Thousands to get involved in local sporting activities

15 November 2013 Government

Four areas has been successfully awarded funding to help get thousands of people involved in sport, exercise and activity classes as part of the Government’s push to break down barriers and get people from all different backgrounds involved in shared activities.

The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG), working in partnership with  Sport England, chose Manchester, Kirklees, Luton and Greenwich to share £364,000 over two years to get over 20,000 people to participate in sport and exercise. 

“Sport offers so many fantastic opportunities, whether it be taking part or helping out,” said Jennie Price, Sport England Chief Executive. “We are very pleased to be working in partnership with DCLG to invest in these innovative sports projects, giving people a chance to get into sport in the way that suits them best.”

This is one of a number of projects DLCG is funding through its integration work to bring people from different backgrounds together and help build stronger communities. 

“Sport is an excellent way of breaking down barriers and getting people involved in activities – you only need to look at football teams, whether they are the England national side or in a Sunday pub league, to see the mixture of people of different backgrounds that are brought together by sport,” said Minister for Communities Stephen Williams.

In Manchester, the Wythenshawe Forum Trust will encourage community participation in activities starting in January 2014 and leading to a seven day festival finale event at Manchester’s former Commonwealth Games venues in July.

“We are delighted our bid has been successful and our vision for a Manchester Community Games is one step nearer to becoming a reality,” said Eddie Flanagan, Wythenshawe Forum Trust Chief Executive. “With the support we will be able to build upon the success of the Wythenshawe Games in developing similar area based activities and events across the City, culminating in a showpiece finale at the Etihad Campus. This will mean that Manchester's communities will find it easier to get involved sport at their local facilities helping them to lead more active and healthier lifestyles.”

Activities will run for 24 weeks in Wythenshawe, East and North Manchester, and will include a range of sports from running, basketball, boxing, cricket, dance, disability sport, and lacrosse. A volunteer development programme will recruit, train and deploy 600 games activators to support both the finale event and activity programmes.

Active and Connected Communities in North Kirkleeswill put on multi-sport taster opportunities at public events and open days in Dewsbury. 

“We are delighted to have received the news that the ambitious ‘Active and Connected Communities in North Kirklees’ project is to be supported,” said Kirklees Active Leisure Chief Executive, Alasdair Brown. “The strength of the partnerships formed to develop the bid bodes well and will enable a strong sport and physical activity offer to be presented within the Dewsbury area. Working closely with Kirklees Council and a number of highly motivated sports clubs and community organisations we will undertake some really innovative work to really make a difference in terms of breaking down barriers and improve integration using sport and physical activity.”

Meanwhile in Luton, Active Luton will provide sporting activities for people aged 14 to 19 years to improve community integration within three specific areas of Luton: Marsh Farm, Lewsey Farm and Farley Hill, where crime and anti-social behaviour is a major concern.  Through strengthening the disparate groups within the ‘silent majority’ the community will come together on a stronger footing.  The project will then bring the three communities together for sport, engagement and education projects.

Helen Barnett, Chief Executive of Active Luton, said: “We are absolutely delighted to receive funding for this exciting new project which is going to change the lives of a number of disadvantaged young people in the community. By positively engaging with young people through sport and education, we will not only boost their health and self-esteem, we are confident it will also help them to avoid common paths into offending and antisocial behaviour.

“Just as importantly, the project has wider community benefits such as making people feel safer and improving cohesion by bringing different communities together. There will also be a crucial volunteering aspect to the programme so people can gain vital work skills and experience.” 

In Greenwich, Charlton Athletic Community Trust will work with a range of local sports clubs, voluntary sector organisations, Greenwich Leisure Limited and Charlton Athletic Race & Equality (CARE) Partnership to run a multi-sport programme that builds on the Royal Borough of Greenwich’s Olympic Legacy, and links to future major sporting events, including the Tall Ships race in 2014, and the Rugby World Cup in 2015.

The principle of unity will run throughout the entire project, providing opportunities for people from different backgrounds to interact with other communities. A period of targeted community engagement will be undertaken at the outset.

Dr Michael Seeraj, Head of Equality and Diversity, Charlton Athletic Community Trust said: “We are delighted to have been successful, and look forward to working closely with our partners to deliver this exciting and innovative new project.”

The target population is Woolwich, incorporating four wards with significant levels of multiple deprivation and social exclusion.

The money announced today is in addition to the funding already being invested by DCMS through Sport England for community sport.