Midland Mencap is celebrating after being awarded £343,465 of National Lottery funding from Sport England to help low income families of children with Special Educational Need and/or Disabilities (SEND) in Birmingham get active with their children.
Four out of five primary school children do not get the recommended amount of daily exercise of 60 minutes a day, and are missing out on the benefits it brings. Children from low income families are most likely to do very little physical activity.
Midland Mencap’s ‘parkride’ family cycling project is one of the first projects to receive investment from a £40 million National Lottery funding pot that Sport England has dedicated to helping families get active together.
The fund is a key part of Sport England’s focus on helping young people have an enjoyable experience of sport and physical activity so they develop a positive attitude towards being active at an early age and continue being active in later life.
Sport England are funding organisations that help families get active together, because parents and close family members can have a big impact on children’s experiences. As well as giving children direct access to sporting opportunities, Sport England research shows that they are also significant role models in helping their children get active – because how a parent behaves impacts what a child sees as important.
Parents who are active themselves, and enjoy it, can encourage positive feelings about exercise and its value in their children. Yet many parents lack the skills or confidence to take part in sport with their children as they fear they cannot keep up. For example, if adults don’t know how to swim or lack confidence on a bike, this has a knock-on impact on the activities they feel they can do as a family and how much they encourage children to take part.
Each of the funded projects will work to address this by building adults’ confidence around getting active with their children, and by providing experiences for families that are enjoyable, convenient and low cost.
Midland Mencap understand that people can lead very busy lives so finding time to take part in activities together as a family can be a real challenge. For families of children with Special Educational Need and/or Disabilities (SEND) it can be even more difficult to find activities, events and things to do as a family.
1. The Chief Medical Officer recommends that children and young people do at least 60 minutes of moderate physical activity every day. Currently, just 23% of boys and 20% of girls meet the national recommended level of activity. 47% of children from the households with the lowest incomes do low levels of activity. Health Survey for England 2016: Children’s health information Sport England commissioned-research conducted by The Behavioural Architects 2017
‘parkride’ is a fun, free and flexible inclusive family cycling project that provides the whole family, regardless of need with the opportunity to enjoy cycling.
The project will be based at Midland Mencap’s Outdoor Learning Centre in Sutton Park, and will provide families access to a range of adapted and mainstreams bikes and specially designed routes.
Sport England’s Director of Children and Young People Jayne Molyneux said:
“It’s not right that four in five children don’t get enough exercise and are missing out on the health benefits it brings. Just by seeing their parents being active, children can be inspired to do the same, and if they have an enjoyable experience they’re far more likely to continue as an adult.
“Parents have many demands on their time, and often lack the confidence to get active with their children. That’s why Sport England is working hard to make getting active with your children an easy choice. With this new National Lottery funding, Midland Mencap will be able to provide families with access to a range of adapted and mainstream bikes to enjoy together for free.
Midland Mencap’s Head of Children, Young People and Community Services Edd Terrey said:
“We are thrilled to have received this National Lottery Funding to develop the ‘parkride’ cycling project. This funding will allow us to start breaking down some of the main barriers that can prohibit families of children with SEND from taking part in physical activities together”
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About Sport England
Sport England is a public body and invests up to £300 million National Lottery and government money each year in projects and programmes that help people get active and play sport.
It wants everyone in England, regardless of age, background, or level of ability, to feel able to engage in sport and physical activity. That’s why a lot of its work is specifically focused on helping people who do no, or very little, physical activity and groups who are typically less active – like women, disabled people and people on lower incomes.
About Midland Mencap
Midland Mencap is a charity which works and campaigns for accessible and inclusive services and a better quality of life for everyone with experience of learning disabilities and additional needs.
Our vision is a world where everybody is valued and included as active and equal citizens in their community regardless of need.