Council run children’s centres in Central Bedfordshire recognised at national awards

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Staff win accolade at Youth Sport Trust Awards

Staff from Central Bedfordshire Council’s children’s centres have been recognised at the Youth Sport Trust awards.

The children’s centres won an award for their work to deliver the Healthy Movers programme, which aims to increase children's physical activity. The centres include Leighton Buzzard Children’s Centre, Sandy and Biggleswade Locality Children’s Centre, Flitwick Locality Children’s Centre, Shefford and Stotfold Locality Children’s Centre, Houghton Regis Locality Children’s Centre and Dunstable Locality Chidren’s Centre.They collectively won an award in the Outstanding Early Years Physical Literacy Practice category at a ceremony held in Telford.

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The Healthy Movers programme is an initiative by the Youth Sport Trust, which aims to improve children’s physical development and support their social and emotional wellbeing. After wanting to find a way to help families and children become more active, the council's Leisure team secured grant funding from BeActive and Sport England that enabled staff from the children’s centres attended a training session run by the Youth Sport Trust in 2020 to enable them to deliver the programme locally.

Staff from Central Bedfordshire Council’s children’s centres have won an award at the Youth Sport Trust awardsStaff from Central Bedfordshire Council’s children’s centres have won an award at the Youth Sport Trust awards
Staff from Central Bedfordshire Council’s children’s centres have won an award at the Youth Sport Trust awards

With the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns, staff were unable to deliver face-to-face sessions. Instead, they ran virtual sessions on Facebook and Microsoft Teams, and recorded sessions to post on social media so families had access to the sessions with one video being viewed more than 900 times.

Feedback from families showed they looked forward to the sessions, giving them a reason to move, helping them have fun with their children and having a positive impact on mental health. Data from April 2023 has also shown a reduction in obesity levels in Reception aged children in Central Beds.

Following this successful initial training, the council obtained additional funding from Be Active to train early years staff.

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Councillor Hayley Whitaker, Executive Member for Families, Education and Children, said: "We are thrilled that the work of our children’s centres has been recognised, after they worked so hard to deliver the programme throughout the pandemic and beyond.

"The Healthy Movers programme is a fantastic way to help get children and families more active, and the combined efforts of our children’s centre staff, leisure service and Public Health colleagues have helped make it such a success.”