Ipswich Town Football Club has joined the drive to get more youngsters active, becoming the £80,000 Active Schools project’s first ambassador.
Launched in July last year by Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Councils, in partnership with NHS West Suffolk and NHS Ipswich and East Suffolk clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) and supported by Active Suffolk; the three-year Active Schools project aims to increase the number of people taking part in sport and physical activity.
Funded by an £80,000 investment – with £25,000 from each of the district councils and £15,000 from the two CCGs respectively, Active Schools will engage with 20 schools across Babergh and Mid Suffolk, with Active Suffolk already working closely with 15.
Ipswich Town Football Club supports and advocates the project’s key aspiration to enable young people in Babergh and Mid Suffolk to lead an active lifestyle. Through their Community Trust, they will provide access to initiatives that include sport, education, community engagement and health, working with Active Suffolk and partners to maximise the number of opportunities for young people to be physically active.
For the Babergh and Mid Suffolk areas combined, 28.9% of Year 6 pupils are overweight, including 15.6% who are classified as obese.1
The project aims to address this problem through targeted support for schools, helping children live longer, happier and healthier lives, as well as reducing future healthcare costs and improving quality of life.
Cllr Derek Davis, cabinet member for communities at Babergh District Council, said:
“Babergh is delighted to welcome Ipswich Town’s support. This work with Active Schools to promote healthier habits and physical activity is an exciting and challenging initiative and it’s important we take crucial steps to promote healthy and happy communities for generations to come - the very same reason we’re investing more than £4m to modernise and extend our leisure facilities in Hadleigh and Sudbury.”
Cllr Julie Flatman, cabinet member for communities and housing at Mid Suffolk District Council, said:
“Supporting our communities to live active, happy and healthy lifestyles underpins the visions set out in our Communities and Leisure, Sport & Physical Activity Strategies.
“The project has already had a great response and it’s hoped that by combining the expertise of our public health partners to promote physical activity, healthy habits and tackle childhood obesity, we can give young people in our districts the best chance early on in life.”
Richard Watson, Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Strategy and Transformation at NHS Ipswich and East Suffolk and West Suffolk CCGs, said:
“Developing good lifestyle habits at an early age is so important and gives young people the very best chance of enjoying a healthy and happy adulthood, reducing associated physical and mental health risks.
“We welcome the opportunity to fund this project and support our partners.”
Jason Curtis, Head of Community at Ipswich Town Football Club, said:
“We are delighted to support this programme which mirrors our own ambitions to increase physical activity in schools creating a stronger, healthier more active community as a consequence.
“It offers us the chance to be able to encourage children to get active both within school time and when they play with us outside of the classroom providing extra-curricular opportunities from open access level to our academy.”
John Clough, Director of Active Suffolk, said:
“Active Suffolk has been helping to deliver the Active Schools project since July 2019, offering targeted interventions for primary schools. It’s great that Ipswich Town Football Club has joined us in this mission and to increase awareness of the programme.”
Insights gained in the first year will inform how the project is delivered moving forward.
1 National Child Measurement Programme, England 2018/19 School Year.
Photographs from the launch of the Active Schools initiative can be found on the councils’ Flickr page.