Yoga classes in Southend schools

YOGA sessions are being held in Southend schools to help youngsters unwind after months of stress created by the COVID pandemic.

The council launched its Schools Wellbeing Programme in December after revealing 24 per cent of adults in the borough were inactive and 9.1 per cent of children in Reception classes were obese or severely obese.

A progress report for councillors on the health and wellbeing board shows several activities have been launched and taken up by schools across the borough.

These include yoga sessions “to target mindfulness, relaxation and also breathing techniques, as a gentle form of physical activity”.

The sessions are for all ages and two 90-minute sessions are also available for staff in the 15 schools participating in the scheme.

The Children’s Health Project is also run within the programme. This provides guidance on nutrition, lifestyle, mindset and physical activity. Every junior and primary school within the borough, has registered and is taking part in this project. So far 16,890 pupils have taken part.

The Milife Primary Champions Teaching involves staff working with selected Year 5 pupils, who become health and wellbeing advocates within their school.

A ten-week challenge taken up by 13 schools, focuses on physical activity and emotional wellbeing and each child logs their activities.

Bootcamps are also being run in 34 schools with 4,110 youngsters joining sessions.

The report said: “Through consultation with our schools in Southend, the Schools Wellbeing Programme was established during the early part of 2021.

“The programme provides additional physical activity and emotional support, which continues to be valued in helping to cope during the pandemic.”

Cheryl Nevin, councillor responsible for adult social care and health integration, said: “We want Southend to be a healthier, more active borough by increasing physical activity and promoting emotional wellbeing and I am delighted with how many schools and their pupils have embraced and valued the programmes on offer.

“We are aware that there is a desire for continuation of support for emotional wellbeing and will look to see how we can achieve this.”

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Christine Sexton

Local Democracy Reporter