AFC Wimbledon Foundation throws weight behind campaign
AFC Wimbledon players are hoping to inspire children in Merton to stay healthy after the club threw its weight behind a campaign to tackle obesity.
In partnership with Hounslow & Richmond Community Healthcare NHS Trust, the AFC Wimbledon Foundation is supporting Merton Council and LiveWell Merton to deliver the Family Change4Life programme, which supports children to reach and maintain a healthy weight.
AFC Wimbledon defender Paul Robinson said: “Children these days look up to footballers and listen to what they have to say. If we can help to give them advice that inspires them, it is fantastic. It’s a good thing that we as a football club can try and spread the message to families, especially youngsters, about living well. It’s about making small changes to people’s lifestyle that make a big difference.”
Merton Council Leader Stephen Alambritis and Alex Russell from Hounslow & Richmond Community Healthcare NHS Trust.interviews channel and WDON’s Rob Cornell also You TubeMore from Paul Robinson is now on our official
The first group of 12 families with children aged between five and 13 began the eight-week programme recently. While children take part in a weekly exercise session, held at schools or in community centres, their parents attend classes about nutrition run by dieticians. During the final fortnight families will play sport together.
The Family Change4Life programme is part of Merton Council’s wider public health plans which prioritise reducing childhood obesity.
Kay Skelton, Executive Director at AFC Wimbledon Foundation, said: “Our role is to offer a minimum of 100 children & their families 8 weeks of fun, physical activities and to provide pathways for them to continue taking part. The project will run until March 2017. We are also hoping to encourage some families to come and see the Dons in action through the ‘AFC Wimbledon Experience’ project.
“Launching this programme at the training ground and having the support of the Management Team and players is testament to how the Club and Foundation work together to get behind such important initiatives. Our players are great role models for the young people and we hope that children will see this and get their families to sign up!”
This is helping families to become more active and enjoy more nutritious meals by getting children into the habit of making healthy choices from a young age. The Leader of Merton Council, Councillor Stephen Alambritis, said: “Footballers are important role models for their young fans and it is great to see AFC Wimbledon supporting the Family Change4Life programme.
“Childhood obesity is a growing issue in London and we are committed to tackling it through initiatives like the Family Change4Life programme. We are also encouraging as many Londoners as possible to join the conversation about childhood obesity by having their say in the Great Weight Debate survey.”
Alex Russell, from Hounslow & Richmond Community Healthcare NHS Trust, said: “This (AFC Wimbledon involvement) really helps to get children excited about a programme that they would otherwise not be as interested in. It’s also really great for parents because they are seeing their children linking up with such great role models. It’s good for us delivering the service in Merton.”