People, Families & Communities

Active Children and Young People


Our aim

Enable children and young people to lead active lives, moving every day with greater choice, say and independence in when and how they move in safe, age-appropriate spaces.


According to the Active Lives CYP survey (2020-21), just 63.4% of children and young people in Greater Manchester (GM) are moving and achieving at least 30 minutes of physical activity each day. This is lower than the national rate of 67.6%. In the last academic year it is promising to see that there has been no significant change from the baseline rate (Active Lives CYP 2017/18).

#BeeWell Data

Despite this, according to the Bee Well survey (2021), 83% of young people report they feel they have good, very good or excellent physical health, including 81% of girls. We also know that 67% of young people do sports, exercise or other physical activities at least once a week outside of school.

What have we done?

Early years

  • We worked with network partners to gather information to understand what physical activity looks like in early years settings, both in GM and nationally.
  • We translated our at-home guidance leaflets into the top additional languages spoken in GM.

Positive social outcomes

Sport and physical activity has the potential to be a powerful tool to engage with different communities. This can help to bring about crucial change to create safe spaces and improve social outcomes for children, young people and our communities. These outcomes can be categorised into four groups:

Social, emotional and cognitive capabilities

Individual achievements and behaviours

Inter-personal relationships

Benefits to society.

Within this work, we:

  • Managed the Young People Forward (YPF) project, funded by The London Marathon Trust, which supported young people in GM who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. Our approach focussed on engaging young people in places where they already gathered (with support organisations and residentials) rather than recruiting new participants. This supported a more sustainable approach and partnerships that will long outlive the project funding and provided development opportunities for sport colleagues as they engaged young people from new cohorts.
  • £75,000 – 17 organisations, 70 sessions, 114 participants, 90% engaged in mentoring (40% above target.)

This past year saw the final national investment into the DfE Young Leaders and Coaches programme. We embedded the national programme into a local delivery pathway and dramatically increased the number of volunteers and hours from previous years.

  • Supporting 49 Young People (18 male, 31 female) in 632 Volunteering Hours, using the £8,000 budget.
  • We continued to support the Early Intervention Youth Justice and Sport Board and its role in supporting the GM Violence Reduction Unit, both at a strategic and delivery level. We match-funded a place-based delivery programme that encourages coalitions of partners in identified neighbourhoods (selected by joint data mapping previously unavailable to the sector) to support primary, secondary and tertiary provisions to use movement to combat serious violent crime. This work is still ongoing; however, initial learning has proved invaluable to both the crime and sport sectors in how we can work together and build on what’s in a place rather than creating new short-term delivery projects. Using the latest public health needs assessment, we will now work with the board to plan a more system-influencing approach, including links to homelessness prevention and learnings from our YPF project.

Active education

  • The School Games Alternative Provision (AP)/Pupil Referral Unit (PRU) work forms part of the new approach and identified outcomes for the Greater Manchester (GM) School Games this year. This year, opportunities were specifically created for those who need them most, and who may have not had the opportunity to engage in the School Games before. The three other outcomes that the GM School Games is working towards this year can be found here. More information on this work can be found in the case study below.
  • This year saw the end of our The Daily MileTM coordinator roles. We’ve worked to embed the approaches and learning brought by this capacity and have continued to see a rise in schools signing up to the initiative, particularly when new resources become available. We have begun to work in partnership with our local Active Education leads to target schools and encourage them to adopt The Daily Mile Destinations to support other priorities, such as improving pupil wellbeing as we emerge from pandemic restrictions. We have also circulated termly newsletters to reinvigorate existing schools with prompts of how to link The Daily Mile with other academic days, such as World Book Day, and shared case studies from other schools in GM.

School sign-ups to The Daily Mile have increased by 68 in the last year to 568 settings.

Safe spaces

Phase two of the Opening School Facilities programme engaged new schools and networks and aligned investment to local priorities. We assessed applications, working with locality partners to identify local priorities and strategic need for sites to be opened.

  • GreaterSport invested more than £420,000 into 86 schools across all 10 GM localities.
  • 137 activities 5,021 children 1,277 adults engaged in sessions as a result of school sites opening up to the community.
  • We developed new relationships and a stronger understanding of schools. Timeframes made meaningful, long-term work more difficult, but we had some great starts to conversations.
  • We learnt that there is a severe lack of indoor space across GM and a lack of appetite from schools. Further investment would need a strategic long-term plan to support this agenda and some capital investment to improve facilities.
  • An Opening School Sites webinar was conducted with partners from a variety of settings, sharing their stories and learnings.

Youth voice

We led a focussed GM Moving steering group to engage the voices of young people who identify as LGBTQ+ and their representative organisations. This helped us understand their barriers to participation in movement and agree our collective commitments moving forward.

These identified barriers have been consistent over several years but require systemic change and place-based approaches. We know young people are looking for informal spaces to try activities, guided by mentors who look and feel like them.

Case study: GM Moving for GM recovery

This year has seen a new approach to the GM School Games. Opportunities were specifically created for those who need them most, and who may have not had the opportunity to engage in the School Games before. Alternative Provision/Pupil Referral Units have become a focus and below shares the impact this work is having in Bolton.

Regional data and insight gathered for the academic years 2017- 2019 revealed that only one or two alternative provisions (APs) and pupil referrals units (PRUs) had previously engaged with the School Games initiative.

Once the aims were identified, two key groups in need of support were identified. The first was a collection of eight year 10/11 boys at Lever Park Secondary School. These young people have moderate or severe behavioural needs and an education health care plan (EHCP) in place to support their social emotional mental health.

The second group was 16 primary-aged children from the Forwards Centre PRU, who would then go on to transition to Lever Park. All have been excluded from school, and most have an EHCP in place. ‘

With the target groups engaged, training was delivered at the School Games event at Lever Park Secondary School in autumn 2021
The first day involved meetings with the primary head and the secondary school PE lead to discuss objectives and potential barriers, before introducing the concept and basic leadership training to Lever Park’s students on day two Chris Fielding, Academy Lead for Bolton impact Trust, who oversee both Lever Park school and Bolton PRU said; ‘The children had a really great time and wore their medals all day. It worked very well and the leaders did a very good job. They were so kind and positive with our children. It was very inclusive and every single child in our oldest two classes attended today and took part.’

‘The Lever Park students found it a challenge to follow rules and maintain high behavioural expectations,’ says Bernadette O’Hare, Bolton SGO. ‘Yet our understanding of these individuals and their backgrounds, as well as prior meetings with the head teacher and PE lead, meant we could plan ahead. For example, we brought the programme to the pupils at Lever Park, helping them engage in a familiar setting. We also adapted our rules and expectations. This included allowing pupils to take part in the programme wearing school unform - adjusting the format to ensure safety - and providing Panathlon T-shirts for pupils to keep and wear to represent their team.’

Further details

For more information on our work with Children and Young People, please contact