Providing opportunities for local community in Barnsley
We recently collaborated with Barnsley Premier Leisure (BPL) to not only enable children to take part in funetics, but also to help local young adults to start their coaching and leadership journey.
Identifying the need within the community
Athletics as a sport is fortunate to have a fantastic network of facilities and leisure centres throughout the country where funetics can be delivered.
At the beginning of the journey with Barnsley Premier Leisure, England Athletics, who manage the funetics programme, identified that the Dorothy Hyman Stadium, home to Barnsley Athletics Club was struggling to engage with the local community with reducing number of volunteers and athletes.
That sparked an idea! By supporting the club to facilitate funetics sessions, it would help to introduce children to athletics in an exciting, innovative way who would then progress through the club ranks once they graduate from the programme at age 11 having learned and developed their key fundamental movement skills of running, jumping and throwing.
Getting support from young adults
Working with BPL, England Athletics also wanted to support the club with their desperate need for volunteers, as well as giving opportunities to the children.
Making local connections with a Barnsley coaching company, they helped to identify individuals who would be a fantastic fit to be trained as funetics coaches.
It is important to everyone at funetics that we are also providing development opportunities to young adults. As part of the project BPL linked up with Barnsley College and worked with an enthusiastic cohort of 25 students who had shown a key interest in coaching.
Having recently launched the Leading funetics Certificate, these students were supported by England Athletics tutors to gain their training, but also to develop their confidence, competence and understanding of the key fundamental movement skills.
How is it going?
We are delighted that the funetics pilot project in Barnsley is really thriving!
Having launched early June 2023, the funetics team has expanded and now run across two leisure centres, both of which are in areas of high deprivation. They have enabled a staggering 65 children to attend free sessions each week, removing any financial barrier on the parents or guardians.
Through the support of England Athletics, there are now 25 trained funetics leaders and two coaches who are delivering the sessions.
Although the programme in Barnsley has got off to a fantastic start, it is important to keep the momentum and continue to provide opportunities to children.
Going forward with the support of BPL, we are looking to continue expanding in the Barnsley area, working with additional leisure facilities to increase the number of sessions and venue offerings.
In its infancy, the project is looking very promising, and we are excited to watch the children grow, learn and develop a love for athletics, which they can then continue with Barnsley AC.