Amongst all the good going on in our town, Doncaster is the second fattest town in the UK. This accolade unfortunately isn’t one to be proud of. However, we’re thankfully not unique in the struggle to reduce obesity, move more and eat better.
In many areas, levels of obesity and lifestyle related conditions continue to rise. The most worrying aspect of this problem is that it’s not just adults suffering the consequences – it’s children too. With the explosion of social media and the online world, young people simply aren’t active enough.
This is something that Doncaster charity Active Fusion is trying to change, by giving children, young people and families greater opportunities to get physically active.
Their mission is to help every child develop a love for being active by unlocking potential and creating positive habits for life by raising aspirations, creating connections and improving physical health and wellbeing.
They do this by:
Providing schools with sports coaches to improve the teaching and learning of Physical Education.
Providing young people and adults with opportunities, such as apprenticeships, to learn new skills through sports.
Helping families to be more active together.
Improving teacher confidence and competence in teaching Physical Education.
Encouraging businesses to support their employees to be active.
Through running sports camps to help children access physical activity outside of school.
Through providing leadership opportunities through sport.
Active Fusion founder and director Lindsay James has explained why being active as a child is so important in forming positive habits as an adult.
She said: “I spent many hours of my childhood playing outside. I saw physical activity as play and didn’t realise I was forming a positive lifelong habit.
“As a child I always tried my best, but never excelled. However, 15 years later it was running that gave me the opportunity to shine.
“Running has taught me many important life lessons such as resilience, commitment and how to support others. But what about young people who don’t have the opportunities I had?
“Active Fusion is working to develop children’s social and emotion skills through sport and if we can get it right, I believe we are contributing to creating a happier and healthier generation of people.”
James Scally, 25, is an Active Fusion apprentice and has always dreamed of having a career in sport. He has autism and has faced many challenges on his journey to becoming an apprentice, including being told his ambitions were too high. But since working with Active Fusion, he has gone from strength to strength and even runs his own disability football club.
He said: “My confidence and organisational skills have improved and I want to show other people with disabilities that they can feel confident and good about themselves.”
Ben Sweeney, 25, has also improved his skillset and confidence since volunteering with Active Fusion and has never let having Down’s Syndrome hold him back.
He said: “Volunteering for Active Fusion has developed my confidence in my ability to work within a team and my own self-worth. I enjoy giving up my team to help children stay active and feel that sport brings them together.”
Rachel Spencer has taken part in Active Fusion’s Active Start sessions, which are designed to help families be active together.
She said: “Active Start has been a support network. It gets me out of the house and provides more opportunities for active play with my kids.”
School Games, a sporting competition series for children, is just one of the ways Active Fusion has been involved with improving child participation in school sport.
Andrew Finch, of Morley Place Academy, takes his students to the Active Fusion organised events.
He said: “The students always love the events and look forward to them. We don’t always win, but it’s about learning and sportsmanship, with the main focus being on having fun and doing your best.”
If you’d like to find out more about Active Fusion, search for them on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram or contact them on firstname.lastname@example.org