After-School Pilot Programme - Lewisham

Children at primary schools across some of the most deprived areas in Lewisham have been enjoying the fun, camaraderie and confidence-building that comes with athletics thanks to an after-school pilot programme funded by The Mercers Company.

Take a look at our short film below to find out how we are breaking down barriers to ensure opportunities exist for those children most at risk of inactivity.

Many thanks to the children and staff at Downderry Primary School as well SummitVisions for your support in producing this short film.

How is the Lewisham pilot breaking down barriers and creating opportunities?

Our after-schools pilot programme in Lewisham is an example of how greater access to sport and physical activity can be provided to children and young people most at risk of inactivity. The programme prioritises free provision to after-school athletics activity to children in areas of high deprivation.

We recognise that cost and transport challenges continue to make it difficult for some families to access sport and physical activity outside of school. It is our intention that by keeping activity on school sites at a very localised level and providing free access to high quality after-school sports clubs we will remove some of the main barriers to participation and help ensure that all children irrespective of personal circumstance have the opportunity to be physically active.

Children at PBF Schools Programme

Who is the programme aimed at?

The programme has been made available to children in Key Stage 2 (Year 3-6), aged between 7 and 11 years with priority being given to those on free school meals.

Sport England’s Active Lives Children and Young People Survey shows that over half of children still do not meet the Chief Medical Officers’ guidelines of taking part in an average of 60 minutes of sport and physical activity each day. Children from low-income families are less likely to be active and for those going to school in the most deprived places in the country, specifically those in school years 3-4 (ages 7-9 years) activity has not yet recovered to pre-pandemic levels.

“The pilot seemed like just a fantastic opportunity for our children. We have so many children that love doing PE, love being active, but just don’t get the opportunity to do it beyond the PE session. Many parents just wouldn’t be able to afford to send their children to an after school club or even to send them to a dedicated sports club outside of school.”

Megan Weale, PE Lead at Downderry Primary School

Children at PBF Schools Programme

What are the benefits?

The primary aim of our work is to improve the health and well-being of children facing inequalities through the power of athletics. As well as physical health, our programmes help to improve the mental, emotional and social wellbeing of children - helping them to feel happier and healthier and putting their personal best within reach - on the track, at school and in life.

The pilot is being delivered in partnership with funetics, England Athletics’ primary age athletics programme. funetics is a fun and inclusive kids athletics programme, helping 4-11 year old children across the country to learn, develop and practice running, jumping and throwing skills all year round, for a healthy confident future.

Helping children to have fun whilst getting active, funetics provides a safe, fun and nurturing environment for children to develop fundamental movement skills and confidence to help support them in different sports in the future.

Children at PBF Schools Programme

Don't just take our word for it. Here's what the children are saying...

  • "I love coming to athletics cuz I have fun :)
  • "What I love about this... it’s fun and nice"
  • "Fun and makes me enjoy coming here especially after a rough day"
  • "I love comin here, the activities are fun and so is Honey and Jack"
  • "Being at athletics makes me energised"
  • "Spending time with my friends"