The Healthy Mover in me

Kate Chaplin – Youth Sports Trust Tutor  and Development Coach, has written a blog in the eyes of one of the children at a nursery/pre school. 

Chapter One

In the Autumn of 2018, my Early Years teacher went to Minehead to “Teacher School,” for the day.

They learnt lots of games and activities that would help me to learn, be active and play with my friends and family.

Chapter Two

During Autumn, the leaves changed colour on the trees and some of them fell onto the ground when the wind blew. We started to play the games that my teacher had learnt.

Sometimes we were like the Birds in the Trees who were balancing on the branches when the Autumn winds blew

Look at Me!

I can balance on both my feet close together On one foot On the other foot How many seconds can I balance for on each foot?

Chapter Three

Soon, our parents and carers came and joined us. We would all listen to a story and then play together.

My favourite activity with my parent or carer has been……

I can dance with a scarf and draw shapes in the air. This is helping me to learn to hold a paintbrush, pencil and one day to read and write.

Chapter Four

In the spring term, we were given a rucksack.

In my rucksack I have……?

My favourite thing in my rucksack is my……?

Chapter Five

At home, I have played with the toys and cards in my rusk sack with my parents and we all had lots of fun.

Chapter Six

At Easter, we had an egg hunt and played Healthy Mover games! We had a picnic with our friends from other nurseries.

I made some great new friends and learnt not to be scared of going to a new place and trying different games and activities.

Skill Up West Somerset

Skill up is a complimentary service to support the businesses and people of West Somerset with their Apprenticeship and Skills journey, offering impartial advice and guidance. Marie Howard, is the Skill Up Apprenticeships and Skills Adviser, providing information and support for your business to help you understand the Apprenticeship and skills landscape, and introduce you to local training provision.

If you would like to learn more about the government funding available for Apprentices or have other skills requirements please contact Marie for free, impartial, advice and guidance. Email: Telephone: 07395796297

Jane Parker, is the Skill Up Information Adviser and Employment Coach, providing information and support to any individual in the community and will be regularly available across West Somerset’s Employment Hubs. Email: Telephone: 07734494755  


Study Up

We have created this website to help you find out more about the wide range of Degrees, Foundation Degrees, Degree Apprenticeships, Higher Education, Professional Qualifications and courses on offer in Somerset and how to access them.

Providers of Higher Education (HE) across Somerset have worked together to provide the latest information on courses, campuses, study options, funding and FAQs, We hope that this will help you understand the great opportunities for studying and living in Somerset.

Borrow an iPad for business

Why not add a bit of digital to your business! People can now loan a brand-new iPad from Minehead Library, in the same way they might loan a book! Funded by Somerset West and Taunton, this service is specifically aimed at businesses or potential new businesses.

Five tablets have been pre-loaded with a range of toolkits, apps and links to help you get started in developing your digital strategy and exploring opportunities such as website design, on-line finance and social media.

The iPads can be loaned free of charge for one month – all you need is a Somerset Libraries Card (and if you don’t have one, just come inside with ID such as a driving licence and the staff will be happy to help) We also have an excellent ‘Books for Business’ collection – including advice for creating the best CV, marketing and finance and making the most of social media

Email –

Twitter – @SomersetLib

Today we are happy to welcome the launch of the new Hungry Little Minds campaign…

Hungry Little Minds is the new Department for Education campaign that encourages parents and carers to adopt positive activities and behaviours to boost children’s communication, language and literacy development.

The three-year campaign, which launched with social media and online adverts in July, aims to help parents understand that they have a massive impact on their child’s learning.

Reading, playing and chatting with them are simple things they can do to help them develop, even when they are too young to say much back. Parents can access tips and activities from and also search for activities in their area using a new postcode finder service.

Organisations are encouraged to support the campaign, share content on social media and link to the campaign website from their sites, making it easier for parents to get the latest advice.

The FUN Project brings families together with outdoors activities.

The FUN project (Families United through Nature) is providing opportunities for families who need support, confidence building and ideas to get outdoors with their children to benefit from the health and wellbeing opportunities of the natural environment. Being outdoors is good for both physical and mental health, and the project’s activities aim to  promote and encourage family time and communication between parents and children as well as introduce children to the wonders and importance of our natural world.

For Easter this year 7 FUN family activity sessions were run at Minehead, Watchet, Williton, and Dulverton and in Exmoor National Park at the Field Studies Council’s Nettlecombe Court. 80 parents and children attended. Activities included talking about insects and pollination and planting giant sunflowers, making bird feeders, stream and woodland activities.

Comments from some of the days included: “If we weren’t here my son would be talking about computers and xbox games all the time.” “Really enjoyed ourselves, wish we could be here for longer”

“I didn’t know this woodland area was here …will come again and bring a picnic”

“The session was relaxed, friendly and the team were on hand with information about the mini beasts which made it really interesting………the mini bus was as much part of the adventure as the outdoor pursuits”

“Great to have an activity on indoors over easter on a wet day – needed to get the kids out and they’ve learned something new today too (how to plant a sunflower for the pollinating insects)

The FUN project has a number of networks developing including with Homestart, the Health Visitors, toddler groups and school support staff. These contacts are able to encourage families who are needing some additional support to come along to the FUN activities, before we open up places to a wider audience.

4 May half term sessions are happening the week of 27th May and a summer programme is in development. Lucy McQuillan, FUN Project Coordinator has met up with the wonderful CLOWNS Community Coordinator, Suzanne Richards, whose role includes coordinating activities for families in West Somerset to provide lots of opportunities for children and their families to enjoy spending time together and enrich and support parents.

A celebration of professionals, schools, education and work related learning projects at the EBP awards

The Somerset EBP Awards 2019 were held on Wednesday 24th April 2019 to celebrate the personal contributions and great team effort from education and businesses in Somerset todevelop the pipeline of future talent in the county.

Celebrating business professionals, schools, education providers and work-related learning projects across the county, the Somerset Education Business Partnership (EBP) Awards 2019 is a chance to showcase those who have inspired, raised aspirations and developed a future local workforce.

Guests and sponsors to the awards ceremony to celebrate the hard work and success of all our finalists and we hope that the event encourages all those present to continue to inspire and raise the aspirations of young people in Somerset.

A huge congratulations to all those who were nominated and also to professionals whose focus has been within West Somerset, including:

  •   Personal Contribution – Business – Emma Kelly, Butlins
  •   Personal Contribution – Education – Deborah Eele, West Somerset College​​​​​​​
  •   Careers Inspiration Provider – Young Somerset
  •   Outstanding Impact – Julie Young

Full details of awards can be found  here

West Somerset Business Group

A crucial part of the Opportunity Area’s work in making positive social mobility changes is set in the wider community.  Businesses, and especially small businesses, drive the local economy and provide not just employment but opportunities for people to grow, develop skills and support those around them in doing the same.  West Somerset has a larger proportion of micro and small employers than the national average and these are vital in our community in providing employment and development opportunities for young people.

The West Somerset Business Group is a local employer forum whose aim is to celebrate the contribution employers make to the community, recognise and value the social impact they make and support them with a range of training, development and networking opportunities.

The group runs meetings and training every month and circulates a regular newsletter.  This provides updates and details of events and also gathers wider opportunities for business into one place.  Small and micro businesses that may otherwise not come across regional business news can benefit from a great deal of free support and training.

Sign up now to our newsletter – 

Find us on Facebook –

and on Twitter –

Our last event based in Minehead was a great success with a presentation by the Federation of Small Businesses and lots of useful networking time (pictured).

If you know of any small business that could benefit from this group do please share – and we hope to see you soon.

Best wishes from the West Somerset Business Group.

Community Play Co-ordinator in West Somerset

Firstly Let me introduce myself, my name is Suzanne Richards and I have taken the role of Clowns Community Play Co-Ordinator.

A little bit about myself, I have worked over the last 10 years in West Somerset. If I make just a small difference to one child’s day, change the attitude of a parent/carer or help a family to reconnect then to me that is a great day. I have always lived in West Somerset and have worked hard to provide a wide range of diverse activities in the area from trampolining groups, setting up gymnastic clubs, providing Inset Day Activity Days, Playschemes, introducing Wake and Shake to school assemblies and organising and managing Transition events for year 4’s going from Primary to Middle Schools.  To name but a few, I teach Gymnastics, Fundamentals, Balanceability, Wake and Shake and Orienteering.   Many of the activities I teach myself and have a particular soft spot for Key stage 1 and Pre School.  I have been told that I am a motivational person from parents/carers, class members, teachers and someone they feel they can relate to and trust.  I feel I help strike the balance between the business needs to balancing the community needs. I like a challenge and overcoming barriers and will work hard for West Somerset in this new role.

On a personal level I have two children, I teach Group Exercise including indoor cycling, kettlercise, circuits, bootcamps, hitt sessions  and fitness is a big part of my life, I enjoy cycling, running, walking and baking. 

West Somerset can easily get overlooked if we don’t fight for it.  It is an amazing area but does have additional challenges and barriers.  The project will work towards co-ordinating all activities in the area and sign posting families and children, it will also work towards developing activities in order to enhance the children and families lives and hope to cement positive lifestyle habits that will increase children’s attainment and aspirations.   

I joined the Clowns team on their Wild Walk at Dunster Duck Pond.  It took me back many years to when my children were small, the beautiful setting and weather was a bonus, but the whole session was engaging and imaginative from start to finish in the hands of Lauren and Jackie.  The opportunity to use nature, engage with the children using a range of skills helping with physical and social development. From Jackie’s random scattering of  plastic ducks for the children to find – and the children’s complete surprise how they kept finding more ducks and the bucket was empty was priceless, constant communication with children covering cross curriculum learning, a nice game of river sticks followed by a lovely nursery rhyme in the woods, back to the grass area under a tree to hear about “The Farmer” well co-ordinated with puppets from Jackie. As all activities ending with a biscuit and a drink.  The session was well planned, well executed and a credit to the Clowns team, the children were engaged, excited, confident, happy and completely entertained for the whole session.   

I am very much looking forward to this new role and what it throws at me.

Healthy Movers makes a positive impact in West Somerset

Futures for Somerset continue to work closely with the DfE, Somerset County Council and the Youth Sport Trust to deliver the ‘Healthy Movers’ programme to Early Years settings in West Somerset.

Caroline Barnes from Futures For Somerset tells us about her experience of the Healthy Movers Project in West Somerset.

The programme is now well established in settings – 16 Healthy Movers Champions have been trained, 427 children and over 100 parents / carers have participated in activities, 421 Home Activity Packs have been issued to families so that they can continue to support their children with activities at home, and settings have received additional equipment (scarves, quoits, bubbles etc) so that they can deliver the full range of Healthy Movers activities. Stay and Play Clubs are also up and running – these offer parents / carers the opportunity to join their children in a ‘Healthy Movers’ session that is aimed at giving the whole family more confidence to take part in physical activity together, whilst enjoying fun activities.

I was lucky enough to attend a ‘Stay and Play’ Club at Teddy Bear’s Nursery in Washford this week, so see staff, children and families / carers taking part in a range of fun, physical activities with a learning theme.

Recognising that it is extremely difficult for some parents / carers to attend early years settings in the day, it was fantastic to see 9 parents / carers attending the session and joining in with activities. During the 45-minute session delivered jointly by the Nursery Teacher and the Youth Sport Trust Coach, a huge range of topics was covered through physical play including movement skills, phonics, numeracy, colours, healthy eating, learning to share, working in a group and listening to instructions. Children and their parents / carers worked with different colours and types of equipment to travel around the room, hiding, hopping and jumping their way through the session to music, whilst being encouraged to talk about their activities and develop their language and phonics skills. After concocting some imaginary giant fruit salad bowls (whilst discussing colours, numbers, and the importance of fruit and vegetables), the session finished with a whole group bubble activity session which combined jumping, chasing and catching alongside phonics exercises (which were sneakily incorporated into the general fun).

Aside from attending the actual sessions, families can use the activity cards and equipment within the Home Activity Packs to carry on with the fun at home, also enabling parents / carers who can’t attend the sessions to participate.

It was great to see children and their parents / carers taking part in such an action-filled, fun-packed session filled with high energy, chatter and smiles.