Pupils have come together today (17th September 2019) at the Morningside Arena, home of Leicester Riders, to launch a new pilot project funded by the PL PFA Fund, called ‘United Leicester’ which aims to improve children’s health and lifestyle using sport. Players and coaches from each of Leicester’s 4 professional clubs are on hand to get the children active and highlight the positive benefit of a healthy lifestyle.
Christian Fuchs, Leicester City player and Premier League winner, said: “The positive role sport has had on my life has been massive and the impact it can have at such an early age can help develop positive habits for life.” The unique project will benefit from the strengths and expertise of Leicester City in the Community (LCitC), Leicester Tigers Foundation, Leicester Riders Foundation and Leicestershire County Cricket Club, supported by Leicester Hockey”, delivering the 30 week programme to pupils in both Hazel and Taylor Road primary schools.
Childhood physical inactivity and obesity are present in higher levels in the city of Leicester compared to other parts of the UK. ‘United Leicester’ healthy schools pilot project brings together Leicester’s professional sports clubs, augmented by Leicester City Council and academic (University of Leicester) and clinical (Leicester Diabetes Centre at Leicester General Hospital) partners to develop, deliver and evaluate a school-based healthy lifestyles programme. The project supports Leicester City Council’s Active Leicester’s aim of getting 20,000 people more active and the long-term goal of Cities Changing Diabetes of reducing levels urban type 2 diabetes.
Matt Bray, LCitC, Community Manager, “The project uses coaches from each club to inspire the next generation of pupils, as well as providing workshops for parents and guardians, to increase their awareness of the benefits of leading a healthy lifestyle and the consequences of inactivity”.
Deirdre Harrington Lecturer from the University of Leicester “it is really unique to see top flight sports clubs working in collaboration to improve health of city residents. We know risk factors for poor health, including type 2 diabetes, are higher in the city. Working with the teams and the City Council on a United Leicester will give a great insight in what can happen in schools and communities”
The elite sports clubs have already committed to signing a city-wide “diabetes pledge” and will support the Leicester City Council health agenda, supported by Leicester Changing Diabetes, as part of the Cities Changing Diabetes global initiative.