Ayr United Football Academy (AUFA) paired up with B-Active to provide a range of sports for all the nursery children at Cherry Tree Nursery. This project was funded by the NHS and its main aim was to target a Nursery school and provide various types of sport making sure the emphasis of health and fitness came through. The programme showed that it’s key to give kids of ages 3 to 4 years old the opportunity to participate in sport and get them active at an early age. Another target was to make the parents and teachers aware this programme was happening and to show it’s a worthwhile exercise and can benefit their children.

The course ran for a total of 20 weeks from October 2010 to March 2011. Ayr United Football Academy Coaches coached round about 80 nursery children for the first 10 weeks and just worked on football. The nursery split their kids into 4 groups and each group would get an hour of activity throughout the day. The classes took place just down the road from Cherry Tree Nursery at the John Pollock centre. To get to the venue Ayr United Football Academy and B Active provided their own bus to ship the kids to and from the nursery.

Within football the kids were working on their physical literacy needs which are running, jumping, and hopping etc. The classes that AUFA run were full of fun football related games and gave the kids a chance to learn about the game. AUFA community coaches really enjoyed working with Cherry Tree Nursery children as they were always in a happy playful mood and keen to try anything that was thrown at them. This made the football sessions go really well and set the programme up well for a grand finale which was a festival at Somerset Park.

Once AUFA coaches had finished their 10 weeks it was then B-Active’s turn. There were 2 B-Active coaches and they worked to the same format and gave the kids an hour of activity each week. B-Active doesn’t just concentrate on the one sport and were able to introduce the kids to golf, dance and basketball. The B-Active coaches really enjoyed their time with the nursery group and were very pleased how good and enthusiastic the kids were with each sport that was thrown at them.

As a grand finale to reward the kids and teachers for all of their hard work AUFA and B-Active hosted a festival for the kids and teachers at Somerset Park (Ayr United Football Club home stadium). AUFA, B-Active, NHS and Cherry Tree Nursery also took it as an opportunity to get the parents involved and take the opportunity to show and tell them how important that being active is for their children and how important it is to start life as healthy 3 to 4 year olds, as it will have a positive effect on their children in the long run.

Cherry Tree Nursery were successful in encouraging lots of the parents to Somerset Park so we took this opportunity to put on a couple of workshops for the parents to see and have a chat about the healthy living side of things for themselves and their children. This took place in the Hospitality Suite at the stadium while the children were out on the park being put through their football skills by AUFA community coaches. Parents, teachers and coaches were able to see what sort of activity their kids had been learning and how much they can improve by being active.

Shaun Ferrie, the Academy’s Football Development Officer said:
“The day went really well. We had excellent weather and the great enthusiasm from all of the kids, coaches, teachers and the parents made it a tremendous event. At AUFA we see this as a very important programme and are very pleased to be so heavily involved in it. The Cherry Tree Nursery staff were very supportive and it was great for AUFA to see them take part in such a successful programme. We look forward to working with them again in the future. I would like to thank all the AUFA community coaches, B-Active coaches, the Cherry Tree Nursery Staff and finally the children and parents who participated in the programme. They made it very enjoyable and turned it in to a great success. ”
AUFA look forward to the future and are working hard to find funding to allow it to set up other projects, where they can work with other nursery schools in South Ayrshire in the future.