the scheme.

Westmorland and Furness Council’s Furness Locality Board has agreed to fund Step Up and Play with £12,000 for this year, a third of the annual cost to run the project. The councillors also agreed to an annual funding request of £12,000 for the Step Up and Play project for the next three years, subject to availability of annual budget allocations to the locality board.

Councillor Tony Callister, Chair of the Furness Locality Board, said:

“I am delighted we have been able to support this vital scheme which gives children the opportunity to join a local sports club that they may not otherwise be able to. The aim of the council’s locality boards is to work closely with our communities and support them on issues such as this that are important to their area.

“This project will not only allow children to meet new friends and enjoy more active free time but help to support their long-term health and wellbeing through improving life skills such as teamwork, providing a sense of pride and belonging, and developing resilience.”

Steve Herbert, Headteacher of St George’s CE Primary School, said:

“This funding is vital to ensure that kids in central Barrow get as many opportunities as possible over a sustainable time. I thank Furness Locality Board for showing a strong understanding of that. As well as my school partners I must thank Furness Education and Skills Partnership as without their expertise we couldn’t have got off the ground. Belonging to a team and finding a sport isn’t just about physical development, it’s that sense of belonging.”


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