Fitzy is a friendly fox who loves to be active. He is extremely fit and healthy and likes to play all sorts of games. He has lots of fun with his family and friends.

 Our children in Stoke-on-Trent currently eat less well and are less active than they should be – one of the reasons why they will be the first generation to live shorter lives than their parents.

Much has been made about obesity in the city – but at least it is a visible sign of a poor diet and too little exercise.

More worrying is the invisible effect of a poor lifestyle – heart disease – which is also a major healthy problem in the city.

The national Change4life campaign has made clear that food and exercise are inextricably linked, with their slogan Eat well, Move more, Live longer. The Fitzy initiative hopes to promote physical activity and healthy eating in a fun and rewarding way to encourage the children of Stoke-on-Trent to adopt a healthy lifestyle as a way of life for life.

KS1 Fitzy Initiative – Overview

The Fitzy initiative is designed to encourage KS1 children to adopt a healthy lifestyle by promoting both healthy eating and participation in physical activity. The Fitzy character is used to influence the behaviour of the children and it is important that the children associate the concept of a healthy lifestyle with Fitzy and that his brand image is strong. The Fitzy programme is not a scheme of work – materials have been produced that can be used in PE lessons and for use in OSHL to develop fundamental motor skills, but equally can be used to support cross curricular work and to support home based activity.

The materials and resources have been developed over the last four years and the pilot school, Alexandra Infants’ School in Stoke-on-Trent has been instrumental in the shaping and development of the scheme. Mrs Christine Winkle (PLT) has been the lead deliverer and the scheme is now fully embedded in the school.

At the outset the scheme was purely a School Sport Partnership initiative but two years ago the City Catering Department became involved. Fitzy now has five food friends (representing the five food groups), namely Skippy Pippy, Groovy Granary, Chester Cheese, Sid Scales and Small Fry. The images and slogans e.g. Fitzy is ‘Eat well, move more’ and Skippy Pippy is ‘Eat 5 stay alive’ appear on the new crockery that has been launched in Stoke Schools this year. Whenever a school has a Fitzy launch the children take part in physical activity and healthy eating workshops and by using the same character it provides a more consistent message to the children about healthy lifestyles.

More recently the Leisure Services Department adopted the Fitzy character as their mascot. They will use the Fitzy image to signpost relevant sessions that will suit families with KS1 children within their programming in local leisure facilities. They have also used the Fitzy mascot to promote the Energise Plus Scheme; a promotional scheme to encourage people to use local leisure services.  In addition a project is currently being developed with the Stoke-on-Trent PCT to produce activity bags that will contain some sports equipment, two physical activity cards, a recipe card and information about local amenities. Plus there will be a soft toy fox and a record book for the children to document what they did. The activity bags will be piloted in a number of schools, libraries and children centres. This multi-agency collaboration enables a more coordinated approach, more efficient use of resources and more effective targeting of schools and community areas; and to reiterate, the message about healthy lifestyles is consistent and is being continually reinforced.

An evaluation of the initiative at Alexandra Infants’ School suggests that the brand recognition and brand image for Fitzy is very strong. More importantly the children clearly associate Fitzy with a healthy lifestyle and are very secure in their knowledge about what they have to do in order to be healthy. As an Active Mark school Alexandra Infants offers 2 hours of PE within the curriculum, attendance at after school clubs is extremely high, there are Y2 Fitzy Playground Leaders and the school participates fully in all KS1 events run by the Partnership. Since the launch the children have also consumed more fruit and vegetables at lunch time and have been putting pressure on parents to make sure that they get their five a day.

If you would like to know more about the Fitzy scheme please contact Helen Moors (


Follow Fitzy on Twitter @FitzyFox for lots of ideas to keep fit and healthy

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