Active Suffolk have partnered with Ipswich Town Football Club Community Trust, BBC Radio Suffolk and the Most Active County Partnership to launch a countywide virtual school games event.

Active Suffolk is one of 43 active partnerships across England dedicated to increasing the number of people taking part in sport and physical activity. As part of this overarching goal, the team facilitate the Suffolk PE and Sport Network and work in partnership with School Games Organisers across the county to deliverer competition opportunities to young people

Each year the network works collaboratively to host the Suffolk School Games festivals, inviting children and young people from schools across the county to compete in sports competitions. The last Suffolk School Games festivals took place in the summer of 2019 where events were hosted by at Abbeycroft Leisure, Northgate High School, Ransomes Sports Pavilion and Westbourne Academy.

Unfortunately, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the mass participation sporting events have been cancelled in their traditional sense, however Active Suffolk supported by partners have announced plans to take the countywide School Games Festivals online, which is now available for schools and parents to sign up to.

The decision was made following the success of the North Suffolk Virtual School Games organised by Jeffrey Hoey, School Games Organiser and partnership development manager for the North Suffolk Sport and Health Partnership. With the support of the Ipswich Town Football Club Community Trust, BBC Radio Suffolk and the Most Active County Partnership, Active Suffolk hope to reach more children across the county to encourage increased physical activity and continuation of the PE curriculum during these unprecedented times.

Mike Phillips, Schools Development Manager from the Ipswich Town Football Club Community Trust says “We’re really pleased to be supporting our partners Active Suffolk in their Suffolk Virtual School Games. This is a fantastic initiative which will engage children both in schools and at home, helping them maintain active healthy lifestyles whilst also representing their school in a variety of fun activities. We wish all the schools taking part the very best of luck!”

The online competition is scheduled to launch during National School Sport week on Thursday 25th June where it aims to support local schools to continue offering sport and physical activity opportunities to young people, to ensure they meet their physical activity recommendations whilst still at home. The latest figures from the Children and Young Peoples Active Lives Survey produced by Sport England, tell us that 32.9% of children across the country are achieving less than an average of 30 minutes of physical activity per day, despite current guidelines recommending at least 60 minutes.

James Payne, Children and Young People & Safeguarding Lead from Active Suffolk says “Our team at Active Suffolk work hard to ensure children are supported to achieve the Chief Medical Officer recommendations for physical activity recommendations, to improve their health and wellbeing whilst also reducing the rates of childhood obesity.”

“We understand that the current climate is making it challenging for children and families to meet these recommendations, particularly whilst some children are still unable to attend school. We hope the Virtual School Games Festival will provide an opportunity for young people to increase their activity levels and develop new skills”.

Following the launch of the festival, children will be invited to take part in a total of eight sports related activities from home or school, where they will be awarded points. These points will contribute towards their school’s overall score. Four activities will be released on consecutive Thursdays over the two-week period. An overall winning school will be announced on Friday 10th July.

Schools and parents across Suffolk are invited to express their interest in the virtual Suffolk School Games festival ahead of its launch on Thursday 25th June at www.suffolkschoolgames.co.uk.

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