StreetGames, a leading charity committed to providing sports and physical activities to underserved communities, recently conducted a visit in partnership with the Department for Education (DfE) and Active Humber, to two schools in Hull – Sirius Academy North and Kelvin Hall School – as part of its ongoing commitment to promoting youth voice and breaking down barriers to sports participation.
The visit focused on celebrating the success of the DfE funded Opening Schools Facilities (OSF) programme and the positive impact that the projects had on young people in Hull. The OSF funding has played a crucial role in providing a diverse range of sporting opportunities through Doorstep Sport, emphasising the importance of making the right sporting offers available to all.
Beverley Southward, Policy Officer, PE, School Sport and Physical Activity for the DfE, shared insights from the visit, “It was eye-opening to hear of the significant barriers for children at Sirius to overcome just to get them to a level where they could take part in OSF activities, and how the staff took it in their stride and came up with innovative ideas to overcome these barriers,” Southward remarked.
The visit also underscored the positive impact of OSF funding on extracurricular activities. Southward noted, “It was great to hear that students at both schools were engaged in PE and Sport, and that OSF funding has made a huge difference to them being able to attend extracurricular activities, and that all OSF clubs are oversubscribed.”
Southward emphasised the value placed on youth voice in both schools, with programmes tailored to reflect students’ preferences. The inclusivity of sports was highlighted, with both boys and girls participating in a Futsal session. Notably, a student named Jacob chose to referee, showcasing the inclusive nature of OSF projects and how they contribute to personal development. “It was great to hear the coach say that his confidence level and leadership skills had increased massively through the club. What an inspirational young man,” Southward added.
Lucy Gray, Active Humber’s Development Manager for Children and Young People, shared her observations from the visit, stating, “It was great for me to visit Sirius Academy North and understand some of the challenges the young people and their families face who attend the school.”
Gray emphasised the positive impact of OSF funding on physical activity opportunities for young people who need it the most. She also highlighted the vibrant after-school clubs at Kelvin Hall School, illustrating how OSF funding brings together diverse age groups for fun, socialising, and physical activity, “To see one of the after-school clubs in action at Kelvin Hall School shows the impact OSF funding is having for young people in our area, it brings a mixture of age groups together having fun, socialising, and being physically active,” Gray stated.
StreetGames’ Craig McFadyen emphasised the broader impact of the organisation’s efforts, stating, “Over the past 4 months, StreetGames have delivered Youth Voice consultation sessions, directly to students in 45 schools all across England. Carefully listening to the voices of over 500 students, who were identified by the schools as either inactive, un-engaged or simply not accessing the schools mainstream extra-curricular sporting offer.”
McFadyen highlighted the goal of the Youth Voice initiative, aiming to support schools in understanding the needs of young people, and ensuring that sports offerings are inclusive and appropriate for all members of the community. He noted that this initiative provides an opportunity to share valuable insights across all OSF schools, Active Partnerships, and other partners dedicated to enhancing community sports for young people in underserved areas.
Regarding the visit to Hull with the Department for Education (DfE) and Active Humber, McFadyen remarked, “This visit provided a fantastic opportunity for us to engage with two OSF schools that are working hard to improve their community sports offer for their young people.” He highlighted the importance of not only understanding the positive impact of OSF funding but also acknowledging the broader challenges schools face in designing and delivering effective community sports programmes.
The visit to Sirius Academy North and Kelvin Hall School reaffirms StreetGames’ commitment to providing inclusive and accessible sports opportunities for young people, promoting physical activity, and breaking down barriers in underserved communities.