My Park is a social action project for 10 to 14 year olds, with the overall aim of making local parks in Matson, Springbank and Stonehouse, great places for sport and physical activity through volunteering, campaigning and fundraising. This social action project is vibrant, flexible and fun, empowering disadvantaged young people to effect positive change for themselves, their peers and their home community using the power of sport and physical activity. Our Get Active Team are the key influencers on this project, and have been building connections and building trust with young people, using their skills and experience as community based playworkers.
Through a combination of school and community based work, the project works hard to create a desire in young people to get more active through sport and active play, and enable young people to be confident enough to step out into their local park where they can co-create informal sports and other physical activities with peers, supported by our Get Active team on a weekly basis, developing a regular habit and desire to be outdoors and be active. Young people have the opportunity to formally sign up as ‘Park Activists’. Participating schools and parks are within walking distance of each other, and we are seeing Park Activists encouraging peers to get active with them in their local park, for physical activity, friendship and fun. They are encouraging whole families to get active and involved. Our Get Active Team are helping them to campaign to make their park a better place to be, connecting them with stakeholders such as Town, District and County Councils.
The Park Activists have taken part in training, received ‘on the job’ mentoring support and have set up their own incentive scheme that recognises achievements with appropriate rewards such as head torches, neck warmers and water bottles. They are taking part in a range of informal unstructured sport and physical activity that we call ‘jumpers for goalposts’ type sport. No whistles, no coaching but lots of encouragement, movement and fun, supported by our Get Active Team who inspire, nurture and motivate young people. As confidence grows, week on week, young people are stepping forward and co-creating sports and physical activity, organising themselves and encouraging others to join in, ‘like me’.