Kinship Active provides a supportive environment allowing kinship families get more active together. Families have access to project workers, free or low-cost local activities, and a peer support network.
What is Kinship Active?
Kinship Active is a three-year project funded by Sport England until August 2021 for kinship families in Middlesbrough, Redcar and Cleveland, and is run in partnership with Middlesbrough Football Club Foundation and Teesside University.
Our project partner, Middlesbrough FC Foundation runs a range of activities at their state of the art Herlingshaw Centre.
Project workers also provide one-to-one support for families – discussing the specific challenges they face, developing activity plans together, supporting participants to access specialist health services if required, and working towards achievable outcomes.
Through building strong local partnerships we now have low cost activities including low cost swim sessions, free table tennis, walking groups, community café sessions, dance classes and over 130 kinship carers and their children come on day trips for fun activities. Activities are as local as possible to avoid transport costs.
Who is Kinship Active for?
Any kinship carer, regardless of legal order, from Middlesbrough, Redcar and Cleveland, with children under 18 can join Kinship Active.
Why we developed Kinship Active
Many kinship carers, particularly grandparents, have poor health, are struggling to make ends meet and are caring for children with additional needs due to their difficult start in life. All of these factors can make accessing mainstream activities difficult.
Kinship Active gets families active together by breaking down these barriers. We understand the specific needs of kinship carers and their children and we developed Kinship Active in response to what they were telling us.
We know that 9 out of 10 children want to do more activities with their family, and a third of carers said they’d be motivated to take part in activities with their children because they are keen to keep them active. They are also aware of their poor health – many are worried about what will happen to their children if they’re not around or are seriously ill, and this is a strong motivator to get active.
We chose to pilot Kinship Active in Teesside based on our research, which shows:
- 90% adults in Middlesbrough are physically inactive and one-quarter are obese
- 24% and 22.5% of children in Year 6 are obese in Middlesbrough and Redcar & Cleveland respectively (Public Health England, 2017)
- 81% of the kinship carers Grandparents Plus supported in Teesside 2017/18 reported a disability or long-term health condition
The difference it makes
Intergenerational activities have been shown to have a positive impact on physical, cognitive and social health.Young and Sharpe, 2016
Kinship carers tell us that doing activities with other kinship families makes them feel more comfortable. They support each other during these activities, so there is the additional benefit of getting to know other kinship carers in the area and having a new support network.
I had to leave my home and friends and felt so alone. This project has helped me meet more carers, make friends and do fun things with the kids. Thank you.
I now walk to and from school with my grandson. We all look forward to the activities and seeing other families. It’s just the motivation we needed.
I can’t remember the last time we sat and played together. He’s really coming out of his shell
How do I commission this service?
Kinship Active is currently being piloted in Teesside in the North East and is funded by Sport England until August 2021. Our aim is that Kinship Active will be available for commissioning from local authorities from October 2021. If you would like to discuss how Kinship Active could work for your local authority, please get in touch with our Director of Programmes, Kate O’Brien on email@example.com
Other support we offer
The Kinship Care Guide for England contains everything kinship carers need to know. Bulk order for kinship carers in your local authority and receive a 15% discount.
Join our Kinship Care Professionals Network to stay up-to-date with news from the world of kinship care, find out about new developments and services, and the latest events and research reports.
Research, statistics and the latest developments related to kinship care.
All kinship carers, regardless of legal order, can access our free, specialist advice service – online, via email or over the phone.
All kinship carers can join our free community where they can take part in surveys and campaigns, discuss issues that affect them, attend events, share tips and advice, and hear about discounts, local events, days out and much more.