Boxgrove scheme can START to celebrate Sussex award

START Wellbeing pick up their award / Picture by Stephen Lawrence
START Wellbeing pick up their award / Picture by Stephen Lawrence

Boxgrove-based START Wellbeing has won the Witness BTN Community Impact award at the 2017 Sussex Sports Awards.

Now in its 15th year and held at The Grand Hotel in Brighton on Friday, the 2017 awards welcomed special guest and Invictus Games champion Mike Goody from Felpham, along with regular host BBC Sussex presenter Danny Pike.

Both were on hand to offer their congratulations to all winners on another highly successful year for the county both at elite and grassroots levels.

START Wellbeing is a personalised, specialised initiative to help improve the wellbeing of obese and overweight children and families. This is achieved through one-to-one tailor-made sessions, which remove barriers, raise self-esteem and empower families to make simple and sustainable changes through physical activity, nutrition and cooking.

It works primarily with vulnerable and troubled families from low socio-economic backgrounds and by working with children, has been able to highlight and support other children’s services and schools to use physical activity as a method to help improve both mental and physical health.

Through building a positive relationship with local resources, leisure centres, schools and clubs, START Wellbeing has been able to remove financial barriers so families can access sporting opportunities.

START Wellbeing has also removed travel barriers by providing transport to families, accompanying them on buses, sourcing bicycles and “buddy” up families who have transport to help others. The initiative is dedicated to removing psychological barriers and to support individuals through their anxieties and perceptions surrounding physical activity.

The initiative has proven outcomes of supporting individuals with extreme anxiety to leave the house, get back to school, integrate into PE lessons and join school sports teams.

START Wellbeing currently works with 23 primary schools and 15 secondary schools across the Arun and Chichester districts, who have seen both academic and social benefits.

Sadie Mason, Active Sussex chief executive, said: “The START Wellbeing initiative has changed the lives and pathways of many children and families, through patience and dedication.

“Children supported by the programme have gone on to become school sports leaders, join teams, mentor junior groups, join the gym, attend regular exercise classes and encourage friends and families, enter charity races and apply for the Police Force and Army.

“This is what the Sussex Sports Awards are all about – ensuring sport is available to all. I would like to congratulate everyone associated with START Wellbeing on what is a fully deserved award win.”