Half-term sports camp keeps kids busy

Photo: Francesca Waite

Lewisham Community Sports are helping the borough’s young people to keep active by hosting a half-term week of sporting activities for local children.

The Hilly Fields Park Activity Camp is run by Josh Franklin, 24, Lewisham Community Sports Head Coach at Hilly Fields Park and Prendergast Secondary School.  The OFSTED-registered camp is run 13 weeks of the year, with the help of 17 qualified staff.

Mr Franklin and his colleagues use text alerts and leaflet distribution to advertise and spread the word about the scheme in local schools, after-school clubs and Lewisham housing estates that work in co-operation with them. “We use lots of banners and word of mouth. We never miss a beat,” he said.

Activities on offer for the 134 children attending the camp this week include indoor dodgeball, table tennis and dance, which all proved to be a massive hit with the children. They were offered the option of either  taking part in one of the schools halls, or shouting encouragement from the viewing gallery.

Mr Franklin said: “Most children are actively sporty, but it’s also a childcare facility along with day care”.

Without a doubt the most popular sport, however, was football, with the children’s excited shouts letting everyone know how much they enjoyed the activity.

As well as the variety of ten sporting activities on offer, participants could play on the Wii, try their hand at a little bit of acting and have a go at some creative arts.

This particularly seems to go down a treat with the 5-15 year olds. As Mr Franklin put it: “They do like the added activities.  My mum comes in to do some flower arranging and in the summer they do some cooking.  It’s nice for them to take something home”.

This scheme  not only  keeps children interested in sports, but also lends some experience to teenagers who can work as  temporary staff. Helper T.J., 17, who is studying at Greenwich Community College, and hopes to get a coaching degree, says: “I just like working with the kids.”

Hillside student Eleni, 17, took a break from working the stereo and talking to the kids to explain how she feels about the camp: “I want to teach in the future, and this is really good experience.”

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