Sellafield has given Active Cumbria more than £16,000 to work with nurseries and early years providers on a new programme to support physical development and develop physical literacy.

The programme called Active Start will be rolled out across West Cumbria targeting providers where the need is greatest.

The programme has been created to inspire and increase activity levels through physical activity and active play, delivered virtually in the first instance with the hope that face-to-face training can be progressed when restrictions ease.

Nationally only nine per cent of boys and 10 per cent of girls aged between two and four years achieve the recommended physical activity guidelines for children under five, which is to aim for at least 10 minutes per day for children aged one to five. Active start has been developed to help children to be healthy to learn and be active for life.

It does this by supporting practitioners, teachers and families to be active together more often, strengthening physical literacy and child’s school readiness.

Councillor Deborah Earl, Cumbria County Council’s Cabinet Member for Public Health and Communities, said: “We’re committed to acting early to achieve better outcomes for children and this programme is doing just that. The Active Start programme will be supporting nurseries, parents and carers in some of the area’s most in need.

“Active children are healthy, happy, school ready and sleep better, this is a message we really want to share through this programme”

Physical literacy is the motivation, confidence, physical competence, knowledge, and understanding to value and take responsibility for engagement in physical activities for life. Developing this at an early age helps with readiness to learn, helping children be better prepared for going to school.

Kelly Alty, Development Officer from Active Cumbria said: “Active Start is a programme created to inspire and increase activity levels in the early years and support the development of the key fundamental movement skills through physical activity and active play. It helps children to be healthy, to learn and be active for life.”

Tracey West from Sellafield Ltd Social Impact Team said: “We’re delighted to be supporting this really important programme.”