We recently had the pleasure of welcoming Ben Fletcher to the Playtime by Fawns office to discuss the the benefits of exercise to children and their physical health and well-being.
But who is Ben Fletcher? Ben is a double Olympian athlete who achieved the pinnacle of his chosen sport Judo through a combination of hard work, determination, and an inner desire to succeed. The youngest of five, Ben’s parents first took him to a Judo class just after his fifth birthday and he immediately fell in love with the sport. As a shy child, Judo helped Ben develop his inner confidence. It also gave him the opportunity to gain a genuine sense of achievement throughout his childhood and teenage years. His drive and passion for Judo spurred him on through the ranks to become a Junior World Bronze medallist. Ben then set his sights on the biggest stage of all! None other than the Olympic Games competing in Rio in 2016 and then again in Tokyo in 2021.
Dame Kelly Homes Trust
Having recently retired from top-level competition Ben has decided to give something back to the sport he loves by working closely with the Dame Kelly Holmes Trust, which strives to improve the health and well-being of young people across the UK. Dame Kelly Holmes started the trust on the eve of the Beijing games in 2008 with an ambition. The ambition to harness the high performing attitudes and behaviours of world class athletes to make a lifelong impact on young lives.
In 2011, the Dame Kelly Holmes Trust launched its partnership with Education Charity AQA. The aim was transforming lives of students facing hardship in schools across England, Wales and Scotland. That was only the beginning! In 2017, the trust announced that their work contributed over £23 million in social value to the UK since the London 2012 games!
As a mentor for the Dame Kelly Holmes Trust, Ben works with educational establishments across the UK. He provides support and guidance to young people on ways to improve physical health and mental wellbeing through regular exercise. Naturally, we heard about the incredible work of the trust! Ben then kindly agreed to pop in to talk our team about the incredible work the Trust does for children across the country, every single day.
The key statistics
As part of his presentation to the team, Ben provided some staggering national statistics. These statistics clearly demonstrate the need for urgent action to help all children to fulfil their true potential.
- 14.4% of reception age children (4-5 years old) are obese.
- 10% of children and young people have clinically diagnosable mental health problems.
The Dame Kelly Holmes trust and all athletes like Ben understand the impact that physical activity can have on a child’s physical health and well-being. Through their mentoring programs they focus on understanding each individual child. They understand the children in depth and then work on a one-to-one basis with them to start their journey. Working to build confidence, motivation and provide them the tools to set personal goals that help them achieve. A key message for all participates in the mentoring program, “purpose is power”.
A shared vision to inspire all children to lead healthy, active lives!
Graeme Scott, Sales Director at Playtime by Fawns commented: “We are extremely grateful for Ben taking time out of his busy schedule to talk to us about his amazing sporting achievements and his fantastic work for the Dame Kelly Holmes Trust. Working closely with schools to design and build inspirational playgrounds, we fully understand the importance of regular physical exercise for every child, and the long term, positive outcomes that can be achieved”.
Making exercise fun
When designing a playground, we ensure every school provides the appropriate amount of free space. Space for children to run around, exercise and let off steam. As well as offering plenty of free space, an effective school playground will encourage opportunities for children to climb, balance, rotate and swing. These vital activites are critical for improving motor and cognitive skills, as well as core strength. Our pick-up sticks range has been specifically designed for children to develop all of these important physical disciplines during the school day and is perfect for both Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 pupils.
Making exercise fun is the most important factor in getting children active. One of the best ways for children to have fun outside of the school day is by enjoying play equipment! This could be at the local play area. No matter where you are, it has never been easier to Find Your Local Park. The physical exercise provided by play equipment at a well-designed free public space enables children of all ages and abilities to develop the aforementioned important skills. And, all whilst participating in essential physical exercise, being active and having fun!
Who knows where the adventure might take them? Maybe one day they will be standing on the winner podium at the Olympic Games receiving a gold medal!