Thousands benefit from project to get youngsters active
THOUSANDS of inactive people in Bucks have benefited from a £100,000 programme to encourage youngsters to become involved in sport.
The Sportivate initiative, which was run across the area earlier this year, funded 221 projects.
About 3,000 young people, aged 11 to 25, were involved over a period of six to eight weeks, with the aim of engaging those who do not regularly participate in sport or activity.
The programme is funded by Sport England and run locally by Leap, the Sport and Activity Partnership for Bucks and MK.
One of the most notable projects is being run in Chesham by At the Edge, a community organisation dedicated to promoting and supporting personal development for young people from a variety of racial and social backgrounds.
At the Edge, which is run by volunteers, works closely with Chiltern District Council and Hivings Free Church.
The group applied to Leap for Sportivate funding to run a series of ‘Futnet’ sessions at the playing fields in the centre of the Hivings Park estate.
Futnet, a cross between football and tennis, can be played flexibly with different numbers and a few local boys had expressed interest so the insight indicated that the sessions would be popular.
The funding from Sportivate paid for the coach from local club Pond Park Rangers FC to deliver the sessions, which were immediately a hit.
To date, 52 young people have benefited from taking part in the Futnet sessions.
Coach Jean Black Ngody said: “Football has gone a long way to bringing these young people together.”
David Nash, pastor reverend at Hivings Free Church, said: “Our organisation (At the Edge) has been able to deliver a fantastic project by partnering with Leap to run these Sportivate sessions. The project has made a real and positive difference to the quality of life for individual young people and within the local community as a whole.”
At the Edge chairman Jon Reynolds said the project has helped with local cohesion.
He added: “It helps to create a more integrated and peaceful community.”
Leap’s director Mark Ormerod said: “We are thrilled by the success of this year’s schemes. Sportivate projects offer free and subsidised coaching in a variety of activities to offer young people a taster of just how fun, enjoyable and social being active can be.
“Importantly, it also creates awareness of how imperative regular physical activity is to their future health and wellbeing.”
Sportivate Lead at Leap Jacqueline Galvin said: “Sportivate has proven to have a very positive impact on changing behaviours – 83 per cent of those surveyed at three months were still sustaining their activity and this demonstrates these projects support young people to transition into regular community activity. Helping these young people maintain healthy lifestyles will in time reduce their healthcare costs to the NHS. Increasing physical activity levels have shown to reduce the risk of early death by 20-35 per cent from chronic diseases.”
For more information, visit www.leapwithus.org. uk/sportivate.