The Queen’s School in Cheshire’s new £550,000 building is the centrepiece of its fitness for all campaign, which aims to encourage pupils to lead a healthy, active lifestyle. The new sport and fitness centre has a larger sports hall for ball sports, circuits, badminton and team games and a studio for ergo rowing training and group activities such as yoga and pilates. In addition, there are extra changing and washing facilities for away teams and community use out of school hours.
In opening the centre Jennie Price said that it would be used by everyone “from elite athletes to those who are a bit rubbish – because most of us are in fact a bit rubbish.” She noted the similarities between the school’s campaign, which was started two years ago, and Sport England’s This Girl Can campaign, both of which aim to persuade young girls to take up some form of healthy activity – whether they think of themselves as sporty or not
The Queen’s School’s head of sport and fitness Gemma Glynn said: “Nationally there is a large drop-off for girls in sports participation from the age of around 13. Many feel self-conscious or perhaps they don’t enjoy the competitive element of sport. We have tried to combat that by embedding activity into normal school events like fundraising and by offering lots of different things for girls to try.
“We have a more diverse range of activities available than ever before. Everything from rowing and sailing to gymnastics, yoga, pilates and street dance are now popular lunchtime, before or school activities. And our elite sportswomen and teams are thriving with the new focus.”
The new building was funded through a Sport England inspired facilities grant, donations from local charitable trusts and parents.
The projects patrons include former pupil Beth Tweddle, footballers Michael Owen and John Barnes and Olympic gold medallist Rebecca Romero.
Headmistress Sarah Clark added: “I am overwhelmed with the difference the fitness for all campaign has made to the school. With the new sport and fitness centre, our sporting facilities are now fit for purpose, links have been developed with the local community, our pupils are challenged and developed through a broader range of sports to become better sportswomen but more important than all of this is that most pupils now understand the importance of health, fitness and sport and how this goes hand in hand with a happy, constructive and successful life.”
Caption: Sports captain Alice Thompson, age 16 from Chester, ex-pupil and gymnast Beth Tweddle, Jennie Price, chief executive of Sport England, patron of the fitness for all campaign Michael Owen and deputy sports captain Jemma Bright, age 17 from Chester