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Sport and fitness for today’s youth

Key groups ‘can’t condone fitness craze’ By Lyndsey Smith TWO key organisations have distanced themselves from a fitness craze that encourages young people to jump over everyday obstacles such as walls, park benches and litter bins. Parkour and similar free-running schemes are seen by many teenagers as cool and trendy because they have featured in music videos and films. And while some forms are done indoors with proper safety procedures in place, others are simply done on streets, raising concerns participants could easily injure themselves. The Association for Physical Education and British Gymnastics say they can’t condone them until safety concerns are addressed – and a proper governing body to regulate the activity is put in place. Glen Beaumont, health and safety officer for afPE, added: “As an organisation primarily concerned with safety guidance relating to physical activity within education, we see the urban activity as essentially gymnastic activity on concrete and you wouldn’t find a gymnast performing without safety mats. “The introduction of an increasing number of schemes and initiatives

seeking to introduce and progress parkour in educational provision has prompted our involvement.” Glen stressed it was purely the outdoor elements of the activity they could not support: “We can support parkour related activity indoors but not purist parkour. I had an initial enquiry about this subject from a PE advisor who had a group coming to deliver parkour in an indoor after school club. “We had no problems with that whatsoever – the guy taking the sessions was a level three gymnastic coach - and there were no safety issues. “However we are aware that outdoor activity is happening in some schools maybe from the kids’ own initiatives, maybe not, but we know it is happening, and in the absence of an advisory body we can’t condone it as we are very concerned that it is not regulated.” Both organisations say they will review their stance if an NGB is set up and if specially constructed facilities are built. Glen added: “It is a stalemate but there is a glimmer of hope. We can’t go beyond indoor provision at the moment but I have seen a couple of plans for specialist facilities, purpose built parks with safety surfaces and if this happens we will look at the situation again.”

March 2009 £2.75

PE ‘doesn’t help kids lose weight’

Strictly Come Dancing stars Darren Bennett and Lilia Kopylova have launched a new programme to teach Latin and ballroom dancing in schools. Essentially Dance will be run along with Darren’s brother Dale Bennett – director of dance studio City Limits – and PE expert Sue Cooper, a former school sports partnership development manager. The scheme is being piloted in 30 primary and secondary schools and will be rolled out across the country in time for the new school year in September. Full story: Page 3

A NEW review published by the Cochrane Library has suggested that while PE lessons are good for overall fitness levels they actually do nothing to help children lose weight. A review of 26 studies of different PE programmes across Europe, Australia, South America and North America, found they had little effect on children’s weight, or the amount of sport played outside of school. However, classes did help lower cholesterol levels and increased fitness and lung capacity, but teaching families to eat more healthily and take more exercise were more relevant in helping children become slimmer. Researchers warned the reason games lessons were ineffective might be because children disliked them and Maureen Dobbins, lead researcher at the school of nursing, McMaster University, Ontario, said: “PE classes may be too closely associated with school work. Perhaps the key is to promote physical activity by getting children and adolescents to play in ways that promote better fitness levels, while at the same time represent fun and adventurous activities.”

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Kids get in the mood for dancing with Strictly duo

Getting kids fit without them realising

By Mary Ferguson A NEW initiative to get children active through ballroom and Latin dancing has been launched by Strictly Come Dancing stars Darren Bennett and Lilia Kopylova. Essentially Dance will be run along with Darren’s brother Dale Bennett – director of dance studio City Limits – and PE expert Sue Cooper, a former school sports partnership development manager. It’s the first package to be launched in the UK that will train school staff to teach children from key stages one to five, of all abilities. Schools will receive training for two staff, to be used alongside a DVD with demonstrations from Darren and Lilia, a CD with music and booklets guiding them through the dances. The scheme is currently being piloted in 30 schools across England and following evaluations, will be rolled out across the country in time for the new school year in September. Sue Cooper, the national coordinator for Essentially Dance, told Future Fitness: “The reaction so far from the pilot schemes has been phenomenal.

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‘Parents’ motives should be questioned’ Page 9

Darren and Lilia with school children in Barnsley “Many schools run after-school dance activities but that misses out a lot of children– our aim is to embed this into the national curriculum so all pupils get chance to take part.” Darren Bennett, who has been touring the pilot schools with Lilia, said: “This package has been designed to build on what schools already offer and get even more people involved . “PE activities like cross country running and netball still have their

place but it’s about giving kids more choice.” Sue hopes the schools that take up the programme will run regular dance showcases, giving the pupils something to aim for. She added: “We are also encouraging teachers to identify those children with a particular talent or passion for dance and encourage them to start attending a local dance school. “It’s about participation through to excellence.”

Children vie for activity weekend places By Lyndsey Smith AN AWARD-winning school sports partnership is running a competition to offer kids the chance to take part in an activity weekend. Torbay SSP won the national award for school games at the last School Sports Conference, and the prize was a weekend to Osmington Bay, PGL Centre, Weymouth for 40 students. It was decided kids would take part in the ‘Suggest An Event’ competition where they would come up with an activity to be included in the school games in

June. John Julyan, PDM, said: “The idea came about quite simply – how on earth were we supposed to pick 40 kids? “This helps us decide but also gives the kids something to focus on and will be a starting point for the run up to the games.” The competition is open to year six and seven pupils who will be asked to come up with an event archery, volleyball, table tennis, boccia, dance mats, badminton and tetrathlon are already included so they have to suggest something different.

Contacts Editor: Andrew Harrod - Tel: 01226 734639 Reporters: Lyndsey Smith – Tel: 01226 734472 Louise Cordell – Tel: 01226 734694 Sales and Marketing Director: Tony Barry Sales and Product Manager: James Dickson Tel: 01226 734672 Sales Executives: Sarah Young Tel: 01226 734709 Studio Manager: Stewart Holt Deputy group editor: Judith Halkerston Circulation enquiries to: Kelly Tarff Tel: 01226 734695

John Julyan




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Boxing bid to round up youths By Mary Ferguson A SUFFOLK sports programme is using free boxing lessons to engage youngsters at risk of becoming involved with crime and anti-social behaviour. The sessions – taking place in Stowmarket – are run by Positive Futures, part of a national initiative that aims to influence young people's lives by providing access to personal development opportunities through the use of sport and physical activity. Boys and girls between ten and 18 have been taking part in the classes, held at a youth club, which have been organised following a successful summer programme of football and dance. Project coordinator Paul Knight told Future Fitness: “We had a huge take-up for our summer programme which launched in Stowmarket last year, so applied for funding to put on an indoor activity over the winter months. “Boxing is a great way for youngsters to release aggression in a safe and controlled environment and we have been really pleased with the take-up.” Both boys and girls take part in the sessions, which run for 20 weeks at 8pm on a Thursday night. Paul said the day and time was chosen carefully, after consultation

Youngsters taking part in the sports programme with local police. “Police statistics show that most youth crime is committed on a Thursday and Friday between eight and ten and since we have been running the boxing programme, that has gone down 25 per cent. The sessions can be used to get fit, meet new people, burn

off some steam and learn the discipline that goes with the sport." The next step for the programme is to take some of the participants to a professional boxing club in nearby Ipswich, owned by the instructor who takes the classes. Paul added: “Some of the kids have shown a real talent for boxing

and it would be wonderful if they cold take that forward.” The Positive Futures project has been running in Suffolk since 2002 and is a joint partnership between Sport England, the Youth Justice Board and the United Kingdom Anti-Drugs Coordination Unit.

New resistance area in £50k university scheme By Lyndsey Smith THE RESISTANCE area at a university has been transformed as part of a £50,000 scheme. The refurbishment project at St Paul’s Sports Centre at the University of Portsmouth has so far seen the CV room overhauled and dumbbells, racks and benches have been replaced in the freeweights area. Dan Tilley, director of sport, said the four floor fitness suite has seen an uptake in users. He added: “Our equipment and the room itself was a bit outdated and following other work to the centre it was time to catch up. “The funding meant we could purchase equipment that was truly functional to replace our old equipment, as well as acquiring additional pieces and the suite now incorporates Cybex and Keiser equipment.” The gym has 40 cardio-vascular

machines, an extensive free weights area, 24 resistance machines and a number of designated matted areas that can be used for stretching, abdominal and core work. The gym is open to the public but the majority of the 5000 members are students. Dan said: “The gym has been much busier since the upgrade and we trying to encourage students to make the transition and start using all areas of the gym.” The centre also offers a range of therapies including Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy, suited for those suffering from sport injuries, and houses a physiotherapy drop in centre. Dan said: “This has proved very popular. We offer post rehabilitation training with free advice and treatment for soft tissue injuries and we have been able to offer a more complete service thanks to the new equipment.”

Right coach can be crucial CHOOSING the right coach can be key to getting youngsters involved in sport, an expert has revealed. Alison Oliver, director of sport at the Youth Sport Trust, said having the right person leading sessions is an important factor – and young people can respond particularly well when being coached by someone who is close in age to them.

Alison said: “Getting young people involved in sport can come down to the type of person leading it. The coach is pretty key and if young people can relate to them, they will feel valued and positive about getting involved. Young people also respond well to their peers so having a young leader can be a fantastic inspiration.”

05 Pulse



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Tutors in a spin over pole demo By Lyndsey Smith


A POLE dancing demonstration for kids as young as 14 has sparked a huge row following complaints by tutors at South Devon college.

“It boils down to ignorance. People think there is some sort of sexual element to the teaching and don’t understand pole dancing at gymnastic level and the fitness levels involved.

The fitness demonstration by The Art of Dance was given as part of the college's Be Healthy week in front of 1,000 pupils, aged 14 to 19 but was branded ‘disruptive’ by staff when pupils started swapping mobile phone footage and pictures. Owner Sam Remmer, who performed, said she was led to believe there were complaints from teachers who hadn’t attended her demonstration, but deemed it inappropiate for their pupils. She added: “When I returned for my second demonstration I was told to move inside the sports hall and away from the main public area as there had been a number of

“I still call it pole dancing because it is a fusion of gymnastics and dance and it is that dance element that makes it fluid and graceful. “You look at some music videos, ones that are highly sexual, and I’m not doing anything like that – I am just teaching alternative fitness.” Sam was told many students had filmed her performance on their mobiles and this was seen as a disruptive influence by staff who claimed it was highly distracting. Footage was also on the YouTube website which the college told Sam to remove but she refused.

"I was told pupils were distracted from lessons because they were swapping pictures and videos but there were other demonstrations which pupils were filming. “I said I would do the demonstration for free providing I could post videos on the internet and use them as advertising. It was after these were displayed that pressure from the college increased.” Sam is annoyed this has caused negative stereotypes about pole dancing to be re-enforced and she is determined to try to change people’s perceptions. “When I say to someone I teach pole dancing I get the usual smutty comments but we need to carry on with what we are doing, with our demonstrations and health promotions. “We have a steering group and we hope to form a national advisory group to make sure there are clear

sets of guidelines in place as you can get bad practise in this as well as any other discipline. “You may have an ex lap dancer with no fitness qualifications going out there to teach and that can’t be allowed so regulating is all important. “The one thing I have learned from this experience is that if I go into schools again I will make sure we have a male demonstration too.” A college statement said: “By demonstrating different non-sporting ways to exercise and keep fit, our intention was to encourage students to think more broadly about health and fitness. “However, we are concerned that there has been negative publicity about the pole fitness demonstration and are therefore conducting an internal review of our procedures.”

Schools get temporary swimming pool offer SCHOOLS across London have been invited to use a temporary swimming pool for PE lessons. The 12-metre teaching pool – which is based at Lilian Baylis School in Lambeth in the sports hall – has seen sessions offered to those in years eight and nine. Jessica Dooley, PE teacher at Lilian Bayliss, said: “It is the first time, certainly since I have been here, that we have been able to offer swimming to the kids in curriculum time, so the pool has been extremely beneficial for us. “It is something different for them and they have all been extremely enthusiastic and the only problem we have encountered is there simply isn’t enough time. “We have to book the sessions and we are competing for time against

other schools but we have promised all the pupils they will have at least one session before the pool is removed. “It is a shame it isn’t something more permanent as more swimming can only be beneficial for the kids’ health and wellbeing.” Before coming to London, the pool toured the country and was used in schools in Birmingham, Sheffield and Manchester. It is part of a Pools In Schools initiative with Olympic bronze medallist Steve Parry which is sponsored by the Department for Children, Schools and Families. Ministers backed the scheme after many schools struggled to find a way to meet the national curriculum target of swimming 25 metres by the age of 12.

A project which set up to tackle anti-social behaviour in Lewisham is celebrating success. The Kickz scheme at Downham Leisure Centre has won the National Kickz Award for Team Achievement at a presentation at Wembley Stadium. Kay Skelton, contract manager at Downham, said: “There was no where for

young people to ‘hang out’ in the area and they had begun to use the centre as a meeting place, which at times was intimidating for our users and families. Kickz seemed like the perfect answer.” Kickz offers 12-18 year olds free activities three nights a week. It’s based on football skills but also offers advice on the dangers of getting involved in drugs and crime.

Pupils in Bristol get active thanks to a walk or bike to school scheme

School travel plan gets Bristol kids moving A SCHOOL in Bristol is running an incentive scheme which rewards children for walking or cycling to school by giving them prizes. St Mary’s C of E Primary School developed a travel plan for its 320 children and offers bonuses like free swimming sessions or healthy breakfasts to the most active students. Teacher Rachel Hill said: “The number of times a child walks or cycles to school is now recorded at school, and incentives such as free swimming sessions at the local swimming pool or badges are given to children that reach specified milestones. “Special breakfasts are also provided by our kitchen staff for those children who participate and arrive early at

the school. “Such incentives have proven to be very popular and have hugely contributed in changing behaviour and encouraging our children and young people to become more physically active. For us, I think the results speak for themselves.” The number of children either walking or cycling to school regularly has increased to over a third of all pupils since the project, run as part of the Healthy Schools Programme, has been active. Regular newsletters are sent home to parents to encourage them to keep on with the scheme. Year six pupils take cycling proficiency tests and money from fundraising paid for bike sheds.




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Jon’s competition bid to get PE teachers interested in triathlon By Lyndsey Smith A TRIATHLON development manager is hoping to launch a school’s competition to get PE teachers more interested in the sport. Jon Train, the regional development manager for London, said triathlon has found it hard to get onto the school agenda because some PE teachers think it is too hard and already have crowded timetables. He said: “We hold a London series of children’s events through our community clubs but it would be great if we could begin to establish some kind of school competition as well. “I can understand the time issue and we as a minority sport will always be out muscled by the bigger governing bodies – I mean no school will have any trouble filling a football team. “However the perception it is too hard is unfair. I am sure most schools teach cycling, running and

swimming separately so what is the difference in putting them together? “The distances for the kids are very doable – 12-year-olds have to swim 200m, cycle 6k and run 2k – they are not unrealistic.” Jon said Sport England funding had allowed more access to schools and there has been a growth in interest for the sport in kids between eight and 13 years old. He added: “We are trying to see a way forward and I think the key is to establishing good working relationships with PDMs utilising the more enthusiastic and proactive ones. “This is a great event for kids to take part in. “As well as keeping them physically active it also appeals to those who may not be into kicking a ball about and it can help confidence by taking away the embarrassment factor – if you come last in one event it doesn’t necessarily mean you will overall.”

Project boost for young disabled A PROJECT in London is aiming to provide children and young people with Down’s Syndrome the same benefits of being on a team as their able-bodied peers. DS Active has been running a weekly football scheme – the DS Tiger Cubs – for ages five to 25, to improve overall physical, social and emotional health. Anthony Doherty, football co-ordinator for people with disabilities, said: “While participants are learning physical skills, they are simultaneously increasing their own social and emotional abilities. “This will be one of the few times other than school where youngsters are interacting with adults other than their parents, and other people with DS. “Having the ability to train and play at a similar level increases their ability to reap all of the potential benefits, and this project aims to create a multi-tier learning environment.”

Jon Train




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Checks called for amid claims of false records EVERY school should be inspected to check how much PE is actually delivered amid claims some teachers may be falsely inflating their records. Bob Bellew, an independent PE consultant, says he has worked for many education authorities and found that while some may do the full two hours’ PE a week – others don’t actually use the full two hours for exercise. He said: “Schools that say they are doing two hours’ high quality PE aren’t necessarily. It’s very easy to tick a box when you are chasing your tail and there aren’t enough hours in the day. “The thing is teachers know no-one is likely to come in and check. Who comes in and monitors whether it is high quality? Where is the evidence? It’s not the teachers’ fault – it’s a slight in the system.” Bob believes there should be a monitoring system in place, where

inspectors would visit schools to clarify what PE is actually activity-based, and offer advice on how to improve. He added that swimming is one of the worst offenders for inflating activity statistics – and claims some schools may put a 90-minute swimming session on their records when most of the time has been spent getting to the pool and changing. Bob, an ex SSco, admits it is not an easy problem to solve because PE teachers might have limited time and budgets. He added: “I don’t want to come across as being controversial I am just challenging certain factors. “I know teachers who add up what they need to do in a week and it comes to 42 hours. “You are trying to do everything and there just isn’t the time and you see more and more schools now buying in specialists. I agree this is the way to go but it is a catch 22 situation as financial resources just aren’t there for everybody.”

Youngsters in Devon are finding a new way to keep fit, through Chinese ‘lion dance’ lessons being offered by a martial arts centre. Temple Gym in Torquay is offering classes to young people as part of the council’s Chill! campaign, designed to keep young people off the streets. Gym boss Derek Vernon told Future Fitness they practice the southern style of lion dance, a ceremony to exorcise evil spirits

and summon luck and fortune. Youngsters aged between six and 16 have started the classes at the gym, which also offers kung fu, kick boxing and weapons training, as well as lion dance for both youngsters and adults. Derek said: “There are a lot of skills involved in Lion dancing, many of which are practiced in Kung Fu. The dancing generates suppleness, stamina and balance and also provides a great aerobic workout.”

By Lyndsey Smith

Sport England touches down with £200k boost By Lyndsey Smith A PROJECT which runs rugby sessions in schools has been given almost £200,000 from Sport England to widen the scheme. The EDF Energy National Schools Rugby Union Programme began two years ago and this school year 42,000 pupils have signed up, meaning 112,000 eight to ten-year-olds will have taken part. More than 80 schools have signed up for projects with clubs to learn the basics of the game through tag rugby. Ray Wiltshire, EDF’s head of sponsorship, said: “To introduce rugby to

this many children is an incredible achievement for everyone involved, especially the clubs, who have been working with hundreds of schools and inspiring tens of thousands of youngsters. “It’s great for the youngsters and it’s exciting for the future of rugby, as the programme continues to bring on the next generation of fans and players.” Many schools get the chance to take part in tag rugby demonstration games at the EDF Energy Cup and Guinness Premiership fixtures, with more than 20 schools involved at the EDF Energy Cup semi-finals and final.

Athletes to attend special boot camp YOUNG athletes will discover what it takes to become the best after being handpicked to attend a special boot camp. The third national talent orientation camp, organised by the Youth Sport Trust, is for 80 youngsters aged 14 to 18. Each young athlete has been selected by their national governing body and sports involved are canoeing, sailing, rowing, cycling, hockey and wheelchair basketball. Steve Grainger, chief executive of the YST said: “The young athletes are approaching a crucial point in their sporting careers when they will be

making decisions about their future. We are offering them an insight into the world of performance sport while allowing them time to reflect on their talent and ability and challenging them to see if they believe it’s a pathway they want to pursue.” The camp, to be held at Loughborough University, aims to offer an insight into the world of performance sport while preparing athletes for different challenges . It will combine training sessions with workshops delivered by former Olympic and Paralympic athletes encouraging youngsters.




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‘Parents’ motives should come under scrutiny’ By Lyndsey Smith PARENTS’ motives should be questioned if their kids are taking part in hard, physical training below the age of 12, according to one personal trainer. Mechell Grey of LA Fitness, South Kensington, says although teaching kids about health and wellbeing at a young age is a good thing, training because of body image and weight loss should not be encouraged. She added: “It’s two sides of the same coin. Although I offer family sessions for mothers and daughters or fathers and sons for example, these are teenagers. “I don’t train small children as I believe the best way for kids at such a young age to keep fit and active is to be outside, running about and playing. “Don’t get me wrong, there are exceptions such as sports specific training – if you are training a future Olympic athlete for example – but it certainly shouldn’t be across the board.” Mechell says it is not necessarily a bad thing that gyms are incorporating junior sections or that schools utilise these in their PE lessons but sessions should be conducted in the correct way.

£50k for providers SPORTS providers in Surrey will benefit from £50,000 in funding enabling them to deliver 17 different activities to youngsters across the county. The Active Surrey Sports Partnership has given the grants as part of the Sport Unlimited scheme, which aims to get more children and young people taking part in traditional and alternative sports outside of school. Paul Ainslie, co-ordinator for Active Surrey, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for more young people to become more active and enjoy and appreciate the benefits of sport. “We have had a great response from schools, clubs and coaches who want to give young people the opportunity to get involved, perhaps in activities they haven’t tried before.”

“Fitness at a young age should be about kids having fun and learning about what it means to keep fit and healthy while being active and if that’s the case then great. “What it shouldn’t be about is body image and dramatic weight loss – a kid shouldn’t be worried about these things. “PE teachers will have sports education and they will be able to regulate activities done by their pupils and will hopefully structure activities accordingly. “Young bodies are still growing, they are less equipped to cope with the stresses and strains and it should be an applied thing. “For example they shouldn’t be doing weight training at all – the heaviest thing they should be involved with is a medicine ball with more emphasis on activity rather than strength training.” Mechell admits she would like to get involved with kids’ fitness at some level in the future. She added: “I would be interested and I would make sure it was done in the right way. “Kids need to learn about technology, about the benefits of being active and how important it is to be physically fit but it needs to be structured correctly and more importantly be made to be fun.”

Mechell Grey

A new project is to be launched which encourages parents and children to work out together. Company ESP Ltd has been working with rugby league and football club community coaches to offer multi-skills coaching. Spokesman Scott Benton said: “We are looking to launch parental engagement workshops whereby mums and dads can come into their kids’ schools and exercise with them using the multiskills zones. “We have been talking with schools and they are actively encouraging the scheme and we may well look at activities in curriculum time along with breakfast, after school and weekend multi-skills clubs.” The project will be rolled out nationally aiming to help activity levels and establishing parent and child links.




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As childhood obesity levels in the city continue to rise, Sheffield United FC are using football to promote healthy lifestyles and activity. Mary Ferguson spoke to head of communities Sue Beeley about The United Initiative.

Blades players play vital role to net results for initiative A YEAR ago Sheffield United brought all their community work together under one umbrella – The United Initiative or U&I. Targeting youngsters, programmes include coached training sessions, curriculum enhancement and sports camps, aiming to contribute to the pathways for football development and promote exercise and activity. At the end of 2008 the initiative won the Sheffield Star and St. John Ambulance Sport Award for Community, and was nominated for a Community Impact Award with the Chamber of Commerce. Sue said: “Essentially we want to encourage young people to become valued members of the community, to get active and get fit. “We work to promote healthy, active lifestyles, working with schools and colleges and providing positive role models through the players, especially for young boys. Sport is very positive but it doesn’t mean we are solving all of the problems, all of the time.” Sheffield United players have an important role in the initiative, attending Fit For School activities and major events run at the ground or the academy. They also visit the camps and local schools, using their role model status to encourage children to get involved with exercise.

Sue said she is fortunate that two of her staff are ex-players, giving them extra kudos with the youngsters. “The players’ involvement is key to engaging the children – the initiative can do that by itself but involving the players takes it to the next level.” Regular community match days feature on-the-pitch coaching sessions for children, ahead of the main game and as well as encouraging exercise, the initiative is also building Sheffield United fans for the future. “We do get a lot of girls involved with the programmes and there is a big demand for after-school activities specifically for girls. “Essentially we work with primary and secondary school children but recently we have done a lot of work with university students and many of those come in as volunteers as part of their courses. It works really well for us.” Sue now wants to do more work within school curriculums, particularly supporting GCSE programmes. She added: “The Football League recently introduced a grading system for clubs for their community work so we are working towards getting silver. “We are fortunate that we have a lot of support from the club as a whole, which helps us develop the work we do.”

Sheffield kids get their Kickz out of project SHEFFIELD United is firmly involved with Kickz, a youth sports project originally created by the Premier League and Metropolitan Police. The club was chosen by the Football Foundation, Premier League and Department of Media, Culture and Sport to run the project in South Yorkshire. The programme offers youngsters age 11-18 the chance to take part in a variety of sports sessions – including football – three nights a week for 48 weeks of the year. Educational sessions are also offered to young people about healthy lifestyles. Kickz has been running in Sheffield since Autumn 2007 but Sue said things really kicked off last year. “The programme has had a really positive impact and received a lot of recognition. Because the kids are taking part in sport sessions they are occupied and using up energy so it’s helped to reduce crime, plus the sessions also provide a platform for us to reinforce health messages.” Sue said a lot of the work they do, and where they do it, depends on funding. They work with a lot of commercial sponsors – companies needing to do their bit for corporate and social responsibility – and the initiative has just been given charity status.

Some of the youngsters who have taken part in the initiative

11 Sound Dynamics



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Derbyshire pupils create their own Haka STUDENTS at Somerlea Park Junior School in Derbyshire have recently been given the task of creating their own version of the Haka. The Haka, most commonly noted for its performance by the New Zealand Rugby Union team prior to their matches, is an ancient war dance native to the Mauri people. Year 6 pupils were given the job of choreographing their own routine in

the style of the original dance. Accompanied by a heavy, rhythmic sound track, the pupils created leaps, spins, arm gestures and plenty of noise during the 30 second routine. In order to synchronise the entire class, the staff co-ordinating the lesson used one of Sound Dynamics portable PA systems to help the children count the beats and timings required in such a

complex dance. With the task incorporating elements of numeracy, music, creative thinking, team work and leadership skills, the eventual outcome has been an undoubted success for the staff and pupils. The use of the Sound Dynamics audio system was also a key element

in both creating and performing the finished routine. The company, which has supplied similar systems to nearly 100 schools in the Derbyshire area, are working closely with schools across the UK to assist projects including dance, cheerleading, athletics and general physical education.




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Ladies-only gym ready to welcome kids By Mary Ferguson

Pupils from Barrow Hills School in Surrey were mascots for Esher Rugby Club first team as they took on Newbury in a national division one match. The children cheered for their PE teacher, Neil Hallett, who played full back in the match. Neil said: “It was a perfect opportunity to reward the children for all their hard work and success during last term’s fix-

tures and hopefully inspire some of them to continue playing rugby after they leave Barrow Hills. “The school has an excellent sporting background and if I can use my experience of playing at this standard to help future talent, then a school trip is the least I can do.” Following the game the children were entertained in the sponsors’ lounge and collected autographs.

THE operator of a ladies-only gym in Essex has launched a programme of classes for children. Jodi Pyle, owner of Femme Fitness, is offering classes in gymnastics, cheerleading and street dancing, for children as young as four. She is renting studio space to Dance and Cheer 49, who will deliver the cheerleading classes, but as her receptionist is a qualified dance teacher and her beautician is a qualified gymnast, the other activities will be taught in-house. A one-day ‘taster workshop’ will be held during half term, allowing children to try out all of the activities before parents decide to book. But despite early interest in the idea, Jodi said she has run up against some challenges. She said: “The expense is a problem as we need to buy more mats for the gymnastics which cost around £100 each. “And when it comes to promoting the classes through local schools, it hasn’t been easy. They are happy for kids to take home a leaflet in their bags but as a mum myself, I know that often they just go into the bin. “The kids need to be able to see a presentation in assembly or try it for themselves, which is why we are offering the taster day.” Jodi said she expects street dance to

Jodi Pyle be most popular, mainly because it will operate as a drop-in class, without the need to pre-book a course. “I think we may struggle with numbers for the gymnastics because many children can take part for free at after school clubs. “However there is a leisure centre round here that offers gymnastics too and they have a year-long waiting list so the demand is obviously there – it’s just a case of bringing people in.” Jodi is also launching children’s gymnastics, street dance or cheerleading parties, to make the most of the large studio space.

Free football sessions kick off in Hull SCHOOL children in Hull have been benefiting from free football sessions thanks to Hull AFC’s on-going football in the community initiative. The regional sports development programme runs holiday soccer schools, helping children to understand how important a healthy diet and an active lifestyle is. Children between 5 and 12 years old attended a three day training course at the KC Stadium, developing basic ball skills and playing in 4 to 7 a-side

games. The scheme, run in conjunction with NPower, works with schools with pupils invited to the stadium to learn with the tigers about energy and teamwork. John Davies, manager of football in the community, said: “We're glad to be visiting schools and inspiring young minds with the knowledge that football is a great way of keeping fit, working as a team and having fun.”

Call for an increase in out-of-school activities By Lyndsey Smith CHILDREN’S Minister Beverley Hughes has called for schools to do more to develop out of hours’ activities for children. Beverley said more needs to be done to ensure every child in every community has access to good quality out-of school activities. She added: “There are exciting and innovative examples of schools providing out of hours activities and we need them to show off their hard

work and make sure everyone is aware of their opportunities. “I applaud efforts so far but the recent reports recognise there is still a way to go before extended services are available everywhere, and it is too early to see a widespread impact on attainment at national level.” More than 15,000 schools in England are now working to provide sporting activities before and after school as well as study support, play, music and arts activities.




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Charlotte with some girls from the class

Children walk tall to battle the bulge ... By Mary Ferguson AN independent project that helps children battle the bulge through Pilates has been hailed a success by its founder. Course leader Charlotte Ferrall Peevey takes Pilates classes twice a week at a community hall in Oxfordshire, with youngsters from schools across the borough taking part. Charlotte – who also works as a special needs teaching assistant – originally worked with the children last year as part of the MEND (Mind Exercise Nutrition Do It!) initiative in the area. But the children enjoyed it so much,

parents begged her to carry on with the sessions afterwards. She now takes a class of children aged between seven to 13 for two hour-long sessions a week, splitting the activities between Pilates and CV workouts. Charlotte said: “When I worked with the children before I noticed they had really bad posture, which is where Pilates can really help, by encouraging them to walk tall. “The classes aren’t regimented and the main focus is helping the children build confidence – losing weight is just a by-product of that.” The CV sessions involve running, sit-ups and press ups and games and the Pilates sessions aim to help

strengthen muscles. As the children know each other from the MEND programme the classes are also a social occasion and Charlotte is now hoping to attract more youngsters, who may or may not have weight problems. She added: “It doesn’t matter if the children are overweight or not as it’s about having fun and getting healthy. I’m worried that by bandying the words ‘obese’ and fat’ about, it will put kids off. “But so far the programme is going really well and although I initially thought it would be a ten-week course, it’s been so successful I expect it will carry on throughout the year.”

Children’s gym operator The Little Gym has appointed a new director at its Hampton Hill site. Previously programme director, Kate Butcher, pictured above, has been promoted to the position of gym director, after joining the company as an instructor three years ago. She said: “I’m really looking forward to seeing our membership grow,

allowing more children to be part of a programme that encourages them to try their best and teaches them invaluable skills for life. It’s a real pleasure to see the children not only learning but having lots of fun.” The Little Gym offers a motor skills and curriculum-based gymnastics programme for children of all abilities, from four months to 12 years.

Girls’ rugby academy launched A GIRLS’ rugby academy has been launched at a university in Northern Ireland – the first of its kind in the country. Supported by Ulster Rugby, the cross-campus initiative at the University of Ulster aims to help players develop their skills and promote women’s rugby. Rugby development officer Chris Galway said: “This academy is a first for Ireland. “The aim is to give players the opportunity to develop their rugby playing ability with the potential that they will then be capable of successfully representing Ulster and Ireland on a regular basis. “It is a condition that successful applicants must make a significant contribution to rugby at their respective campus as well as maintaining a good academic, playing and training standard.” The players will have fitness testing, personalised strength and conditioning support, nutritional advice, personalised rugby skills sessions, physiotherapy and doctor support, onsite ultrasound diagnosis and cardiac screening.




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Since its launch three years ago, 4,000 children have taken part in a North Cornwall programme designed to encourage youth fitness through alternative sports. Mary Ferguson found out more about the district council’s Challenging Lifestyles scheme, helping disadvantaged 8-14 year olds discover exercise.

Kids get fit without realising it TAKING part in activities like skateboarding, free running, BMX and cycling, youngsters in North Cornwall are exercising without even realising they are doing it. Using ‘alternative’ sports, the scheme targets children from underprivileged areas, helping them get healthy and improve their prospects. At the moment the programme runs just in North Cornwall but when the six district councils in the county merge in April, project leader Gareth Dix is hoping it will be rolled out further. He said: “Some people may call them extreme activities, others may say they are antiestablishment sports. But what’s important is that the kids see them as something different from the traditional football and rugby. “And what’s interesting is that we actually get more girls than boys taking part in a lot of the activities. We have some handsome young lads teaching the sports so it’s inevitable that girls will be interested.” The sessions are delivered by coaches who are older teenagers themselves, perhaps in a gap year before university or about to embark on a sports career. Challenging Lifestyles also works with schools, particularly those being challenged to start providing ‘alternative’ sports. “When I’ve looked into research it shows that around 60 per cent of youngsters dip in and out of sport, meaning they don’t stick with things when they get older.

“By introducing them to lifestyle sports they are more likely to continue and this group has emerged as our real target market for the project.” Gareth said the key to hooking the youngsters in lays with the music and fashion culture, so image and branding is a big part of their marketing. “We might hand out nightclubstyle flyers but we would never put a generic poster up on the PE noticeboard. “Also, the sports we run don’t lend themselves to rules and regulations which helps them appeal to teenagers. “We made a conscious decision not to hammer home health messages about taking part in the sports because adult messages don’t work with children. Keeping the activities cool is what keeps the kids interested and we don’t want to risk losing that. “The idea is that they keep going with the sport for life but once we make it mainstream, it will lose its appeal.” For youngsters who find themselves with a real talent for the sport, performance academies have been set up to coach them further and perhaps even develop the sport into a career. Gareth added: “A key part of the programme is encouraging children to take risks, both physically and emotionally. “These sports help them do that, and hopefully set themselves up to exercise for life.”

Lifeguard programme celebrates a year of helping youngsters A ROOKIE lifeguard programme is celebrating 12 months of helping youngsters get physically active whilst keeping them safe in the water. Positive Futures in Great Yarmouth has helped over 250 young people achieve awards in the RLSS UK’s water safety programme since February 2008. The programme, for 12 to 18 years olds at risk of becoming involved in

anti-social behaviour – is run in leisure centres. Marten Payne, community activity coordinator, said: “We work with young children who have very mixed abilities, so the programme allows every one to achieve at their own speed. “The badges are a great motivator and they are learning vital skills like water safety, rescue, resuscitation and lifesaving sports skills.”

Left: Gareth Dix and the other pictures show children involved in activities as part of the initiative

Premier offer for youth PREMIER League football clubs are to offer thousands of young people the chance to get involved in Olympic sports following a £3.8m partnership with the government. Premier League 4 Sport will see all 20 clubs link up with community sport clubs to offer opportunities in badminton, judo, table tennis and volleyball. Working with the sports governing bodies, the Youth Sport Trust and Sport England, the Premier League clubs aim to get 25,000 young people,

aged between 11 and 16, to join local sport clubs in the four Olympic sports during the three-year scheme. Each football club will be linked to four community sport clubs and they will then link to four secondary schools creating a total of 320 satellite clubs. The scheme will start in April and run until 2011 and is funded through the Department for Culture, Media and Sport from the Premier League’s Good Causes fund.




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Less than a quarter in academy programme By Lyndsey Smith LESS than a quarter of students at a college in Bristol that has its own sports academy actually take part in the programme, according to the headteacher. Kevin Hamblin says Filton College – which has the Bristol Academy of Sport – had just one part time coach and 14 students taking part in timetabled sporting activities seven years ago. And now, even though it runs 12 different sports groups ranging from basketball to table tennis, it is falling short of the government target to get half its students to have three hours of PE or activity a week. Kevin said: “Of the 2,000 teenagers here less than one-quarter is currently involved in the sports academy

University students ‘Up for Sport’ in Kenya STUDENTS from Portsmouth University have spent a month in Kenya teaching football, netball, athletics and dance. The Up for Sport volunteers went to Africa on a sports development expedition, working in partnership with Bournemouth University to help four schools in the Ukandu district and assist in developing school sports grounds. Barry Squires, sports development manager at Bournemouth University, said: “The long term aim is to see the programme grow through partnerships with other universities and we hope to continue to help these communities develop in ways which don’t challenge their culture.”

programme. “Another 450 or so are involved in performing arts, dance and cadet activities but that still leaves more than half not doing the required three hours a week. There are other things competing for their time and sport is the luxury that gets dropped.” The academy has 470 students doing at least eight hours of activity every week, and employs 18 sports coaches, two physiotherapists, a biomechanist, two fitness consultants, a sports nutritionist and two dieticians. Only 70 of the students taking part in activity are studying sport related courses with others wanting to just keep active. Kevin is now working hard to encourage more students to take up sport and says the government is

right to push schools and colleges to achieve more. He added: “We have the potential to play a key role in improving the fitness of the nation. Government research has shown that 70 per cent of students stop playing sport between 14 and 17 and we hope to reverse that trend – if they are active during the 16 to 19 phase they are more likely to be an active adult. “We use sport to attract students, to retain them and to get them to achieve. “Our A-level students who are in the academies outperform those who are not, and at our inspection in 2003 we were rated a satisfactory college whilst in 2007 we were rated good. I think sport played a role in achieving that increase.”

Youngsters in Suffolk are getting interactive after the local leisure facility invested in a dance mat system. Sudbury Sports Centre has purchased the full SHOKK wireless dance system with eight mats and ten Vew Do boards, along with corresponding training programmes. Dan Palfreman, manager, believes these are helping to get more young people involved with exercise by providing them with a variety of physical activity options. He said: “We have a large population of young people in the area that do not take part in any sport, and it has been an objective of mine to help get more of these people interested in physical activity.”

A two-day festival marked the end of the expedition, which kicked off with children taking part in a five kilometre fun run before taking part in a series of netball and football matches, athletic competitions and dancing displays.

Sports pitches net upgrade Free swimming lesson offer SPORTS pitches at a school in Richmond are set to be upgraded as part of a £1m scheme. The work at Whitton school – funded by the Football Foundation and Richmond Council – will see a new floodlit artificial turf pitch installed, along with grass pitch and pavilion. Headteacher Phil Davies said: “This will give the whole school a real lift and the project will give our students

some of the most advanced sports facilities in the country. “It will help maintain our school’s position as the centre of the community and a centre of sporting excellence.” Sports clubs and community groups will be able to use the floodlit pitch in the evening as well as at weekends and during school holidays, and it is hoped the pitches will be ready by the end of the year.

SIX and seven year olds in deprived areas of Herefordshire have been offered free swimming lessons in a bid to tackle obesity amongst local primary school children. The 24-week pilot programme, which was run by leisure trust Halo Leisure in partnership with Herefordshire Primary Care Trust, was open to year two pupils at five primary schools and included a free three-month Halo Leisure membership, along with access to a 12-week course of swimming lessons. Around 100 children took part representing

more than 40 per cent of those offered access and free swim vouchers were given as rewards. The trust now aims to roll the programme across its ten sites and Jon Argent, CEO, said: “The pilot was very well received by the parents and the local schools and so a second swimming course and membership extension was offered to encourage the children to continue exercising. We saw a good take-up and in conjunction with the government’s free swim initiative, we hope to continue offering this valuable programme.”




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Gym plan boost for youngsters By Lyndsey Smith YOUNGSTERS as young as twelve have been given the opportunity to exercise more thanks to a gym’s new membership plan. Freedom Leisure’s Sandwich site in Kent has introduced the new 1218 scheme for 12 to 18 year olds and offers kids the chance to have a monthly or annual membership. Karen Burrell, head of marketing said: “This is an extension of what we are doing across our other sites and is something of a pilot project. “We have run memberships for

14-18 years olds but felt that because this site was a dual use facility for the local school we decided to drop the age to twelve, and then see if that will be viable across the entire chain.” 1,218 members will be able to use the gym until 5pm, Monday to Friday and at anytime over the weekend and will receive a supervised induction session. Karen added: “Lots of kids were using it before on a pay to play casual basis but they were restricted in the times they could use it and they have much wider options

now.” The centre already links up with Sandwich Technology school. Moira Clewes, head of PE, said: “The kids think it’s great – they class it as their centre. “We are very lucky as it is literally next door and we aren’t losing a huge amount of valuable PE time going to and fro. “Our feeder primary schools use it too and it’s great they are using the facility from a young age as it gives them some familiarity in the transition to secondary school.” Moira said the school uses the

sports hall for many activities from football through to fencing along with the squash courts and studios, but find it difficult to access the fitness suite, purely due to time issues. “It is hard for us when there are members of the public using the facility but we do sometimes use it for our A level students – if they need to use the machines as part of their sports science or biomechanics modules for example. This membership means kids will be able to access this out of school hours though now which is great.”

Scheme aims to net more interest in volleyball

Tony Majakas

Kids should be inspired to get fit by sporting stars SPORTING stars should be used as role models to inspire kids to get fit and active, according to a fitness industry leader. Tony Majakas, managing director of Technogym, believes stars such as Lewis Hamilton or Michael Owen can prove a kick start for kids as they aim to be fit and healthy like their idols. He added: “We have used Lewis and Michael in previous campaigns and we want to look at using more high profile stars, as these are the people that can get kids into the fitness centres. It is all a knock on effect.” Tony said getting kids into a gym environment would go a long way to

ensuring a sustainable fit and healthy lifestyle. “It is clear that you find kids that are not particularly good with team sports. “They find it intimidating or feel they aren’t good enough and the gym is a great alternative for them. “We can make it more appealing – have televisions in there and let them hook up their ipods. You can take the focus away from exercise and onto the social element and having fun, and it can prove extremely beneficial. “You have to find different ways to get kids active and today they have more choice in terms of what activities they can do.”

A SCHEME which aims to encourage more schools to take part in volleyball is hoping to expand across the UK. Volleyball was the first team sport to be included in the UK School Games and 30 per cent of schools already play. But now Volleyball England is hoping to expand its Let’s Play Volleyball programme. Craig Handford, national development manager, said the programme is designed to encourage youngsters to experience volleyball as a player, competitor, leader, coach or referee. He said: “There are three versions – indoor/outdoor, sitting and beach – but we don’t distinguish initially as the basics are the same. “This develops as kids get older, allowing the format to build, starting simply and then building in tactics, techniques and rules. It is about teaching the fundamentals “It is incredibly inclusive and I think

this is what makes the sport special. For example, sitting volleyball is not exclusive to disabled athletes – we have some teams that are a mix. It is also mixed gender and we have a near 50-50 split which is fairly unique in team activity.” Chief executive Lisa Wainwright said she would like to see more community development coaches in schools but also PDMs will be asked to help. She added: “If we want children to play we must ensure they receive an enjoyably beneficial experience initially. “The sport is ripe for change and we are currently grasping opportunities like this with both hands. “Having successfully achieved targets around club development over the last four years this project will be among the first to help us to deliver our new strategic aim and direction for clubs and schools.”

Sporty children do better academically – study A STUDY from Harvard Medical School published in the Journal of School Health has found children who play sport do much better academically. Children aged nine to 14 were put through a range of fitness tests to assess their strength, speed and flexibility. The children who were the fittest, although not necessarily

outstanding athletes, scored more highly in standard maths and English tests. Virginia Chomitz, the lead researcher, said: “Our results showed a significant relationship between fitness and academic achievement. “This suggests that rather than detracting from academic subjects, time spent doing exercise could be beneficial.”

£1.4m weight management initiative will target Welsh families CHILDREN’S weight management programme MEND has been rolled out across Wales – the first scheme of its type to have run on a national level in any country. The £1.4m initiative, funded by Welsh Assembly Government, will target around 2,000 children aged between seven and 13 years old and their families over the next three

years. Dr. Tony Jewell, chief medical officer for Wales, said: “Being overweight can be tough for children both physically and emotionally. “Caring for an overweight or obese child can be difficult too, especially if they lack confidence or feel depressed because of their size. “We have evidence that shows the MEND programme raises individu-

als’ self esteem and supports them in making healthier choices. “It’s vital that we tackle the obesity issue. Overweight or obese children are also more likely to be overweight or obese adults.” Families across Wales will take part in a free ten-week course with others in a similar position, combining practical learning about healthy eating – including shopping on a

budget – and stimulating active enjoyment of physical activity. Rather than focusing on weight loss, the programme uses an interactive learning approach to teach parents, carers and children weight management skills. The programme has already been run on a limited basis in four areas of Wales.




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Kids get coaching chance By Lyndsey Smith A LEISURE centre in Kent is offering training to youngsters to help create a new breed of coaches and mentors. Maidstone Leisure Centre was given funding from Sports Unlimited for a new youth development programme that also aims to increase kids’ physical activity levels. A ten-week course for 11 to 19 year olds is being offered which combines X-treme and Kombat Shokk workshops to allow study on level one and two teaching physical activity. The children can then assist with fitness classes in the leisure centre and mentor younger pupils. Adam Loynds, community development officer, said: “This is the way forward for us. “Numbers haven’t been as good as anticipated but we have enough funding for initial sessions and hope to become self-sufficient. “We are looking at activities that will be popular with the kids such as trampolining and

Kombat Shokk workshops dance mat activities – exercise that is enjoyable and beneficial.” Adam is now in talks with schools to use the centre as part of the five hour offer. He added: “We have toyed with the idea of running kids’ fitness classes and this funding has allowed us to do that. “We have begun to notice an increased number of young members using the local fit-

ness facilities and further demand for more fitness classes that cater for them, so this seemed an ideal opportunity to capture and engage kids’ imaginations. “It is about getting kids to understand their bodies, see what kind of level they are at and then helping them work towards their goals whether that be specific fitness aims or reaching their optimum level of enjoyment.”

Youths enjoy X-treme fitness sessions




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Fitness courses being bought in by college By Lyndsey Smith

Students take advantage of fitness facilities at Willenhall

PRIVATE fitness courses are being bought in by a school in the West Midlands to top up students’ qualifications. Willenhall School Sports College is now running a second year of Formula GFI courses which lead to a level two Active IQ qualification in the fitness industry. The courses are delivered by external instructors and are run in addition to normal studies. Anthony Derrer, sports and leisure development manager, said: “The programme entails 90 hours’ additional extra-curricular study so is suitable for those that express an initial interest in health and fitness whether it be for a career or just for fun. “It is a positive way for kids to develop a career pathway and top up with vocational qualifications and in addition we offer lifeguard, swimming teachers’ badge and football level one and two.” Willenhall caters for 11 to 18 year olds and has a fitness suite, dance

studios and four badminton courts. All students can do two sessions of extra curricular sporting activity a week and Anthony says the uptake is fantastic. Anthony added: “The kids here just love taking part whether it be for the additional qualifications we offer or because they love sport. “There is a growing concern for health and well being particularly in the younger generation. “It is always in the news and as a school we aim to give kids a wide variety of activities which is important as physical well being is an issue for everyone. “These qualifications possibly go some way to incentivising physical activity and exercise. “The kids can see a purpose – they are achieving something as well as improving their overall health.” Willenhall was awarded sports college status in 2005 and has been involved in running a National Healthy Schools programme and JAE programmes for young and gifted athletes.




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Free course deal ACTIVE leadership and gym instruction NVQs are being offered to 16 to 24 year olds for free. Sportwise have been running the level two courses since September and so far they have proved extremely popular. Andy Seward of Sportwise said: “There has been a huge demand for the courses not just because they are free, but because the majority of the course is delivered within one intense week. “The learners then come away with an NVQ level 2, a YMCA qualification and a first aid qualification.” Sportwise offer the NVQs nationally.

Coaching certificate BEBINGTON High sports college has run a fully accredited certificate in coaching course for football level one. The course ran in partnership with the vocational college and also included qualifications in child protection and emergency first aid.

Training for PE teachers YMCA Fitness Industry training has developed four one-day professional development modules for secondary PE teachers. The training explores innovative approaches to using aerobics, circuits and fitness room activities as contexts for promoting effective learning about healthy active lifestyles within and beyond the curriculum. This new approach is entirely practical and focuses on a parallel development of pupils’ health, fitness and exercise knowledge alongside the development of personal learning and thinking skills. The courses are delivered by experienced training providers in education as well as members of YMCA Fitness Industry Training’s tutor team, and supported by a manual.

NVQ bid to boost quality of school sports lessons By Louise Cordell TRAINING provider Evolve Sport is aiming to improve the quality of school sports lessons with a new NVQ course. The company currently runs a level two course in activity leadership which can be used to improve a sports coach’s ability to deliver quality lessons in a primary setting. The qualification can be gained over four days by completing modules on behaviour management, supervision in schools and the Evolve coaching philosophies. It is hoped that both courses will help to close the ‘skills gap’ in coaches who have completed their basic training but have little experience in working within the curriculum in a school setting. John Bishop, Evolve Sport director, said: “We are now working with City and Guilds on developing an even more specific qualification aimed at closing this skills gap. “There is a definite opportunity there and discussions are ongoing at the

moment – there is currently a ‘classroom support’ NVQ and we are trying to tie it in with that. “There are many qualified sports coaches out there, especially football coaches, but that is not what schools need, so they are essentially dormant. “They are coming to us to take their qualification to another level and contextualising what they do into a school setting. “We have also developed a new mentoring and development programme which has meant that more staff have been able to progress within the organisation and achieve the holy grail of full time work in this highly competitive and fragmented sector. “Twenty new full-time staff were taken on in September and this rapid expansion now means that more schools will be able to benefit from specialist PE delivery – impacting on the lives of many children and families throughout the UK.”

Trust sets up school coaching website A SCHOOL sport coaching website to allow coaches to submit information on their sessions has been set up by the Youth Sport Trust. The CoachWeb reporting tool will show data on sessions that have been completed, with coaches able to report to their PDM and School Sports Partnership. Information collected will be used anonymously to make improvements by bringing school sports coaching closer to the existing coaching framework. The programme is one of ten strands which make up the PE and Sport Strategy for Young People (PESSYP).




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Wheely-keen Kelvin pushes BMX biking for schools By Lyndsey Smith FORMER British number one BMX rider Kelvin Batey is encouraging more schools to offer the sport in curriculum time. Kelvin is currently teaching BMX biking at Winterhill school in Rotherham – the first school in the country to offer the sport – and following positive publicity leading to enquiries from other schools nationally, he hopes that more will begin to offer provision as the physical benefits to kids are immense. He added: “The kids don’t actually realise how much effort they are putting in or how much exercise they are actually doing. “When pedalling they are working the whole of their lower body and while they are using their strength to hold themselves upright they are improving their core stability.” Teachers at the school have tried

it and Kelvin said this made them realise just how hard the kids were working. “They said afterwards they didn’t realise how tired they would be and it was obvious to them that this is fantastic physical exercise for the pupils. “Hopefully more schools will try this. We have been the guinea pigs and feedback has been positive so other schools following our lead can only be a good thing.” Kelvin explained that the BMX module, which is delivered in the adventurous strand of PE lessons, was all about progression. “Initially we do assessments and general bike skills in the playground and an integral part of the first three lessons is the safety aspects such as how to position themselves and how to wear kit correctly. “Then we go to the BMX track and do a strait at a time – each track is made up of four straits for

example from the start to the first corner, the first to the second, etc – taking them on the least technical sections to start off with and learning them the basics.” Following a low period due to having to withdraw from Olympic trials last year through injury Kelvin said his lessons with the kids really lifted his spirits. ‘I was down for a time and I think starting at the school last September has really pulled me around. It’s so satisfying to see the progress that the kids make. “They look petrified to begin with and don’t believe that they will ever do a full lap of the track so the look on their faces when they do is great. “The school to club link has really worked and we already have some kids progressing to regional and national level – there is a lot of raw talent and it is fufilling for me to know that I am helping these kids progress.”

Saints Tots aims to make exercise fun for youngsters By Mary Ferguson

Paul Wright (left) and Mark Moseley of Band Hatton with Olympic hopeful Rowena Cole

Sponsorship boost for Olympic hopeful Rowena AN OLYMPIC hopeful from Coventry has received a major boost after a local firm agreed to sponsor her. Increasing training costs had threatened to hamper 17-yearold Rowena Cole’s progress but a two-year sponsorship deal by Band Hatton LLP solicitors runner means the 800m runner will now have funds to improve her training. She will now be able to purchase various pieces of key equipment – including running shoes, all-weather clothing and a heart rate monitor.

She said: “I’m incredibly grateful for the sponsorship because it takes the financial stress away and allows me to do the very best I can. “Having the right type of running shoes makes such a difference and a heart rate monitor will really help me to understand what I need to improve too.” The Tile Hill Wood pupil started athletics in year three, doing cross country, and moved to Godiva Harriers when she started secondary school. She is hoping that 2009

will be a strong year for her and that she can take another step in the direction of London 2012. “This year will be a challenge because I’ll be against older runners but there’s a chance I can go to the World Youth Games in Italy or maybe the World Youth Festival in Finland so I’ll be working hard.” Rowena has been selected for Dame Kelly Holmes’ ‘On Camp with Kelly’ training group and she was recently awarded England Athletics’ Young Female Athlete of the Year.

A NEW initiative to promote sport and health awareness to youngsters in Southampton has been launched by the city’s football club. Saints Tots, run by Saints in the Community, is a conditioning and physical activity development scheme, designed to encourage young children to enjoy the benefits of exercise and play. Working with Sure Start, the programme will be delivered in eight children's centres in Southampton with a target of working with over 500 children over the next 12 months. The scheme is being delivered in partnership with Sportsmatch and National Deposit and is the newest addition to Southampton FC’s community lineup. Mark Abrahams, head

Mark Abrahams of Saints in the Community said: “It is very much aimed at the parents as well, as they create the culture and environment that young children grow up in. “Developing a package of activities that directly influences the physical activity of children and also educates parents on beneficial eating and activity habits, can only support the well being of children as they develop.”




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Multi-sport initiative is launched

The Sparklers

Girls prepare to sparkle A PRIMARY school cheerleading team are gearing up for their first competition since forming nine months ago. The group of seven to ten year olds – The Manchester Sparklers – have been training at an after school club at the Brookway High School and Sports College in Wythenshawe. They will take part in the United Kingdom Cheerleading Association Community Nationals in May at the Manchester Velodrome. The classes are taken by Lorrayne Siddall, dance and cheerleading coach for Wythenshawe and South

Manchester School Sports Partnership, who joined forces with assistant PDM Hannah Vecchione to apply for a £9,000 grant with a view to setting up cheerleading classes in the area. They initially took the sessions at Brookway for free and Lorrayne said she was overwhelmed by their popularity. “The school is in an area of severe depravation so the aim was to get the kids who can’t afford after school clubs involved with them. ‘We were getting between 30-40 girls to every session but to sustain

Teens targeted to try new sport TEENAGE girls from across South London are being given the chance to try out a new sport at the Love2 Activity Festival. The event has been organised specifically for girls and women aged 16 to 24 and is offering over 70 free fitness sessions to help them get active. Justin Webb, marketing manager with organiser Pro-Active South London, said: “It is really an awareness week to give people a

chance to get involved in sport and fitness. “We have targeted girls in this age group because research has shown that they suffer from the biggest drop in sports participation. “To reach them the events are being held in a range of different places, including schools, colleges and sports clubs and at different times – split across half-term week and the following week, so all ages can take part.”

Claims that bad genes cause childhood obesity By Mary Ferguson BAD genes could be to blame for childhood obesity, it has been claimed. Researchers from University College London conducted an experiment to see if eating when full was linked to a gene called FTO by observing the behaviour of 131 four to five year olds who were offered a plate of biscuits after they had eaten a meal. They found the children who ate more biscuits were more likely to have one or two of the ‘higher’ risk versions of the FTO gene. Professor Jane Wardle, who con-

ducted the research, said: “Previous research has shown that the FTO gene is linked to larger body size. “We believe this research tells us more about how some children are more responsive to signals in their bodies encouraging them to eat when full than others. “We hope this research will help improve our understanding of the causes of childhood obesity so that better measures can be taken to reduce it.” The researchers also looked for a genetic connection between the FTO gene and children’s interest in taking exercise, but didn't find a link.

the sessions we had to start charging. “Inevitably a few dropped out but we still have about 25 that come and we bought them all uniforms so that we could start entering them into competitions.” Since the club formed last year, the children have been putting on a show each term for the parents, but this May will be their first competition. Lorrayne and Hannah are hoping to form a wider team – The Manchester All Stars – with divisions The Twinklers, for children age four to seven, and The Comets, for children aged ten to 16.

AN initiative to keep disabled children active and involved in a range of sports has been launched by Cotswold District Council. Free multi-sport sessions are being held at the Cotswold School in Bourton-on-the-Water, where kids aged seven and over can take part in different activities including wheelchair football, curling, slalom and Boccia. Claire Dowan, youth participation and development officer, said: “Various consultations we had carried out suggested that that while disabled children enjoyed mixing with their able peers in inclusive sports sessions, they would also like to have something separate and tailor made for them. This led to us introducing this pilot scheme, run by a specialist community inclusion coach, to provide the children with the opportunity to play sport in a non-competitive and fun way.” The afternoon sessions are being organised by Cotswold District Council, in partnership with Active Gloucestershire and the Cotswold School, and there will be seven sessions held at the Bourton-on-theWater school until the end of March. If the pilot scheme is successful the council will consider extending the programme to other schools in the area.




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22 news

The Priory school, Bromley, has taken its higher education programme a step further with the introduction of the Crystal Palace Girls Football Academy. Lyndsey Smith visited to find out more.

‘We have to make sure the girls know they are not just here to kick a ball about’

Tyrone and Claire

THE academy provides leisure and learning pathways for students wanting to study sport-related subjects before progressing to higher education or work in the leisure industry. The programme consists of fitness and skills training, optional training with Crystal Palace ladies’ teams and competitive matches whilst competing for their school and own team, or Crystal Palace. There is a major focus on diet, nutrition and fitness and academic and vocational qualifications, and currently there are nine students with hope for increased uptake as the academy becomes more established. Tyrone Reid, head of the academy, emphasised students are not just along for an easy ride. “We have to instill this and make sure the girls know they are not just here to kick a ball about. “The aim is to encourage youngsters to continue in education using sport as a medium to keep them engaged. “Girls are not chosen purely on football ability - also academic qualifica-

Girls in training tions, attitude and previous commitment to their education and club.” Students are required to follow a two year BTEC level two or three qualification in sport and IT level two or three, and they have access to high level football coaching and competition. Bromley MyTime and South Bank University work closely allowing students to gain necessary qualifications and work experience, and there are NVQ courses in football coaching, gym instructing, national governing bodies courses in other sports and the leisure operations certificate. Teamwork, discipline, responsibility and co-operation are paramount and Tyrone said the fitness element was high. “The course is very fitness-based and each individual has their own requirements and personalised system. We hope to establish long term health benefits as well.” Students must take part in community work within local primary schools as part of curricular and excurricular learning, and Clare Landore, development officer, is hoping to encourage more link ups. “Our girls are gaining coaching experience and it is good for the

youngsters as we can hold festivals or tournaments, getting kids mixing with other schools, and in a few years they could be playing together.” Targeting kids at this age is integral to long term success and allievating drop off was a key aim according to Clare. “Girls start playing later and finish earlier but we are looking to take them from primaries through secondary, through the academy and onto Crystal Palace. “A number of local clubs have noticed a drop off and we are trying to address this. Parents don’t know how serious their girls are and where to take them and there is a problem with the structure lower down and we hope we can help. “We need to make people aware of what we offer, establishing strong links with clubs, encouraging their girls to join us.” Tyrone added: “We appeal to students who aren’t sure what they want to do when they reach 16 but know that they love sport. “We also have a filtering system with year 11 girls making up the team which is great experience for them. They see the academy girls as role models – something to aspire to.”

Website bids to teach them young about healthy cooking CHILDREN aged three to five have been targeted by a nutrition website in a bid to help them learn about healthy eating and cooking. The Food – A Fact For Life has developed a set of resources comprising ten sessions where children will be involved in a practical cooking activity, learning them more about the food they eat and

how to create simple, healthy dishes. There will be a follow-up activity for parents and children to do together and an online guide will show how to safely set up a cooking area, how to tempt children to taste food, as well as how the sessions link in to the national curriculum.




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news 23

Gymnastics champion Katie bends over backwards to make exercise fun By Lyndsey Smith AN INTERACTIVE kids’ gymnastics programme has been developed to make exercise fun whilst helping confidence, concentration, fitness and body awareness. Backflip Performers – the brainchild of five times British aerobic gymnastics champion Katie Cannon - was formed in September and is for kids from pre-school age through to twelve years. Katie said gymnastics is extremely beneficial with core training improving specialist abilities and having a massive impact on confidence. She added: “Confidence is a vital part of achieving success and I believe that boys and girls perform better and enjoy life more when their confidence is high. “The idea is to present gymnastics as a fun concept rather than with the intense pressure of training in order to be involved in competition. We don’t do competitions – it’s all about fitness and fun.” Children have the opportunity to learn floor gymnastics, develop movement and weight-bearing skills for cartwheels, handstands and bridges, and also focus on presenta-

tion skills. Katie said: “We always do a fun dynamic warm up involving specific gymnastic shapes and stretches, and it’s about teaching kids the aerobic concept at a young age. “We do stretches that introduce flexibility, and alignment exercises that combine posture, coordination and presentation techniques along with a new skill every week. “We encourage each child to learn the backflip – our signature move – and the small group and individual attention means they are likely to achieve this, and every child will get to perform one each session no matter what their level or age.” Katie already takes gymnastics clubs in nine schools in London and is looking to expand. The sessions are open to beginners or to those who have attended gymnastics classes before and Katie added: “Core gymnastic ability creates extra energy and vitality, and fitness and agility also help to combat stress. “We are committed to teaching the children in the right way, and include the all important warm up and cooldown stretches which are often what makes the difference.”

Katie Cannon

Activity decline in pre-school children PHYSICAL activity levels in preschool children are declining according to research published by the American College of Sports Medicine. The study shows a significant reduction in activity levels between the ages of three and five, with children of this age spending approximately 90 minutes per day in front of the television, computers or video games. Rachael Taylor, lead author of the study, said parents were asked to estimate the amount of time spent each week in various activities, including dancing, biking, playing, participating in organised activities, and swimming. She added: “One opportunity we get by way of these results is to narrow in on an age range where we can really encourage healthy habits for very young children. "That is going to mean turning some of that screen time into activity time, where kids are running, jumping and playing. “Or, more specifically, considering that target age range of four and five, it is probably the right time to encourage more outside play where possible, or enrol a child in gymnastics, tennis or other structured exercise in order to increase their exposure to physical activity."




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24 news

£1.5m centre will push kids’ fitness By Lyndsey Smith

Falcons player Ollie Phillips helped launch the project

Rugby players step out to support new dance project PREMIERSHIP rugby union team Newcastle Falcons have joined forces with Newcastle School Sport Partnership to launch a new dance project for children aged five to 16. Falcons Community Foundation will help deliver the training course, which will culminate in two mass participation performances at the Falcons’ ground in March. Joyce Matthews, partnership development manager at the NSSP said: “The project hopes to help tackle ris-

ing levels of obesity and inactivity in youngsters by encouraging physical activity in a fun and inclusive environment. “With the positive role models of the Falcons we aim to provide young people with the opportunity to work with the club and other schools.” Players Joe Shaw and Ollie Phillips were on hand to encourage the children and discuss the importance of physical activity in young people at the launch of the project.

A NEW £1.5m leisure centre is to be opened in Saddleworth to push kids’ fitness. Oldham Community Leisure is set to open its fifth site after refurbishment of a swimming pool began last September, and it will now incorporate 55 pieces of state of the art cardiovascular and resistance equipment along with free weights, virtual reality spinning bikes and a studio. Virtual dance mats will also be added and Darren Burley, health and fitness manager, said the project meant local kids would now have more options to exercise. He added: “There is no other centre or gym within eight miles so we are in a situation to capitalise and help young people get fit. “We have dance mats in our other sites and they have proved extremely popular, with some schools using them for their PE lessons and a great uptake of kids visiting after school

‘I am massively into getting kids active from an early age as I think you have a far better chance of sustaining a healthy lifestyle if you begin young – it almost becomes a way of life’ hours, and we hope that will continue here. The energy the kids show is unbelievable – the mats are really hard work and obviously beneficial.” A teen gym will also be running at the site where youngsters can come and use the main equipment at specific times. ‘I am massively into getting kids active from an early age as I think you have a far better chance of sustaining a healthy lifestyle if you begin young it almost becomes a way of life. “The teen gym is ideal. “Kids can come straight from school and exercise, and certainly as a company we are looking at branching out into different youth based activities.”




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news 25

Equipment sponsor revealed Children can use the card to claim incentives

Kids ‘earn’ free leisure sessions By Mary Ferguson CHILDREN in Leicestershire are being encouraged to exercise by earning free leisure centre sessions for completing PE lessons at school. Club Activ8 is a pilot scheme run by North West Leicestershire District Council that rewards children for taking part in physical activity. It can either be at school or through free activities outside school hours in local authority leisure centres and the more physical activity they undertake, the more points they can earn and the more they have to cash in for activities. These points can also be accrued each term and cashed in

during school holidays Coun Trevor Pendleton of North West Leicestershire District Council, said: “We see this as one initiative towards our aim of making the children and residents of North West Leicestershire healthier. The pilot scheme is delivering increased physical activity levels in schools and increased usage in leisure centres. We are looking to extend the pilot into all schools and we would encourage all local authorities to look at our scheme and see if any elements would work for their local communities." The scheme operates using a barcoded key-fob leisure card, launched by Gladstone plc, that can be scanned at the end of a les-

son to build up points that can be converted into swimming or other leisure activities. A typical incentive for a child would involve two hours of school activities awarding 20 points or £2, enough for one free swim. Similar to loyalty cards issued by supermarkets, the key fobs are scanned at the end of the lesson or school club by the PE teacher via the electronic PDAs – Personal Digital Assistants – then docked at the local leisure centre where the data is downloaded.  What do you think? Send your comments to Mary Ferguson, 47 Church Street, Barnsley, South Yorkshire, S70 2AS or email

CYBEX International UK will be the official equipment sponsor for British Colleges Sport (BCS) this year. The association exists to encourage and enable students and colleges within the further education sector to develop their potential by providing sporting opportunities and services. John Hole, executive officer, said: “We are delighted to enter into a partnership with Cybex. They are committed to our philosophy of supporting high quality sporting facilities in the further education sector and we are confident our members will benefit from this sponsorship.”

Sorry, Joyce ... IN THE February issue of Future Fitness we reported on the success and achievements of the Newcastle School Sport Partnership, which swept the board at the third annual Sports Awards ceremony. In this piece we mistakenly referred to the partnership development manager as Joyce Bishop. Future Fitness magazine would like to clarify that the partnership development manager is actually called Joyce Matthews. We apologise for any embarrassment this may have caused.




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26 news

Nutrition should be a subject taught in schools if kids are to have a sustainable healthy life says nutritional therapist Teresa Doherty. Lyndsey Smith found out more.

Fundraising bid by school Nutrition must be on the timetable

A SCHOOL has set up a fundraising campaign with the aim of boosting the health and fitness of its pupils. St James’ RC Primary School in Hebburn is trying to raise £6,000 to buy a new climbing frame for the school playground to encourage the children to stay active at break times. The new project follows a successful campaign to raise money to create a trim trail, made up of stepping stones, a tunnel and wooden blocks, which was opened this month. Margaret McCullagh, a member of the fundraising committee, said: “The whole aim of the scheme is to improve the school’s facilities, keep the kids active and combat obesity. If they have things like this on their doorstep it is much easier for them to keep fit – and because it is so much fun they don’t even think of it as exercise – just play.” The school has already received a £3,000 grant from Durham based charity Sherburn House. Margaret added: “Many schools say they don’t have the money for up to date fitness equipment – so raising funds like this can really make a difference. I think there is a great need for it, especially if like us you are thinking about prevention rather than cure.”

THE government should be looking at incorporating nutrition into the national curriculum from as early as primary school age according to Teresa. She believes kids become more independent of parental control and are more susceptible to peer pressure and commercial advertising, so implementing a healthy diet and learning about food is crucial. She added: “Kids pick up initial eating habits from their peers and they should be made aware of how optimum nutrition is crucial for their future health. “It is important that they develop normal dietary behaviour and this should become a pattern early in life, ideally beginning in primary schools. “Maybe they could incorporate a flash card system teaching them about different vegetables and about where foods come from but whatever way schools decide to adopt, nutrition should definitely be built into lesson time.” Starting with the basics at this age gives a sound basis for developing the subject in secondary schools and Teresa thinks it would be ideal to link in with PE lessons. “It is crucial to realise that exercise and good diet go hand in hand so it makes sense to teach the two together.

Teresa Doherty “As kids get older they should be made aware of the risks of eating unhealthily. You need to give students lessons in basic nutrition, how certain foods work and react with our bodies and about the detriment of eating too many high sugary and fatty foods.” Although Teresa feels the government should make nutrition an educational subject she says there are things schools can do to help things

along the way. “If the government implement it, it has to be taught simple as that. “If it is optional it could be overlooked simply because of a time factor and a subject this important can’t afford to be – particularly at a time when obesity figures are creeping up. “As a subject there will be requirement for teachers to have a sound understanding of the subject and an appropiate qualification – maybe funding could be allocated from the government or the schools themselves – but this could take time so schools need to deliver as best they can in the short term. “They should be looking at their menus and the quality of the foods they are delivering – food that is healthy and with optimum nutritional values and rich in essential nutrients. “They need to assess vending machines and see what is being offered there and rectify appropriately.” She added: “There is a serious need for improvement in order to make health and fitness more sustainable and kids need to see what their health will be like if their diet really is at optimal level and what abuse is being done to their bodies with consumption of too many many fatty and sugary foods.”

Fantastic to see real investment in sector By Jonathan Williams REPORTS about the current economic doom and gloom are enough to make you want to take a long walk off a short pier. In spite of this and the efforts of the British mainstream media, the start of 2009 has been really positive for the youth sector of our industry. There is no doubt more organisations are focussing on this demographic and an increase in healthy competition is always going to be a good thing from SHOKK’s perspective. Provisions continue to increase on the ground with facilities and schools sports partnerships purchasing more equipment and training specifically

developed for young people. There is a real effort now to bridge gaps in the ‘5 hour offer’ and curricular and non curricular activity. More importantly, however, it is fantastic to finally see the start of real investment from central government and the NHS. This is evident in two recent launches, The NICE Physical Activity Guidelines for Children and the Change 4 Life Campaign. On behalf of the NHS, NICE published their guidelines for promoting physical activity for children recently, which took over two years to develop. These guidelines are very close to my heart as I sat on the Programme Development Group (PDG) directly

involved in publishing them. This allowed me to make an active contribution to the final recommendations which will undoubtedly play a central role within our industry over the coming years. The document is also extremely significant for the public sector and will assist with a more joined up approach within local governments, PCTs, schools and youth groups. The days of working completely independently with a PCT and council in the same area, as we have experienced in the past are hopefully behind us. The guidance focuses increasing opportunities for young people to take part in physical activity; helping

them to complete at least one hour each day and have access to weight bearing activities. It is also great to see more emphasis on the diversity of activity options from competitive sport to formal exercise, active play and other nontraditional forms such as streetdance. This links well to the Change 4 Life Campaign, in which SHOKK are playing a direct role. Communication here is all about just getting more people to make positive lifestyle choices and indeed get off their backsides. If we can set the right example as adults perhaps more young people will follow.  Jonathan Williams is CEO of Shokk

Junckers spring into action ... WHEN The Place, the UK’s premier centre for contemporary dance, needed floors for its new studios, Junckers was first choice to supply the highly technical and specialist flooring required. Nigel Hinds, project director for The Place said: “There’s something intangible about the balance of qualities – warmth, support, spring – that make an ideal floor for creating dance, but an artist knows when it feels right. “Having worked with Junckers before, we knew we’d get the best possible floors and specialist technical knowledge.” As The Place’s studios are used 14 hours a day, 364 days a year, an extremely durable surface is essential. Junckers pre-finished 22 mm Beech

SylvaSport Premium, nailed to Junckers New Era UnoBat cradle leveling system provide support without being rigid and responds beautifully to the dancers’ every step. The flooring contractors were VA Hutchison Flooring Ltd. For more information call: 01376 534700 or visit:

31 Resource Directory



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This spring Future Fitness will be launching its very own e-newsletter. The monthly letter will contain breaking news from the industry as well as information about forthcoming features and events. Like the magazine, the e-newsletter is completely free to receive. All we need you to do is register your e-mail address by visiting our website,, calling 01226 734695 or complete the registration form that arrives with your copy of Future Fitness. Any companies wishing to take advantage of the sponsorship opportunities available on the e-newsletter should contact 01226 734672 or e-mail

05 - Fitlinxx



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Future Fitness (March Issue)  

Sport and fitness for todays youth.

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