Teaching healthy living

Making healthy living relevant to young people   -  By Emma Bird

By Amber Barnard

“We were in St James palace waiting to see Princess Anne and it was like, ‘how did we end up here from this little website we dreamt up a year ago?’ She spoke to us for a good five minutes, asking questions like why we got involved and what we’d done and stuff - which was quite nerve racking as we were thinking ‘This is the Queens daughter – Whoa!’

I came up with the idea of doing our project on healthy living and exercise. It started because me and a couple of friends are big sports fans and we like PE and everyone else seems to hate PE at our school so we thought we want to do something about that to show that it can be fun. We wanted to make sport fun again.

Lots of people our age think that it doesn’t matter what you do now but actually it does and that’s what we were trying to get across to people. To show them that it’s easy to change and you don’t have to go jogging for 6 miles or whatever. That’s a big misconception I think a lot of people have.

We had loads of ideas. I think we were overly ambitious at the start.  We eventually decided that a website would be the easiest thing and would be the most useful.  We decided it would have information like recipes, easy ways to exercise and regular updates from the team. We wanted to show people that we were taking our own advice – like a teacher just saying in a lesson that you must do this – but this is important to everyone so we’re going to do it too. If we can do it then you guys can do it as well. We thought that was important to show.

We also made a few videos about the benefits of exercise like the effect it has on your heart and your lungs and flexibility and things. Our main one has over 11k hits on You Tube and our biology teacher used it  in a lesson for year 7 and 8s which was our target group so that was really good."

Amber and her team meet Princess Anne at the Hearing Unheard Voices award ceremony at St James Palace"When we found out that we’d won a Diana Award we were so proud and then we got nominated for a Hearing Unheard Voices which is when we got to meet Princess Anne.

I find it hard talking about myself and I’m normally quite quiet - I don’t even think I’d even have done this interview a year ago.  Envision helped because you shouldn’t be ashamed of what you’ve done. This is who you are and you should express it. That’s what Envision taught us.

I felt a better leader after doing it with Envision so I applied to do a football coaching course. That was difficult. Basically I had to spend 10 hours coaching a group of 40yr old men - I was the only girl and by far the youngest one so that was difficult but I think the skills I learnt at Envision helped me with that. It was a bit intimidating obviously being the youngest and the only girl so I felt a little isolated but actually got more confidence in myself so I was able to do it.

I’ve loved doing Envision. It gives you the chance to change something you care about and I don’t think there’s that many opportunities to do something like this, something that you care about and it does give you skills to go do something instead of sitting there and thinking I’d do that differently. It’s your actually chance to go something differently."

You can find out more about the Plantsbrook team project at www.wix.com/steve_envision/steve or at www.facebook.com/pages/STEVe