Central Bedfordshire Council news and press releases

Children’s centres are winners at Youth Sport Trust Awards

Friday, 12 April 2024

Staff from our children’s centres have won an award at the Youth Sport Trust awards.

The children’s centres won the award for their work to deliver the Healthy Movers programme, which aims to increase physical activity among children, across Central Bedfordshire. They were the winner in the Outstanding Early Years Physical Literacy Practice category at the awards held in Telford at the end of March.

The Healthy Movers programme is an initiative by the Youth Sport Trust, which aims to improve children’s physical development and support their social and emotional wellbeing. After wanting to find a way to help families and children become more active, the Council's Leisure team secured grant funding from BeActive and Sport England that enabled staff from the children’s centres attended a training session run by the Youth Sport Trust in 2020 to enable them to deliver the programme locally.

With the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns, staff were unable to deliver face-to-face sessions. Instead, they ran virtual sessions on Facebook and Microsoft Teams, and recorded sessions to post on social media so families had access to the sessions with one video being viewed more than 900 times.

Feedback from families showed that they looked forward to the sessions, giving them a reason to move, helping them have fun with their children and having a positive impact on mental health. Furthermore, data from April 2023 has also shown a reduction in obesity levels in Reception aged children in Central Bedfordshire.

Following this successful initial training, we obtained additional funding from Be Active to train early years staff, and there are now a total of 100 Healthy Movers ‘champions’ in 66 early years settings across Central Bedfordshire, who can deliver the programme.

Councillor Hayley Whitaker, Executive Member for Families, Education and Children, said:

We are thrilled that the work of our children’s centres has been recognised, after they worked so hard to deliver the programme throughout the pandemic and beyond. The Healthy Movers programme is a fantastic way to help get children and families more active, and the combined efforts of our children’s centre staff, leisure service and Public Health colleagues have helped make it such a success. It’s fantastic to know so many families have benefitted, and will continue to benefit, as the children’s centres continue to expand on their work so far.