For the Liverpool CCG Physical Activities engagement early 2016 we ran a week of activities with partners Kaalmo and SWDT, followed by further sit-offs where we continued to talk about Living Well. Chocolates, sweets and Coke were replaced with water, fruit, breakfast bars and a choice of healthy lunch options. To the arts and crafts mix we added indoor sports – badminton; table tennis and skipping.
On arrival many of the young people searched the resource boxes and sports bags for the ‘missing’ chocolate and Coke! The fact there were sports activities planned also came as a surprise.
Shock tactics took their time! Nobody wanted fruit or water to begin with – this was the trigger to talk about what was in their favourite snacks and the harm so much sugar and ‘empty calories’ could do.
Some of the older participants took up the rackets, bats and skipping ropes after the arts workshops and this prompted the younger children to want to take part. This resulted in volunteers joining with some of the older children to show the rest how to play badminton and table tennis, and how to skip.
The arrival of the Balloon Lady (as Sarah from Young Transitions became known) for the balloon sculpting workshop saw a jump in energy levels as they made horses and jet packs and proceeded to see who could burst the most opponents balloons.
We saw them taking water and few ate some of the fruit –
“Start getting healthy and stop buying junk food. Then you can get muscular and you look more handsome”
As the week progressed it was refreshing to see the young children come in and go straight to the badminton rackets and not search for sweets! There was also a queue for the table tennis and skipping ropes. Discussions continued during sedate arts and crafts and Play Station sessions. We repeated the messages about the benefits of being active and the range of opportunities they might want to try.
Feedback from parents was that their children were really enjoying the week and some were surprised to hear that they had voluntarily eaten fruit!
The most important lessons were: the value of being active/more active; the importance of this becoming a habit – but remaining a fun thing to do; that physical activity was more than sport. In the future they would like to take part in: bike rides; walks in Delamere Forest; to set up a Kaalmo netball team, and to go horse riding. When asked what they will do different they said: walk more; go to the gym; attend Kaalmo football training and help with housework
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