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Start date: 2015-11-03
End date: 2015-12-14
Results: 2016-03-03

[ARCHIVED] Budget Proposal 2016/17 - Phase One: Physical Activity in Children

Part of the range of West Berkshire Council's budget proposals for 2016/17, with supporting information and Equality Impact Assessments

If you haven't already seen our video explaining why these changes are being proposed, please visit our Budget Proposals 2016/17 webpage.


Childhood obesity is a significant problem and we believe that the council has a role to play in helping to promote healthy lifestyles amongst children and therefore reduce the rates of children who are overweight and obese in West Berkshire. However, rates are lower in West Berkshire compared to England as a whole. In 2013/14, 19.5% of children aged 4 to 5 years in West Berkshire were either overweight or obese compared to 22.5% in England. By year 6 of primary school, 28% of children were either overweight or obese again lower than the average for England (33.5%).   

Measures to tackle children being overweight and obese include improving diets and healthy nutrition, along with increasing the levels of physical activity amongst children. A number of measures have been funded by the council and include free school holiday activities for 2 to 10 year olds and free swimming lessons and transport.

The free school holiday activities for children aged 2 to 10 years are run at local leisure centres and include a range of activities including trampolining, bouncy castles, team games and soft play. They are open to all and work on a first come, first served basis. The free swimming lessons are aimed towards children from more deprived backgrounds and aim to equip them with the basics for swimming before they start swimming lessons at school.  


It is proposed to reduce the budget for free school holiday activities for children aged 2 to 10 by £9,000.This is currently a universal service (open to everyone) and the intention is to reduce the numbers of sessions run and advertise more effectively.

It is also proposed to reduced the budget for free swimming lessons and transport by £7,000, which will reduce the number of free swimming lessons provided but these will be targeted towards those with greater need.

The two proposals will result in a saving of £16,000.

What do we think the impact will be?

Although these physical activity projects will be reduced, this will not stop children from being physically active. There are currently other ways in which the council promotes the benefits of physical activity and other services are also provided to enable families to be physically active together. This includes the provision of green bags (free sports equipment borrowed from local leisure centres) and regular weekend walks provided by Walking for Health which children are also welcome to attend. The council is also working with schools to increase physical activity levels for all children.

What else have we considered in arriving at our proposal?

We have been in discussions with the leisure centres across West Berkshire to look at possible alternative ways to provide this service. This could potentially include providing the school holiday activities on a subsidised basis or restricting who would be able to attend them. It might be possible to provide these activities but ask people to pay a contribution towards them when attending. 

This consultation is closed.

What you told us

We received 3 responses to this consultation.

We have condensed all your comments into the 'Summary of Responses' and everything you said, word for word, is contained in 'Verbatim Responses'.

These can be found in 'Documents' below.

What we did

A recommendation on how to proceed with this proposal was made to the Executive Members on 11 February 2016.

This can also be found below in 'Overview and Recommendation'.

Following this, at the Full Council Meeting on 1 March 2016, all Members discussed this proposal as part of setting the Revenue Budget for 2016/17.

At the vote, the budget was agreed with the suggested amendments.

It was agreed to proceed with this proposal.

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