Sporting chance

24 May 2018

Finding ways to help Hopefuls get active can have a huge impact on their long-term wellbeing (both mental and physical), and is one of the most practical ways we can help them. A variety of things can get in the way of young people getting active, including lack of access to all but a very limited selection of sports, cost of clubs, or the fact that parents or carers aren’t necessarily in a position to support them in getting to practices. As a result, more than a third of children in Islington are overweight or obese by the time they leave Primary School, with children from the most deprived areas twice as likely to be obese as those from the least deprived areas.

Last year, we received a grant to cover the cost of a programme of sports taster activities led by specialist coaches, and over the past 10 months we have run classes in dance, badminton, Zumba, tennis, and Mixed Martial Arts or MMA which uses techniques from boxing, kick boxing and Muay Thai, wrestling, Ju-jutsu and judo. The MMA sessions have been a particular favourite with Hopefuls and the benefits go far beyond the physical: the sessions bring together Hopefuls from different age groups and we have seen some fantastic cohesion between young people who otherwise wouldn’t have come into contact with each other. We’ve seen young people’s concentration skills improve as they listen carefully to instructions and take advice from adults and we’ve seen their confidence and resilience grown as they try something they thought they would never be able to do, or that they have failed at in the past.

We’re looking forward to running many more of these kinds of activities in the future.

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