How Hartlepool officials will help families stay fit and active

Councillors have welcomed a £364,000 project coming to Hartlepool to support families to get active and play sport.

Monday, 18th June 2018, 5:20 pm
Updated Tuesday, 19th June 2018, 2:38 pm
Photo Mike Egerton/PA Wire

Hartlepool Borough Council is one of only 10 organisations in the country to win a grant from Sport England’s Families Fund for just over £280,000.

It aims to support less well off families with children aged between five and 10 to get active and play sport together.

The total value of the project, which will run for four years, is £364,740 with in-kind match funding from partners.

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It aims to support at least 350 families in Hartlepool over the four years.

Gemma Ptak, the council’s assistant director (preventative and community-based services), said they also aim to work with older siblings to make sure the programme is fully inclusive.

She said: “The programme will be available to all areas of the town, however, there will be some focus work in the initial stages to work in the south of the town, mainly the Manor ward.

“However we will be making sure that our core offer within our sports and physical activities provision is that the programme will be broader so that we are not going to exclude any families that would like to engage.”

While councillors on the Finance and Policy Committee welcomed the project, they urged officials to plan now for how its work can continue when the funding comes to an end.

Councillor Brenda Harrison questioned the long term sustainability of the project and how they would reach users.

She said: “I was at a briefing recently and was really bowled over by this project and think it’s really good.

“However, four years is not a great length of time and I’ve seen projects come and go in all sorts of areas and then they just go.”

Ms Ptak said the project would be led at community level including established groups and clubs and work closely with Community Hubs and schools.

She added: “We hope to be able to purchase a level of equipment to have it based in key locations around the town for families to access as well as giving families their own incentive pack.”

Ms Ptak added that changing people’s behaviour was key to the project’s success.

She said it was about working with families to support them to make positive changes to their lifestyle.

Coun Stephen Akers-Belcher, who works as a volunteer with young people, said: “When you watch the young people engage in games and activities it can really bring a young person alive.”

It is hoped to be rolled out from September or October.