Family Matters: Have a go: Get fit and raise heart charity cash

heartnf'Playing golf is a great way for kids to help the charity BHF.
heartnf'Playing golf is a great way for kids to help the charity BHF.
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Ultimate dodgeball and teen golf are lots of fun – and also a great way for youngsters to get involved with charity fund raising for the first time.

Ultimate dodgeball and teen golf are lots of fun – and also a great way for youngsters to get involved with charity fund raising for the first time.

You are never too young to start helping others and there are many ways for families to show their support for the causes closest to their heart.

Whatever charity you choose, it teaches children of all ages the importance of actively supporting others.

And there is usually a lot of fun along the way and a buzz of achievement at the end.

Poor health associated with old age is not something you’d expect to be on many children’s minds – but it is likely to have touched them via a family member.

And the earlier youngsters start looking after their own heart with a healthy lifestyle, the better.

The British Heart Foundation (BHF) carries out pioneering work as the nation’s heart charity and has lots of fund raising initiatives aimed at youngsters.

Their events raise vital money for life-saving work.

BHF has already funded a Heartstart scheme in a number of South Yorkshire schools and is campaigning for emergency life-saving skills to be taught to every child in the country.

Schools and youth groups can combine fitness and fund raising with things like a skipping event – Jump Rope for Heart – or Ultimate Dodgeball.

One fund raising event aimed specifically at youngsters is the Junior Golf Competition 2011 which gets under way in this area with a preliminary round on May 5.

Across the North and East of England, teams of three junior golfers will compete to win a place in the Grand Final at The Belfry in July.

Young golfers from South Yorkshire can take a swing at Hickleton Golf Club and raise vital funds for BHF.

Stuart Bell, junior golf volunteer coordinator for the BHF in South Yorkshire, said: “Every six minutes someone dies of a heart attack. By taking part in this competition, you will be helping the British Heart Foundation to continue its life-saving work.

“This event is a great opportunity for young golfers to play in a team against other juniors with the prospect of the winners going forward and playing at one of the top courses in the country. Entrants also have the chance to win a range of prizes.

“I would encourage schools and golf clubs to enter teams and support the BHF in its 50th birthday year.”

The charity’s aim is to beat heart and circulatory disease – the UK’s biggest killers.

They want to reinforce the message that, regardless of age, together we can save the lives we love.

BHF has a team of volunteers to help everyone who gets involved with fundraising and health awareness work with children and young people in South Yorkshire.

They help raise the profile of the charity and awareness of heart disease in schools, colleges and nurseries.

They also encourage schools to participate in national fund raising events such as Jump Rope for Heart and Ultimate Dodgeball, which raise vital funds while improving children’s heart health.

Lecturer in vascular biology at the University of Sheffield Dr Victoria Ridger has praised BHF for the work they do the help children.

She said: “I and many of the teachers and parents at my children’s school were impressed with all the information and display material BHF provided for schools to support the Jump Rope for Heart campaign.

“My children thoroughly enjoyed the practice runs and the actual skip and it seems to have had the desired effect as far as teaching them about the heart and how they can try and keep it healthy.”

To get involved, or find out more, contact South Yorkshire’s fundraising volunteer manager Lauren Mallinson at mallinsonl@bhf.org.uk or on 01484 866627 / 07714 069126.

Schools and youth groups can contact their local BHF volunteer on 01623 624558 or email north@bhf.org.uk

For more information on the Junior Golf Championship or to enter a team (players must 18-years-old or under) contact Stuart Bell on 01709 818291, 07801 531284 or stuartbell2010@live.co.uk