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Farm fit’ scheme helps East End kids muscle out the bullies

PUBLISHED: 22:13 25 July 2008 | UPDATED: 13:29 05 October 2010

A SERIES of Farming Fit’ days is being held on an urban farm to get kids in London’s deprived East End healthy and stop them being bullied in school. George the donkey, Bella the lamb and friends are getting ready next month to help children lose weight and get fit at Stepping Stones city farm in Stepney during the school holidays

A SERIES of 'Farming Fit' days is being held on an urban farm to get kids in London's deprived East End healthy and stop them being bullied in school.

George the donkey, Bella the lamb and friends are getting ready next month to help children lose weight and get fit at Stepping Stones city farm in Stepney during the school holidays.

It's aimed at youngsters who don't go in for sport but still need exercise to keep trim.

"Farming is an alternative to sports, which many children don't enjoy," said Ellie Mortimer, who is running the programme starting August 16.

"The children will love working with our animals, growing vegetables to take home and making bird boxes. None of it is competitive.

"They don't realise how hard they're exercising when they're working on the farm."

The East End has a high rate of child obesity, which has led to special clinics set up to tackle the problem, caused mainly by junk food and lack of exercise.

One mum who signed up for a previous 'Farm Fit' course for her children said: "I want my son to get more active and lose weight, because he's going to secondary school soon and I'm worried about bullying if he's fat."

She has diabetes and heart problems herself and is worried about both her children's health and wants them to be fitter than she is.

Organisers of the 'Farm Fit' programme are urging youngsters to put on their wellies and help care for the animals, as well as grow healthy food and make homes for wildlife.

The two-hour programme at 50p each runs the first and third Saturday of every month, starting on August 16 at 10.30am, finishing 12.30pm, suitable for children seven to 17 (with parents).

Stepping Stones is in Stepney Way, next to Stepney Green.

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