Free funding for Northamptonshire schools to provide mental health and fitness training

Through satellite funding Northamptonshire Sport was able to pay for Malcolm Arnold School to host sessions with Kings Heath Boxing Club two years ago.
Through satellite funding Northamptonshire Sport was able to pay for Malcolm Arnold School to host sessions with Kings Heath Boxing Club two years ago.

Four schools can now apply for free funding to run sports classes in a bid to improve their pupil's mental health through sport.

Northamptonshire Sport has surveyed 1,800 teenagers across the county about their views on sport and physical activity.

Results showed that 45 per cent of students from Daventry and Northampton said they want to become more physically active to improve their mental health.

As a result, Northamptonshire Spot - using satellite funding from the National Lottery and Sport England - want to give funding to four schools across Daventry or Northampton to boost children's fitness and self-esteem.

Matthew Peleszok, satellite club lead for Northamptonshire Sport, said: "When you exercise it releases ‘feel-good’ chemicals called endorphins in our brain. It also affects chemicals called dopamine and serotonin, which are related to depression and anxiety.

"Keeping active can help you feel more in control, which helps when you are worried or stressed. You can even make new friends and have fun when you exercise with other people.

"By the end of the course we aim for students to feel less stressed, more relaxed and more confident at the chosen physical activity."

The funding would pay for 12 weeks of after school sessions for children aged between year 9 and year 13 - with the hope that the school could continue the training for a futher 12 weeks after staff recieve training from professionals including Northampton Town in the Community, Service six and Northamptonshire Sport.

The aim is to provide new opportunities for teenagers identified with mental health issues to increase their levels of physical activity in a safe and suitable surrounding.

Northamptonshire Sport is currently trialling 90 minute long after school sessions at two schools including Huxlow Science College and Sir Christopher Hatton Academy where the children pick what they want to do.

Matthew added: "They are very much child-led physical activities to break down barriers to participation.

"One week could be dodgeball and the next week could be team based sport.

"Each week we will talk with the children and ask them what do they want next week."

Alongside this, the schools will receive mental health first aid training for young people too.

For more information call Matthew Peleszok on 07342 069901 or email matthew.peleszok@firstforwellbeing.co.uk, or click here.