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£250,000 sports project hits the road

A series of sports roadshows are to be held across Fenland this summer as part of a concerted bid to get more people involved in all kinds of sport. They mark the start of a pioneering, three-year project that has been made possible by a £250,000 grant awarded to Fenland District Council from Sport England's Community Sport Activation Fund.

Sport England £250K pic

The roadshows will highlight the types of activity that will initially be offered, with a view to gaining more feedback on what sort of things local people would like to see included in a wider sporting programme. Regular taster activities will start shortly afterwards.

To deliver the project the council will be working alongside Sport England, Living Sport Cambridgeshire, Street Games UK and sport governing bodies, including England Athletics, Badminton England and the Cambridgeshire Cricket Board.

The scheme is being set up in response to Fenland having the lowest level of sports participation in Cambridgeshire. The funding will enable the council to offer several different opportunities to take part in sport, based on three themes of Get Active (younger people), Be Active (families and adults), Stay Active (older people).

Activities will be focused on informal, locally based sessions, targeting people currently not involved in sporting activity to make steps to change their lifestyles.

They will provide a wide range of opportunities for people to take part in sports in ways and environments that suit their interests. With a range of partners involved, this is a unique opportunity to grow and develop the community sport offer across the district.
 
The initial activities and the way that they will be delivered have already been shaped by feedback from Fenland people.

An early move will see the development of run routes and regular running groups supported by England Athletics. These will be marked routes enabling members of the community to follow a safe and measured distance, making it easier, fun and a more sociable way to become active.

The project will be monitored and evaluated over the three years, with a view to replicating it in other rural communities in England.

Cllr Michelle Tanfield, Fenland's portfolio holder for leisure and sport development, said "I welcome this support for sport in Fenland - it will be an important step to help increase participation.  Fewer people in Fenland take part in sport than in other areas in Cambridgeshire and this leads to poorer health and a less cohesive community.

"The initiatives that this funding will allow us to implement will certainly increase opportunities for the whole community to take part in sport locally - a great boost for Fenland."

Steve Barclay, MP for North East Cambridgeshire, said: "It's fantastic to have got this money, which gives us the chance to develop some really exciting ad innovative projects for people of all ages in this area.

"It follows a series of meetings that I held in Parliament with the sports minister and Sport England's chief executive.

"Fenland has the highest needs in the county. This grant is the first in what I see as a series of down payments to improve our sports provision after years of under-funding."

Chris Perks, Sport England's director of local relationships, said: "We are really pleased to be working with Fenland District Council and a range of partners to get local residents more active. We want to get more people in England playing sport regularly and know that the rural communities have an important role to play in this.

"By working together and understanding how people in rural communities want to take part in sport, we will not only help the people of Fenland but other rural communities across the country."

Simon Fairhall, Chief Executive of Living Sport, said: 'This is a tremendous outcome for the area and is the result of some really good work done in partnership between Fenland District Council, Living Sport and the National Governing Bodies of Sport, and we look forward to increasing the opportunities for sport in the area with this grant from Sport England."

Designed in response to local demand, the Community Sport Activation Fund allows local authorities, charities and other organisations to apply for funding for innovative projects that will get more people playing sport.
Fenland Council is the latest to benefit from the Fund, with 156 projects having already shared £27.2 million of funding to support grassroots sport activity across the country.

The Community Sport Activation Fund is investing a total of £47.5 million of funding over five funding rounds. Designed in response to local demand, it allows local authorities, charities and other organisations to apply for funding for innovative projects that will get more people playing sport.

Sport England notes

Sport England is focused on helping people and communities across the country create a sporting habit for life. We will invest over £1 billion of National Lottery and Exchequer funding between 2012 and 2017 in organisations and projects that will:
 
• Help more people have a sporting habit for life
• Create more opportunities for young people to play sport
• Nurture and develop talent
• Provide the right facilities in the right places
• Support local authorities and unlock local funding
• Ensure real opportunities for communities.

The National Lottery has been changing lives for 18 years.  Every week National Lottery players raise over £30 million to help change people's lives across the UK.

Article added March 20, 2015