A free, weekly running event for youngsters is a runaway success thanks to volunteers doing their bit – and with the help of a community website everyone can use.
Acton’s junior parkrun takes place every Sunday. It now has on average 60 four to 14 year-olds taking on the 2km course in Acton Park.
As part of its Future Ealing programme the council wants to encourage more people to get involved and make things happen in their local area. Many volunteering opportunities are posted on the Bubble community website, at dosomethinggood.org.uk – where you can also post your own local projects and ask the community to help.
Acton’s junior parkrun has used Bubble in this way, to get volunteers to help run the event.
Clare Walker runs the event and she said: “I am passionate about kids being healthy. Because its voluntary and grassroots, it keeps the event free and open to everyone. The big challenge is getting enough volunteers every week. We need people to marshal the event, lead the warm up, help to set up and pack up. We’re usually all done in around 20 minutes so it it’s a small time commitment, but it makes a big difference.”
‘IT’S GREAT FOR MEETING PEOPLE’
Monika Barry (pictured above) is a local resident and volunteer. Her daughter takes part in the run. She said: “The run is great for the local kids. It’s not a huge time commitment and because we often go to the café after the run, it’s great for meeting people in the area.”
The children, some running with their parents, start the short course around the park at 9am. All the runs are timed and many children come along hoping to beat their own personal bests, but the aim is to have fun whatever the pace.
‘VOLUNTEERING IS FUN’
Matilda Bower,14, is working towards her bronze Duke of Edinburgh award and is also a volunteer. She said: “Volunteering is fun and it’s exciting to see the children doing their best and trying so hard. I remember what it feels like to start running and I like doing things like this with my time. More young people should put down their smartphones and come and do stuff like this.”
It is easy to take part in the Acton junior parkrun. Go to www.parkrun.org.uk and search under the events section.
Acton junior parkrun is always looking for volunteers. For information on this, and lots of other events, visit dosomethinggood.org.uk and visit our Get Moving section for other tips on keeping active.