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Nike Open Doors programme 2023 "powerful in reaching children with fewer opportunities"

UK Active and Nike’s Open Doors programme was successful in support children and young people to stay active during summer 2023
82 per cent of those who took part were eligible for free school meals
There was an uptick in girls, young people with disabilities and from ethnic groups taking part
Participants liked the non-judgmental environment and activities offered. They also receive free meals and snacks
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This summer's Nike’s Open Doors programme saved many children from a summer on the sofa by providing inclusive opportunities during the summer holidays, according to new follow-up insight.

The programme is run in partnership with trade body, UK Active.

The figures show 82 per cent of children who took part were eligible for free school meals, so from lower income households. 61 per cent of participants were female – part of a growing trend towards more girls getting active – and 24 per cent had a special need or disability.

Thirty per cent of the children who used the service were Black or Black British; 15 per cent were Mixed Race; 35 per cent from a non-White ethnic group and 20 per cent were White or White British.

With UK Active research revealing that children's cardiovascular fitness levels can drop by 74 per cent during the summer break, the aim of Open Doors is to provide safe and exciting places for children and young people to stay active over the summer holidays, using school facilities which would otherwise remain closed.

The Open Doors model forms part of UK Active’s Schools as Community Hubs policy, which makes the case for the unlocking of school playing fields, halls and courts over the school holidays.

The organisation says schools own 39 per cent of community facilities but these often remain closed or inaccessible during school holidays.

This year 12 sites operated in London, Birmingham, Manchester and Liverpool. Each based its offer on the needs of its local young people and feedback from participants showed they enjoyed the range of activities and the non-judgmental environment.

The Open Doors programme is self sustaining, making no demands of schools.

Activities for the 2023 sessions were run by local delivery partners – for example, in London, support came from Enfield Judo, Move with Bisi, Harding Dance, JUMPLDN, Team 'Get Involved', JAG, Excel Activity Group and the Active Leaders Award.

Some older children also assisted in delivering the programmes, improving their confidence and leadership skills.

Huw Edwards, CEO of UK Active, says: “Through the three years of the Open Doors programme, we've been able to give thousands of children and young people the opportunity to access a wider range of sports, activities and nutritious food in a safe and familiar environment over the summer period. It’s also great to see the high number of girls we’ve engaged this year.”

Nike athlete and Iron Man, John MacAvoy, believes the Open Doors model can be powerful in reaching those with fewer opportunities to be active, saying: “It is great to hear how this programme made the young people involved feel more confident, happier and connected with each other over the holidays.”

Figures from Sport England’s Active Lives Survey for Children and Young People 2022-2023 revealing ongoing disparities in participation depending on gender, ethnic and socio-economic groups, showing the importance of programmes such as Open Doors.

For a practical guide aimed at schools, local authorities, activity delivery partners and funding organisations, download the Open Doors Blueprint here.

FOOTNOTEOpen Doors has been recognised by the government as influential in the development of Opening School Facilities funding and was referenced in the government's recent Get Active strategy in section 1.2 Getting children and young people active, along with programmes The Daily Mile, The Holiday Activities and Food (HAF) Programme by the UK's Department for Education, the School Games and the 10 Minute Shake Up campaign.

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