And we’re off – £20,000 sports kit token scheme for schools launches

Successful gymnasts at Rollesby Primary School. Picture: Rollesby Primary School

Successful gymnasts at Rollesby Primary School. Picture: Rollesby Primary School - Credit: Rollesby Primary School

On your marks, get set...

Today, the Mercury is kickstarting a drive to help primary schools in the area unlock a slice of a £20,000 sports equipment cash pot.

We've teamed up with Sports for Schools for the campaign, which will see tokens printed in the newspaper every week until April 14.

This week's token can be found on our back page.

We'll be encouraging school staff, parents and local communities to collect as many tokens as they can – and hand them in to their local schools.

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The three schools with the most tokens – calculated on a pro rata basis based on pupil numbers – will receive prizes of £5,000, £3,000 or £2,000, while schools which collect 1,000 tokens will receive a free sports pack.

So far, in just one week, 80 schools in Norfolk have already signed up to the scheme.

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Among them is Rollesby Primary School.

The school's PE coordinator Diane Howlett said they offered a 'holistic' approach, something which earned them the title of Sporting Primary School of the Year at the Great Yarmouth Sports Awards 2017.

'We don't see it as just PE lessons,' she said. 'We promote the benefits of healthy eating and why it's important to stay fit, as well as the values and morals of sport.'

She said they tried to include as much variety as possible – including ice skating, archery and fencing.

'We want to show them that there is a sport out there for everyone,' she said. 'It can enhance confidence and self-esteem and being part of a team can make them feel valued.

'If they've done something well the praise from that can be really important to them.'

And after introducing the daily mile initiative, a national scheme which sees children run or walk for 15 minutes a day, she said teachers noted that pupils also seemed more focused in lessons.

If your school is keen to sign up, they'll need to register their interest.

All schools need to do is to email with their name, address, postcode, contact name, telephone number and the number of pupils at the school.

They will be sent an entry pack, including a token collection box and posters and flyers for parents, while display board outside schools are available on request.

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