Coronavirus, an update from Active Cornwall

Active Cornwall Blog 4: Encouraging Play, Active Travel and Swimming

Tim Marrion

My name is Tim Marrion and I lead on our Children, Young People and Families portfolio here at Active Cornwall supporting children, their families, community providers and schools to ensure children complete 60 minutes of physical activity every day.

Buts it's not physical activity I want to talk to you about its PLAY! Yes, our focus over the next 12 months is going to be on play and how we ensure all children in Cornwall 'return to play' as quickly and as appropriately as possible.

We know some children and their families have been effected by the pandemic more than others and we need to address these INEQUALITIES we have in Cornwall. We aim to do this along with partners through play and social interaction with their friends and families to increase levels of emotional resilience as well as their levels of physical activity.

The evidence tells us confidence levels have dropped in children towards physical activity and this is something we will focus on as we aim to improve levels of physical literacy and the following components:

  1. Competence
  2. Confidence
  3. Enjoyment
  4. Understanding
  5. Knowledge

Of these we will and we hope others will focus on ENJOYMENT as the most important element that drives children to take part in physical activity and play. Is that your number 1 outcome when you deliver activity to children?

Recently we have been commissioned to lead on the Government's Holiday Activity and Food Programme and you can read more about this and how to get involved here. This is exciting for us as the focus really aligns to our priorities of addressing inequalities and will help to solve a triple inequality we have in Cornwall on:

  • Low levels of physical activity
  • Poor diet
  • High levels of social isolation

Two other areas that are important for us are as follows and will be a focus in our place-based approach where those inequalities are higher:

  1. Active Travel and how we fit activity into the daily routines of children and their families. Over the last 12 month we have seen some impact in this area and with the number of children receiving Bikeability training doubling and a new partnership with Modeshift Stars we hope to continue this and more details are available HERE.
  2. Swimming and ensuring all children leave year 6 capable to swim a minimum of 25 metres. Working with facility providers and in particular GLL and the Cornwall Better centres we hope to ensure children return to swimming and school swimming as soon as possible in a Covid safe environment.

Times are exciting and the challenge has never been so important but as we engage new partners like Park Play, Boing and Vivify (go check them out!) to ensure children are central to an 'active recovery' and 'return to play' we hope you will come on this journey with us.

To finish have a look at the 3 words in capitals and bold in this blog as they summarise our focus over the next 12 months:

PLAY                ENJOYMENT              INEQUALITIES

To get in touch please email Tim.Marrion@cornwall.gov.uk