Future elite sports stars could be in the making as a yearly programme designed to support talented children is in full swing. Young Champions a programme delivered in partnership between Tees Valley Sport and Teesside University, gives children aged 9-10 who have been identified for their sporting ability the chance to develop further.
The project was developed to support Primary Schools delivering sport and physical activity as part of their Primary School Premium funding encouraging talented young players and athletes to act as positive role models within their primary schools
Focus is placed on developing the children’s agility, balance and co-ordination, while further teaching them what it takes to be an athlete in regards to fitness and nutrition.
Children from schools throughout the Tees Valley gather once a month at Teesside University to develop the skills in a specific area. Sporting success is not only the objective of Young Champions, the programme also hopes to have a further positive influence in the children’s lives with classes on goal setting and lifestyle choices.
Programme leader Lis Greenwell said:
“Our aim is to develop and bring young people together in order to give them the best possible chance not just in sport but in life.”
Nutrition plays an important role in the programme with emphasis placed on its long term health benefits, physical activities and games sessions focusing on nutrition are used to help the children learn about healthy eating in a fun filled way.
One of the children Gene said:
“I am learning to eat well and I will try my best to carry on”.
While parents Joanne and Scott from Darlington mentioned that since coming to the Young Champions sessions they have seen a vast improvement in their child’s diet.
The tasks and activities used in the programme are also set up to improve the children’s social and organisational skills. Teacher Daniel Holmes of Park End primary school in Middlesbrough said:
“The two children from our school that come here really enjoy mixing with other children, this programme is great because it is new experience for them and it is benefiting them in so many ways.”