PROJECT:ME initiative supports Greenstead residents through physical activity

Essex Local Delivery Pilot

Specialising in teaching, supporting and maintaining physical growth that will also empower our minds, PROJECT:ME is a programme that provides a safe place for young people aged 9-19, helping them to build confidence and self-esteem, whilst increasing participation in physical activity and focusing on a positive mental wellbeing.

Over in the Greenstead area of Colchester, PROJECT:ME have been supporting children and families who lack confidence in getting involved with physical activity. Through funding from ELDP since April 2022, the initiative has been helping residents who live in deprived areas and are unable to access physical activity due to the lack of support and funds.

So far, sessions have supported an incredible 42 young people, who attend local schools such as Colchester Academy, Unity Primary Academy and Parsons Heath Primary School as an after-school club.

The 18-week programmes are also having a positive impact on children, as well as the local community and how they’re engaging in education through physical activity.

Headteacher Claire Newson from Parsons Heath Primary School explained how young people are enjoying the programme and how much it means to them: “We were delighted when we got the opportunity for our children to take part in ‘The Amazing Mind and Body’ programme. 29 of our Year 6 children have been working with PROJECT:ME coaches in school since early October 2022. We’re very excited about what the project has and will continue to do to support the children and families. The children talk positively each week about their sessions; they love the physical activity and the opportunity to share their views and opinion in a safe environment. They have just started the 1:1 coaching session and all the children so far have come out of these sessions proud and pleased that they have had the chance to take part. They’ve not had the opportunity to do this before and I’m not sure which other type of project would allow them the chance to be so open! This is vital for the children, and we are already seeing the benefits of this in our school”.

6 weeks after the initiative began, 83% of children who participated in the survey increased the amount of time they took part in physical activity and sports in a typical week. 100% of children who took part indicated that their health had improved between the initial survey after 6 weeks, following their involvement in PROJECT:ME.

Two-thirds of children also increased their happiness score by at least one point between the initial survey and the 6-week follow-up.

A 10-year-old participant from the project told us about her experience: “I loved joining in the fun games Vicki made to get us moving, and the dancing was so much fun. It also inspired me to use my own skipping rope at home more!”

The pilot also includes some parent/carer wrap around support which is starting this month and so far, 7 parents have signed up to the opportunity of 1 to 1 Life Coaching and support with attending physical activity sessions. The sessions will continue through to March 2023, and we look forward to hearing how physical activity has played a positive, overall role in families lives in Greenstead and surrounding areas of Essex.

For any questions or queries, contact PROJECT:ME here: