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How the Opening School Facilities Fund is giving young people more of a voice and choice

A group of young girls wearing netball kit and playing a game of netball in a school hall
An after-school netball group at St Leonards Academy supported by OSF funding

How the Opening School Facilities Fund is giving young people more of a voice and choice

The Opening School Facilities Fund helps schools deliver extra-curricular activities and open their facilities outside of the school day during evenings, weekends and school holidays.

But aside from the funding, provided by the Department for Education and distributed by Active Sussex, it is also a great way to give young people the chance to share what they would like to do.

A great example of this is one of the projects at St Wilfrid’s Catholic School in Crawley.

The school joined forces with Gianni Sutton from Ashcombe Volleyball Club to start a student-requested volleyball club. 

PE subject leader Chris Iddles said: “With the help of the OSF funding we were able to purchase sports hall space, the coach and equipment to support the club. 

“The initial promotion brought in 40 plus students from across Crawley aged 14-18, which was refreshing, but also too many for the group to get a focus.

“We had to cut this down, but there is definitely room for a Crawley-wide volleyball club. 

“St Wilfrid’s club has seen a regular 16 attend, all enjoying the opportunity to train, play and get coached in an activity they would not usually be coached in.”

In Hastings, the funding was used in several different ways.

Ark Alexandra Academy focused some of its funding on giving home-schooled children a chance to experience two hours of athletics delivered by trained coaches in an extremely underused facility.

This was advertised through social media, a community network and home school groups.

At St Leonards Academy, netball and basketball after-school and community clubs were set up.

The result saw 20 to 30 girls attend the after-school netball group each week, most of whom would not have attended an after-school club without this.

Finally, at Hastings Academy, three fitness groups were set up, running consecutively on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The first for students, the second for staff and the third for women.

This much-needed project was held in an underused community-style badminton court area, with easy evening access and the site managed by Play Sport. 

Head of PE Mike Collett, said: “The professional kit and fitness instructors have made this a success,” however he added: “More promotion would be beneficial.”

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