Fun sporting activities were enjoyed by more than 150 children from nursery to Year 3 at a star-studded Ready Set Rossendale event held at the Adrenaline Centre in Haslingden.

Water Primary School headteacher Chris Willan is leading the project, which links all schools from nursery to high school to tackle obesity, promote better mental health and collaboration.

He said this was the first event aimed at inspiring and engaging with younger children in nursery, reception and Key Stage 1.

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“We had the Football Fun Factory and their remit is to deliver activity sessions that are fun and not focused on competition,” said Mr Willan.

“We also had Sensible Soccer, a company owned by assistant manager of Manchester United Mike Phelan, and he attended and was happy to chat with everyone and have his photograph taken. An introduction to sport at this age is of paramount importance and even more so in current times amid the uncertain global health backdrop. Encouraging young children to see sport as fun not competition is a great lesson for the rest of their lives.

“It is essential that we continue to deliver events to all of our children in order to inspire more physical movement which in turn has better health outcomes for us all.”

The providers brought along a colourful inflatable arena which made the event attractive and welcoming for the young participants.

Mike explained how football for him started with kicking a ball on the back street and became a life obsession, but that Sensible Soccer allowed him to support football in schools and at grassroots level.

Luke Chadwick, a former United and Burnley player, and founder and director of Football Fun Factory, said football is a game “to be enjoyed and loved”.

“It’s not all about being a professional, and we are here to take the sport to the masses and to create smiles,” he said.

Fun football activities as part of Ready Set Rossendale.
Fun football activities as part of Ready Set Rossendale.

Parent Jay Parker said: “I brought three children with me who are reception and nursery age and wow, their self-confidence shot through the roof. The minute we opened the door and the bright colours hit their faces, they were off. The only issue I have is they all said can we go again tomorrow!”

The plan is to offer similar events at different venues across Rossendale. All participants were entered into a draw to win a signed United shirt and the lucky winner was Jacob Worrell from St Paul’s CE School.

Ready Set Rossendale is part of Together an Active Future, a Sport England-funded project being led in the Valley by Rossendale Leisure Trust. To find out more call Mr Willan at Water Primary on 01706 216414.

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