Copeland Borough Council

A SUMMER programme to help keep children safe and active is being delivered in Whitehaven.

‘Fit. Fun. Fed’ is newly-developed by the South Whitehaven Youth Partnership, offering a free six-week programme aimed at eight- to 12-year-olds and runs twice weekly in both Kells and Mirehouse.

Each session lasts three hours, split into six activities, and children are placed into bubbles of six to complete a series of socially-distanced sporting activities and games, including football skills, snakes and ladders, and sack racing.

It will culminate in a sports day in the final week to allow children to demonstrate what they have learned and compete for prizes.

All children who attend will be provided with a free packed lunch, and it is hoped that this provision will help children who may otherwise struggle to access healthy lunches over the summer holidays.

Staff from the South Whitehaven Youth Partnership are running the programme alongside Family Action and local sports volunteers.

Jacq Cardy, from the Partnership, said: “Over the past two weeks, it has been great seeing children and young people interacting with each other safely. Many of the children we are working with have not been out with friends, instead they have only been socialising through computer games and social media.  Parents have stated ‘they were becoming ‘house hermits’. 

“The programme was initially set up to encourage children and young people to be fit and healthy, but due to the current pandemic it has been much more than this. These children and young people are going back to school in September after many months off and, during this time, have limited group/face-to-face interaction with peers.  This programme is allowing children and young people to be safe while having fun. Sanitising and cleaning is now the new normal. 

“We would like to say a big thanks to Well Whitehaven, Cumbria Community Foundation and West Cumbria Community Action Trust for funding the project.”

The focus on keeping children safely socially active hopes to address some of the detrimental effects of the pandemic on children’s mental health and wellbeing by allowing them to interact with other children and be active. All health and safety measures have been rigorously implemented and guidelines adhered to, to ensure children are kept safe throughout.

Emma Williamson, Well Whitehaven Community Regeneration Officer, said: “It is important to support initiatives that enable our young people to be outside and be active whilst supporting healthy eating and, of course, offering fun interactive sessions.”

The sessions take place every Tuesday and Thursday at Kells Welfare (11am to 2pm), and every Wednesday and Friday at St Benedict’s Rugby Club in Mirehouse (11am to 2pm).

If you would like to attend the summer programme, please contact the South Whitehaven Youth Partnership office on 01946 328440 or via the Facebook page. Please note the Tuesday session at Kells is currently full.