New scheme to encourage St Albans youths to get active

SKATEBOARDING and archery could be the key to tackling obesity across the county.

The Livewire Project, Hertfordshire’s version of a government strategy called Sport Unlimited, encourages semi-sporty young people aged between five and 19 to swap their computer games for an active lifestyle by providing a range of unusual outdoor sports.

According to statistics from Herts County Council, 25 per cent of 10 to 11-year-olds in the St Albans area were overweight or obese in 2008, a figure which lead officer for Active St Albans Tom Burton said was not acceptable.

He added: “Obesity can be tackled but the key is for parents and kids to firstly understand that there is a problem. There are so many ‘non-healthy’ alternatives for young people out there so offering a variety of activities away from the more traditional sports will hopefully attract the less active.”

Livewire runs in conjunction with various local organisations such as St Albans-based Wild Child Activities, which provides skateboarding and archery lessons as part of the national curriculum at both Beaumont Secondary School in St Albans and St Luke’s school in Redbourn.

Husband and wife team Kieran and Lynda Regan, of Hatfield Road in St Albans, set up the Wild Child business three years ago and have been running the school projects for a couple of months. Lynda, a trained archery instructor, said that it was the first time skateboarding and archery has been offered to young people in St Albans.

She added: “We hope that offering more unusual sports will encourage semi-sporty children to embrace a healthy and active lifestyle. You have to work really hard in a skateboarding lesson so as well as having fun with a new activity, it’s a great way to get in shape too.”

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The Wild Child skateboarding and archery programme runs for eight weeks during term time and for more information visit their website at