Sheffield children benefit from £40,000 investment in sporting activities

Sheffield City Trust (SCT) has announced a huge investment in initiatives to get the city’s children active this summer.

SCT’s operating arm, SIV, will offer free swimming and skating lessons as part of a £40,000 fund aimed at getting hundreds of children playing sports and learning a new life skill.

With children spending more time around swimming pools during the school holidays, Concord Sports Centre will run more than 100 hours of free swimming lessons throughout the summer to help improve safety around the water.

Through the lessons, SIV are aiming to help as many kids as possible swim 25 metres, while increasing confidence and reducing drowning, which is one of the most common causes of accidental death in children.

iceSheffield has teamed up with Sheffield Futures, TimeBuilders and Street Leagues to host six days of intensive ice skating lessons to 180 people across the community.

Paul Hudson, general manager at iceSheffield, said: “Ice skating is really popular with older children, particularly teenage girls. It’s a fun activity and provides a high level of exercise without the participant realising how much work they’re putting in.”

Children from four different schools, Phillimore, Wybourn, Oasis Don Valley and Netherthorpe, have already completed a four-week Learn to Skate programme, where every child achieved National Ice Skating Association (NISA) Level One and received a badge and certificate of completion.

The health and wellbeing charity, which operates 13 sports and leisure venues in Sheffield, has also confronted the challenge of sugary drinks head on by adding a 20p charge to all drinks with added sugar sold at cafes and vending machines at its SIV leisure facilities.

Independent figures from the University of Sheffield shot that there has been a 30 per cent reduction in sugar intake across the city.

Current response levels indicate that SIV is on course to remove 1.3 tonnes of sugar – the equivalent of

  • 332,750 teaspoons of sugar
  • 1,472 lbs fat – about 105 stone in weight
  • More than five million calories, which to burn off would take
  • Over 51,000 miles of walking
  • Over 10,000 spin classes or one-hour swims
  • Over 6,000 hours of 5-a-side
  • Over 31,000 hours of housework

So far, the initiative has raised more than £10,000 from sales of high sugar drinks. SIV will reinvest every penny in obesity and diabetes prevention programmes for young people, pledging a minimum of £25,000 to the initiative.

In addition, SIV are ensuring the role of nutrition as part of a healthy lifestyle is better understood by children by teaming up with Children’s Food Trust to offer a new summer holiday camp with a twist. Eat Well, Move More! is a new initiative where children will learn how to cook a healthy meal and play a range or sports throughout the day.

Andrew Snelling, deputy chief executive at SIV, said: “As a health and wellbeing charity, we are committed to helping people of all ages live well. Encouraging children to be active from a young age and educating them about nutrition will help them grow into healthier adults.

“Providing youngsters with ice skating and swimming lessons will boost their confidence as they develop their skills and provide the building blocks for an active future.

“We’ve always tried to be bold in the choices we make and the move from high-sugar to low-sugar alternatives, combined with innovative ways to get young people active takes us one step closer to tackling obesity across the city.”

For more information, visit www.siv.org.uk.