Two students from Highfields School in Matlock (part of the Rural Derbyshire School Sports Partnership) showed off their sports leadership skills to MPs at the House of Commons last week. Chloe Chandler and Abi Akehurst demonstrated a children’s healthier lifestyle initiative to dignitaries including the Cabinet Office Minister and Paralympian Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson. The “Energy Club” is an extra-curricular, fun, physical activity scheme for children aged between 4-11 years old.
The 17 year old Upper Sixth students are studying A levels as well as the Level 3 Higher Sports leader Award run by Sports Leaders UK – a course which develops leadership skills & promotes volunteering in the Community.
Chloe Chandler said: “Visiting the Houses of Parliament was a fantastic experience. I really enjoyed delivering a session to the MPs; it’s not every day you get an opportunity like that. All the people we spoke to were really keen to find out more about our experience of the Energy Club programme and they seemed to really take on board what we said. Delivering an Energy Club session was a great way to show them what it is all about, they all got involved either by participating in the session or cheering on during the races. Overall this experience has really improved my confidence and I am incredibly thankful to all of those involved in giving us this opportunity.”
Abi Akehurst said: “The trip was an amazing opportunity as Chloe and I were the only two student leaders asked to attend. As well as this, the trip gave us the chance to tell others about how much the children we deliver to thoroughly enjoy Energy Club but also to tell them how much Energy Club helps the children to realise what they need to do to make sure they understand how to make the right lifestyle choices but through a fun and playful experience.”
Rural Derbyshire School Sports Partnership Manager Janice Price said: “I was incredibly proud of the girls. It takes great confidence & leadership skills to execute such a short snapshot of a school programme in such a succinct way. The MPs taking part had great fun & judging by the encouragment and laughter from the large audience of their peers, they definitely got the healthy messages across in a way they would remember”.
“Chloe and Abi’s studies have clearly enabled them to excel in sports leadership – demonstrated when they delivered a fun 10 minute activity Energy Club session to MPs with impeccable clarity and purpose putting across the healthy messages & the key benefits of the new “Energy Clubs” for the 4-7yr old age range with great skill & confidence but more importantly in a fun & enthusiastic way so MPs were left in no doubt about the overall benefits of increased confidence & self esteem.”
“Unphased by the environment & the task, they embraced the moment & held the audience of MPs & guests captivated. No mean feat at 17 years of age! They were a credit to themselves & their school. We will be working with Sports Leaders UK to roll out free training to infant & primary schools across the Derbyshire Dales so watch this space.”
Paralympian Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson said:
“Energy Club is an exciting opportunity as our country moves forward from a fantastic summer of sport. This scheme builds on the great volunteer movement we saw during the Games to provide schools with free club activities; physical activity improves children’s health and well-being, academic performance, behaviour, self-esteem and weight management – and we’re taking action before sedentary behaviours become set. Our belief is that kids are built to have fun being physically active – it’s just that these days they need a little more help. I would encourage schools, parents and volunteers alike to get involved with this great movement.”
1. Chloe Smith MP, Minister at the Cabinet Office Norwich North with Chloe (centre) and Abi (right).
2. Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson and Energy Club leaders including Chloe (long dark hair) and Abi with ponytail on front row kneeling.
(Click to enlarge & view or click here to download high resolution versions of these images)
Click here to download press release from Sports Leaders UK with more details about Energy Club