Withernsea High School

Withernsea High School

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  2. January 2024
  3. £25,000 upgrade for school’s fitness facilities

£25,000 upgrade for school’s fitness facilities

8 January 2024 (by admin)

Fitness facilities at Withernsea High School have been given an upgrade thanks to a £25,000 investment from a Department for Education (DfE) funded programme to boost levels of physical activity

With the support of Active Humber, one of 43 Active Partnerships across England who use the power of sport and physical activity to transform lives, funding was secured through the government’s Opening Schools Facilities (OSF) programme to replace twenty-year old gym equipment and redecorate the school’s fitness suite to create a contemporary workout environment.

The funding, sourced from a share of £57m committed nationally to over 1,100 schools in the Active Partnership network, has enabled the replacement of existing treadmills, rowing machines and cross trainers with state-of-the-art upgrades.

This equipment has been complemented with the addition of assault bikes, a pull-up machine, a punchbag and a new weights area, featuring bench presses, medicine balls and kettlebells, plus a selection of resistance bands, yoga mats and skipping ropes. 

The transformation of the fitness suite has been made possible thanks to the combined efforts of Active Humber, Active Withernsea, and members of the community. Helping to support the design and development of the project were Trevor Pardoe, General Manager at East Riding Leisure, Withernsea, and Michael Riches – a Personal Trainer and owner of Withernsea-based fitness studio, Strength Revival.

Reflecting on the team effort that helped to make the project a reality, Nick Richmond, School Sports Coordinator and Children & Young People's Physical Activity Coordinator at Active Withernsea, said: “When we received the news that we had secured the OSF funding, we knew straight away that a priority for our students, and wider school community, was the refurbishment of the school’s fitness suite.

“We began a consultation with staff and students to discover the equipment and opportunities they would like to see being made available to them. On the back of this, I approached Michael from Strength Revival who helped us to source a selection of equipment that would facilitate full body workouts.

“Michael’s knowledge, advice and expertise were invaluable – not only in helping us to purchase the right equipment at the best prices, but also in terms of the training he delivered to staff. This training has equipped teachers within the school’s PE and Sport Department with the skills needed to deliver bespoke induction sessions to students, and fellow staff members, for the safe and confident use of the new equipment.”

With a passion for health and fitness, and 34 years’ experience behind him in various fitness disciplines, including martial arts, athletics and bodybuilding, Michael launched his Strength Revival business in Wigan in January 2020. A subsequent move to Withernsea in 2022 saw Michael rebuilding the business from scratch.

Now, as an established fitness provider in the town, Michael offers personal training sessions, nutritional courses, sports injury treatments, and both sports and relaxation massages, to Strength Revival’s growing list of clients.

Michael said: “Strength Revival’s motto is ‘Reclaiming your lost strength, health and purpose’. It is all about getting men and women over 40 to avoid settling with being unfit, overweight, being in pain and having a feeling of having their best days behind them. You will be amazed with what you can achieve with the right approach.

“Although I do a lot of work with older clients, I train all age groups and was delighted to be asked to help assist with the plans for the refurbishment of the school’s fitness suite. 

“I have enjoyed working with Nick and meeting the rest of the staff through the gym induction sessions. Nick initially contacted me early in the year and explained that he may be able to acquire some funding for some new gym equipment. He said he would like to re-design the gym and make something a bit special for the children to use and something that the staff could benefit from as well.

“I was happy to get involved, so visited the school to find out exactly what he was looking for and to see what space and budget were available. I then went away and put a couple of designs together that we were both happy with. I also sourced the right kind of equipment within budget.

“I think we have created a great facility for the high school and both the students and staff are very fortunate to have it and should make the most of it.”

Completing the transformation has been the full redecoration of the fitness suite, including the installation of wall graphics and window decals. Funded by Active Withernsea, and designed by Active Humber Marketing Lead, Elleanor Siddall, the wall art promotes local sporting and activity groups, including Withernsea AFC and the town’s Golf Club, by incorporating their logos as a means of highlighting pathways to wider community sporting opportunities.

“Everything on the walls and windows is linked with local sporting opportunities and the Core PE curriculum at the school.” said Nick. “Diagrams of the skeletal, circulatory and muscular systems, featured on the window decals, all link to what our older students are studying as part of their OCR Cambridge National course in Sport. By making the workout environment educational and informative, we hope to inspire increased enthusiasm for sport and physical activity – both in school, and at the many clubs and opportunities that exist in the community.”

Lucy Gray, Development Manager at Active Humber, added: “Opening Schools Facilities funding has allowed Withernsea High School to update their fitness suite with new equipment and wall art, making it a warm and welcoming space for students and staff.

“This was perfect timing for the school to receive Department for Education funding, to link in with wider programmes, such as Humber School Games’ place-based work, and has provided an exit route for students who have recently used the gym at Withernsea Leisure Centre.

“The OSF funding will enable Withernsea High School to have more physical activity opportunities for the students and the local community, and to develop more of these opportunities in the coming months and years.”

Mark Crofts, Headteacher of Withernsea High School, said: “The interest generated by the refurbishment of our fitness suite has been phenomenal. We have been delighted to see our students and staff making the most of the new facilities, both during timetabled lessons and through an increased number of extra-curricular opportunities.

“The huge investment of time and money into this project shows real confidence in what we’re able to do here and highlights the strength of the partnership we have with Active Withernsea, and the strength of place-based working. Bringing different organisations together to get the best from each other is great in the sum of its parts and is something that we are keen to explore in a variety of contexts for the benefit of our students and whole school community.”

Kristina Richardson, Pilot Manager at Active Withernsea, said: "The Active Withernsea team are delighted to see the full transformation of the Withernsea High School gym come to fruition. This has been a great partnership project working with the school, Active Humber and Active Withernsea.

“I would particularly like to thank Nick Richmond, Lucy Gray (Active Humber), Jennifer Lount (Active Withernsea Engagement Officer) and Michael Riches from Strength Revival who all played a key role in the project.

“This project has been an opportunity to work collaboratively to further enhance the physical activity opportunities for the young people within the school - not only within core subject time, but as an additional extra-curricular opportunity.

“The space feels fully inviting, and students and staff alike are already reaping the benefits. We are excited to see how the space continues to evolve and work in partnership to collectively create a happier, healthier and more physically active Withernsea."

Ambitions for next year include the running of weekly extra-curricular classes at the school, led by Michael Riches, for both staff and students to improve their general health and fitness levels. While eventually, it is hoped that the school’s fitness suite could join the school’s other bookable resources, including its Sports Hall, Dance Studio and 3G Pitch, for use as a community provision.

The refurbishment of the fitness suite is the latest milestone in the thriving partnership between Active Withernsea and Withernsea High School which aims to boost the health and well-being of young people across Holderness as part of a long-term goal to improve the provision of physical activity and sport in the local area.   

Since the two organisations joined forces in September 2022, the school has received funding and support from Active Withernsea to help create more sporting opportunities for its students and the wider school community. This has resulted in the installation of a media wall to promote healthy eating and physical activity; the launch of new clubs, including a successful running club, and investment in sporting equipment for additional extra-curricular opportunities.

The partnership has been assisted by the creation of a bespoke liaison role, with a member of staff in place to bridge the gap between sport at the school and in the community.

Meanwhile, Active Withernsea are currently working alongside members of the community, local partners and a variety of organisations to establish a legacy network that will take over the promotion of healthy lifestyles when the pilot project concludes in 2025.

The PACE (Physical Activity and Community Engagement) network aims to continue the work of Active Withernsea by bringing the town’s residents together to take the lead on the future of physical activity and community engagement.

Regular workshops continue to provide a platform for honest feedback and open dialogue with members of the community to help identify areas for improvement. Topics addressed include disabilities, long-term health conditions, communication, accessibility and inclusion.

The next PACE network meeting will take place on Thursday, January 25, at Withernsea’s Meridian Centre. Open to all members of the community, the meeting will reflect on the leadership proposal that will help carry PACE forward with defined roles to ensure effective decision-making, accountability and long-term sustainability.

The event will begin with a complimentary lunch and networking session at midday. This will be followed by the main meeting to discuss the leadership proposal and reflect on the issues discussed at the ‘Next Steps’ event held in October. Topics up for discussion include communication, engagement and future networking events.

For further information about January’s PACE event, or the continuing work of Active Withernsea in the community, the team can be reached by phone on 01964 782299, by email at active.withernsea@eastriding.gov.uk or in-person at the Active Withernsea Shop at 170 Queen Street. Alternatively, search ‘Active Withernsea’ or ‘PACE Network’ on Facebook for updates.

ABOVE:  A £25,000 investment has seen the purchase of state-of-the-art fitness machines to replace twenty-year-old equipment.

ABOVE: Freshly installed wall art promotes local sporting and activity groups by incorporating their logos as a means of highlighting pathways to wider community sporting opportunities. Among those represented are Withernsea Golf Club, Withernsea AFC and Withernsea Tennis Association.  

ABOVE: Window decals aim to support learning with diagrams including circulatory and muscular systems. Their positioning means they are in full view while students exercise.

ABOVE: Headteacher Mark Crofts cuts the ribbon to officially open the fitness suite, watched on by Nick Richmond – Teacher of PE and Children & Young People's Physical Activity Coordinator at Active Withernsea

ABOVE: Michael Riches, a Personal Trainer and owner of Withernsea-based fitness studio, Strength Revival, acted as an advisor for the refurbishment of the school’s Fitness Suite.

ABOVE: Year 9 students getting to grips with the new equipment as part of a timetabled PE lesson.

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