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Being active has a huge positive impact on health outcomes. The reduction in physical activity due to the COVID-19 lockdown is worrying as inactivity has significant implications for everyone, including children.

Locally we know schools and families are looking for ways to re-engage children with outdoor spaces and get them more active.

In Redcar, a partnership approach which includes Kidz Konnekt, North Yorkshire Moors National Park, MFC Foundation, Everyone Active at Eston Leisure Centre, the local Police, and South Bank Primary is hoping to help overcome this and re-address the balance.

Working together, they will deliver two different activity programs over the next year, with one in term time and the other during school holidays. It will offer children, young people, parents and teachers a range of outdoor activities, education, sport, recreation and leisure opportunities in their local community.

Activities will take place on school grounds, local recreation areas, parks and beauty spots. It will also introduce them to local areas of interest that are accessible and within a 30-minute drive of home.

All local schools in Redcar are invited to participate in the program, and they are encouraged to co-design the school term activities to help meet their specific need.

Children and families will be provided with information to carry on activities themselves away from the formal programme.  These will be in the form of ‘missions’, which can be completed without equipment. They can be set as ‘homework’ between each day or weekly sessions. The missions will inspire curiosity about the natural world and a sense of adventure and encourage families to connect with their outdoor spaces and local greenspace.

In addition, the missions will stimulate different ways of seeing the local environment, and it’s hoped they will foster an attitude for caring for it.  Families will also be encouraged and supported to participate in the National Park’s Family John Muir Award, which can be completed in their community.

Throughout the 12-month programme, seven Redcar schools will be offered two teacher training sessions utilising school grounds and local green spaces. In addition, they are working with the schools to identify areas where they need support to encourage children to be more active and connected with outdoor space.

The programme partnership has a wealth of experience school’s can tap into. They include navigation skills, walk leading (an opportunity to identify a school walk to be undertaken at different times of the year with cross-curricular activity ideas), being safe outdoors and team building. Schools will also be encouraged and supported to take a school John Muir Award.

Measuring what can be learnt from this will be embedded in the programme evaluation. It will tell the community story, the impact of the programme and the difference it has made.

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