Introducing SportInspired’s Mental Wellbeing Programme: SportInspired 2.0

January 25, 2018

Let us bring you up to speed

If you imagine you know everything about SportInspired in terms of our commitment to social change then it might be time for us to bring you up to speed on the way we are evolving our organisation. We’re constantly looking to increase the level of impact we have as we bring together more children, young people and volunteers, and we’re excited to share what that looks like in 2018.

Background

So far in SportInspired’s history, we’ve focused on working with young people to solve social problems such as anti-social behaviour and obesity at grassroots level through sport and physical activity. This has brought us amazing success in terms of profile and impact, and allowed us to build long term embedded relationships with all our major stakeholders.

Our evolved model

However, in our view the new year should always bring new challenges. Which is why we have developed our model to place an equal amount of emphasis on mental as well as physical wellbeing through our programmes and training.

You can’t have missed it in the press: an increasing body of scientific evidence suggests that mental health and physical health inextricably linked. In fact, we believe these two are in a reciprocal relationship – a veritable love in.

It gives us a great pleasure to announce the launch of our new programme, SportInspired 2.0, which focuses on the positive effects of physical activity on young children’s mental health and wellbeing. After many successful programmes related to sport and physical health (programmes that we will of course carry on doing…) we are now determined to help look after young people’s mental wellbeing in order to tackle a broader range of issues, and ultimately, have more impact.

A proven philosophy

At SportInspired, we know that mental wellbeing is THE key factor allowing a young person to lead a happy, healthy, and successful life. We help children achieve their full potential by giving them the tools to look after themselves both physically and mentally. We are confident that we can make a change and that we can improve the outcomes for strong mental wellbeing through prevention and early intervention.

The scale of the problem

Unfortunately, a significant amount of scientific research suggests that young people’s mental wellbeing is in decline: according to Public Health England, 1 in 10 children will have a clinically diagnosed mental disorder at any one point during childhood, 10% of all mental disorders emerge before the age of 14 and the lowest levels of mental wellbeing are around the ages of 14 to 15 years. A Varkey Foundation report states that young people in the UK have the second poorest mental wellbeing in the world. The risks are even higher for young people in deprived communities.

Our own research shows that low levels of mental resilience are associated with long-term problems. Poor mental health can be a significant risk indicator for other diseases, such as obesity and eating disorders, anxiety and depression. It can also be associated with lower education and employment attainment, social isolation and anti-social behaviour.

Here at SportInspired, we are determined to address this problem because we believe that solving this issue will enhance young peoples’ ability to develop psychologically, to build up and nurture social connections, to interact within communities and develop a sense of self-confidence.

It is our strong opinion that sport is the key factor that helps shape positive mental health and wellbeing. It works as a pivotal mechanism that connects each of the New Economics Foundation’s Five Ways to Wellbeing: Give, Keep Learning, Be Active, Take Notice and Connect.

Our first festival with a focus on mental wellbeing

We are delighted to share with you the good news: today we are holding our very first Festival of Wellbeing in partnership with a major corporate partner. This marks the first in many events to come as part of our long-term Mental Wellbeing Programme.

What a fantastic day for us, the young people and all of our key stakeholders. The Festival of Wellbeing sees around 200 primary school children between the ages of 8 and 11 participate in the event, involving 6 schools and 5 sport and yoga clubs. 65 Young Leaders will run the festival and 18 volunteers will support the Young Leaders. The scale of it will be quite something.

 

Our purpose is to help young people achieve their full potential by developing their mental health and wellbeing, with our goal being to support 50,000 young people to improve their mental wellbeing by 2020.

The beneficiaries of our Mental Wellbeing Programme are children aged between 5 and 12, plus Young Leaders aged between 13 and 16 and Community ambassadors aged 16+. We are committed to each of these three groups of individuals, and we have specific goals in mind for each. Our approach is as follows:

  • Young Children: get them involved in sports and help them achieve better health, better behaviour, better relationships, social inclusion and self-confidence.
  • Young Leaders: deliver leadership training sessions, helping them develop employability skills, a sense of purpose and social inclusion.
  • Community ambassadors: get them engaged in local communities, helping them to build positive mental attitude and find a sense of belonging by being involved in community creation.

Overall, we want to encourage children to participate in regular sport and physical activitity and thus, help them understand the influence of physical activity on mental health and wellbeing. This will lead to increased self-esteem, mental alertness and positivity, reduced stress and anxiety, lower levels of obesity, higher levels of energy and vitality, the ability to identify and manage their emotions and the ability to cope with stress.

It’s not just about the Festival …  next steps!

We’ll continue to deliver the behaviour change started at this Festival. Our programme is a stepping stone to healthier lifestyles for young children and we will continue to embed new values and attitudes into our community groups via ongoing training and mentoring.

Our goal is to have established sports clubs in primary schools for the rest of the academic year, where children can return and practice the sport they began to engage with during the festival. We’ll also deliver further training for Young Leaders, improving both their employability skills and their mental wellbeing (positive attitudes, self-confidence, self-esteem), and, further down the line allowing them to access better work experience opportunities.

Lastly, we want our festival’s volunteers to continue their involvement with local communities. We offer them continued opportunities to be involved with our programmes, and find that the overhwhelming majority of ambassadors wish to be involved again – and often year in and year out!

And we’ve just started! This is just a little flavour of SportInspired’s future plans.  We hope we’ve made you curious enough to follow our next campaigns and festivals.

Want to find out more? Please contact us at info@sportinspired.org.

 

Comments are closed.