Active Withernsea and Active Humber Co-Host Autumn Conference, Celebrating Collaborative Partnership


Last Friday, November 10, 2023, Active Withernsea joined forces with Active Humber to co-host an Autumn Conference, bringing together partners from the Humber region. The event focused on discussions surrounding place-based working and delved into the latest release by Sport England on place-based expansion.

The highlight of the conference featured live interviews with Dave Penson from Blip Active, Nick Richmond (Hybrid P.E Teacher) and Mark Crofts (Head of Withernsea High School). The discussions focused on the impactful relationships formed through collaborative efforts and the growth of opportunities for the Withernsea community to be active.

Blip Active growing beach and sea-sports

Initially, collaboration with Blip Active faced resistance, as they were hesitant to work with Active Withernsea. Kristina, a new Active Withernsea team member, initiated a dialogue to launch a Beach Sports project, overcoming historical reservations. The key to transforming this relationship was the clear communication of Active Withernsea's purpose and vision, aligning with Blip Active's objectives. The commitment to frequent and open communication proved pivotal in fostering a strong connection.

Kristina Richardson, Pilot Manager at Active Withernsea, reflected on the journey with Blip Active, stating, "It has been an exciting journey working alongside Blip Active. I feel by aligning our shared aims and objectives we have collectively been able to develop and grow for the benefit of our local community. I'm excited to see further opportunities come to fruition as Blip Active continually adapt and enhance their offer here in Withernsea. As a team we hope our learning from the Pilot alongside evaluation captured throughout the journey will enable these projects to thrive and diversify based on the needs of the local community.”

The partnership achieved a significant milestone in August 2022 when Active Withernsea collaborated with Blip Active to host a successful 2-day 'Sea & Beach Sports Weekend.' This event not only strengthened relationships but also paved the way for further community-led initiatives.

Withernsea High School and the role of the Hybrid P.E Teacher

Withernsea High School reflected on a year marked by new community partnerships and initiatives aimed at opening doors and creating active opportunities for its students. At the beginning of the school year, Nick and Active Withernsea embarked on a journey to forge meaningful connections with local organisations and individuals, setting the stage for a year of remarkable progress.

The initial months were dedicated to numerous meetings where Nick introduced himself, explained his role, and explored collaborative opportunities with various local partners. These efforts laid the foundation for the school's ongoing commitment to community engagement.

Highlights from the year include the successful launch of a running club, a flagship initiative that gained momentum in the early months. Building on this success, Withernsea High School strengthened ties with the Withernsea Harriers vibrant running community. Additionally, a fruitful partnership with the East Riding Leisure Withernsea resulted in the launch of the Girls Carousel, providing students with the opportunity to try new and different sporting activities.

A significant breakthrough came in the form of partnerships with external partners brought into the school environment. Collaborations with a local table tennis coach, Withernsea Tennis Association, and major cycling projects showcased a commitment to broadening the students' horizons through varied sporting experiences.

The school's Active Travel ambassadors made strides by securing funding and initiating a cycling club within the school. This not only promotes physical activity but also encourages sustainable, active travel.

The outreach to local primary schools has been a gradual but positive process, with Nick dedicating time to build relationships over the course of the school year. Events and activities offered to primary schools demonstrate Withernsea High School's commitment to extending the benefits of its activities beyond its own walls.

Introducing new roles, such as School Sports Ambassadors and Youth Health Champions, has further enriched the school's engagement with its students. The Gym project, which secured funding of £25,000 from the Opening School Facilities fund for refurbishment of the gym facility, is a testament to the positive impact of these roles.

Reflecting on the journey, Nick explained how the initiative began as a simple spreadsheet of contacts, which has led to the exciting and diverse directions, steered by the students. The ultimate goal of opening doors and creating opportunities for students has been successfully achieved, with some of the projects and collaborations highlighted above.

While celebrating success, Mark spoke about an ongoing commitment to encouraging more students to seize these opportunities. Initiatives like the Pentathlon (an athletic event comprising five different events for each participant) have played a crucial role in diversifying participation and encouraging students, including those with special educational needs (SEN), to get involved.

Withernsea High School looks forward to building on this year’s success and continuing its mission to inspire, engage, and empower its students to be more active through student leadership and community partnerships.

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