With 82% of children in Jersey not active enough on a regular basis to support good physical and mental health*, Jersey Sport are focused on providing more affordable and accessible sport and physical activity opportunities for children at various locations across the island.
According to national guidelines, children should be actively engaged in sport or physical activity for at least 60 minutes per day, but only 18% of children in Jersey meet this important health baseline, with 6% fewer girls meeting activity guidelines than boys*.
In an era where we’re striving for equality, young girls are still 8% less likely to play sport than boys, and children who rate themselves as ‘not well off’ are 30% less likely to play sport than those who class themselves as ‘well off’*.
Jersey Sport believe that every child should have regular access to affordable sport and physical activities and have implemented a range of services to support parents in providing opportunities for their children during term time and school holidays. In addition, Jersey Sport continuously drive to increase awareness of local sporting opportunities for children and their families and encourage ongoing engagement with clubs and organisations through initiatives like School to Sport which offers primary school pupils the chance to try a different sport in their community each term. Islanders also have access to an online Sports Directory on the Jersey Sport website.
Introducing children to regular physical activities from a young age plays a vital role in their physical development and core motor skills as well as providing opportunities to learn about teamwork, self-motivation and communication. We believe physical activity is an integral part of a healthy lifestyle and is especially important for young children and teenagers in order to build healthy bones and muscle, good cardiovascular fitness and excellent mental health which provide the basis for a healthy adult life.
Our free Toddler Play sessions are suitable for children up to age 5, from the time they are able to crawl, and are designed to provide fun, active play opportunities for families, encouraging the benefits of moving more through play. Our team of experienced Move More Playworkers are on hand to deliver soft play and indoor activities that are engaging, fun and create a positive learning environment. Play is an important stepping stone into playing sport.
Over the last two years, the Jersey Sport team have noticed that some of the younger children in Toddler Play sessions have missed out on a lot of important aspects of physical activity and play due to the Covid pandemic and lockdown restrictions. Offering five sessions a week has helped parents to gain confidence and allowed young children free opportunities to improve key skills.
With Jersey’s inflation rate currently at its highest rate since the 1980s, we understand that for many parents, making cuts to their monthly expenses is essential, which is why we continue to offer low cost children’s activities, as well as offering Toddler Play sessions for free to support parents, thanks to funding received from the Government of Jersey. Jersey Sport work in partnership with external stakeholders including The Bridge, Children’s Services, Brighter Futures and Family Nursing to offer holiday places to families accessing support services.
Jersey Sport has been the main provider of low-cost holiday activities and sports camps for many years, offering a range of low-cost, multi-sport and fun activity days in central locations and on main bus routes. This enables those islanders without transport or on a low family income to be able to offer their children the chance to improve their physical fitness and sport skills during school holidays with peace of mind.
Our holiday camps are led by fully qualified coaches and are a great way for children to make new friends or try something new. In 2022, 5443 children participated in our Toddler Play sessions and 1300 children attended our holiday activity camps. The parental feedback received at the end of the holidays reflects our commitment to providing high quality sports and physical activity opportunities: “The children enjoyed the camp and activities!”, “Loved it as usual, always making new friends.”
Many teenagers also face significant barriers and challenges to sporting opportunities, including the stress associated with school life and a lack of exposure to a variety of sports or activities. Dan Garton, Children’s Community Programmes Officer for Jersey Sport, said: “There is often a drop out in physical activity levels at ages 11-12 years and we are looking into ways to support teenagers with after school and holiday provisions as well as opening up new sporting opportunities with local organisations and youth support services.”
In addition to offering a wide range of holiday, extra-curricular and in-school physical activity and sporting provisions, Jersey Sport are proud to support young people who want to pursue a career in sport, health and fitness. In 2022, 16 people passed our Community Sports Leaders (Level 2) course and 24 children were engaged on work experience placements with Jersey Sport.
Deputy Lucy Stephenson, Assistant Minister for Economic Development with responsibility for Sport said: “Supporting children and young people in Jersey to have the best start in life, recognising that the early years have a lasting impact, is one of the Government of Jersey’s key priorities in our Common Strategic Policy for 2023-2026. It is fantastic to see the work Jersey Sport are delivering to help children and young people become more active and we hope that the effects of setting them off on the right foot will be seen in years to come as our island population steadily ages.”
To book your child’s place on our Easter Holiday activities, please visit: www.jerseysport.je/children-activities/easter-holiday-activities
To find out more about our free Toddler Play sessions and timetable, please visit: www.movemore.je/toddler-play
* Source: Jersey Children and Young People Survey (2021)