Dream Big - local schools urged to claim free physical activity sessions

Date published: 20 January 2021

Schools across Greater Manchester can still claim a share of 2021 hours of FREE physical activity sessions during the national COVID-19 lockdown, thanks to leading local provider Dream Big Sports.

Despite the current restrictions, Dream Big Sports are committed to ensuring the negative impact on children’s physical health and wellbeing is minimised during the national lockdown.

In December, the big-hearted Oldham company launched the ‘Get Manchester Active’ campaign, which saw schools across the region queuing up to claim their share of 2021 hours of FREE physical activity sessions.

Applications were submitted by schools from right across Greater Manchester, each wanting their pupils to take advantage of the offer, equalling £45,000 of investment which has been put forward by non-profit organisation Dream Big Sports and backed by Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham.

The deteriorating situation with COVID-19 and a third national lockdown introduced by the Government had threatened to derail Dream Big Sports’ ambition to get children active and ‘catch up’ with lost hours from 2020.

However, the organisation and team behind the campaign are as committed as ever in achieving their goal.

The team, based in Oldham, have adapted their provision and provided over 30 hours of free virtual PE lessons, yoga sessions and dance lessons to schools to ensure PE and physical activity remains at the heart of schools and households during this lockdown.

Director Dale Harris said: “It isn’t ideal to say the least, we wanted to head into the new year and really get moving with the campaign.

"We had schools signed up ready for the provision but the safety of teachers, children and our team has to be the priority.

"The additional catch up provision is needed more than ever before because the region’s young people will miss physical exercise so our commitment to the campaign hasn’t wavered at all, we simply have a shorter time period to execute it now.”

“We have had to adapt like everyone else, whilst we continue to support schools with their provision or keyworker and vulnerable children we have created a comprehensive and high quality online learning platform which has be accessed by schools right across the region, in fact more than 1700 children have accessed it in the first week.

"The feedback from parents, families, children and schools has been fantastic and we will continue to do this throughout the lockdown period.

"It is vital for children’s health and wellbeing they continue to stay active whilst at home.”

It has been reported that less than 19% of children took part in the recommended one hour per day of physical activity.

Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector Amanda Spielman stated in the Ofsted Annual Report (2020): “Our reports show that children’s physical fitness has suffered from lockdown.

"School leaders told us that children came back less active and less fit. This highlights the importance of physical education and school sport.”

Dream Big Sports is a not for profit organisation based in Cobden Street, Chadderton, which provides sporting and educational opportunities for disadvantaged or deprived young people to help them achieve their dreams.

Dream Big Sports was named as finalist in two categories of the Oldham Business Awards 2020, including Business of The Year with turnover under £1m before the event was postponed due to COVID-19.

For more information regarding the Get Manchester Active campaign or the online provision set up by Dream Big Sports contact a member of their team on 0161 669 5818, or visit: www.dreambigsports.co.uk

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