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Sport England cash sought to boost sports participation

Fenland District Council will be submitting a bid to Sport England for up to £250,000 for a pioneering project designed to get more local people playing sport regularly.

Sport

The council has been working with Sport England, sporting governing bodies and Stephen Barclay MP to look at ways of growing participation in sport in the area.
 
Sport England will be presented with a detailed bid from the council for funding to develop a three-year "pathfinder" project in the area. The project will be monitored and managed in such a way that it can be replicated in other rural places across England.
 
The pilot project will bring together Fenland District Council, Sport England, Living Sport, the County Sports Partnership and several sport governing bodies.
 
It is currently at the initial planning stage, with Sport England carrying out more research to find out exactly why people in Fenland are less likely to participate in sport than in other parts of the country.
 
At the moment Fenland has one of the lowest participation rates in sport in England. Approximately 25 per cent of adults in the district take part in sport at least once a week compared to the national figure of approximately 35 per cent.
 
The council will submit its bid within the next couple of months.
 
Cllr Michelle Tanfield, FDC's Cabinet member responsible for leisure and sports development, said: "I have worked very hard with Stephen Barclay on this and I'm thrilled that Sport England want to work with us on this exciting project - it's a big boost for Fenland. We already know that our residents are less active than people elsewhere in the country and this has a damaging impact on health.
 
"Obesity, for example, is a major problem here and something we urgently need to address.  But getting more people to play sport doesn't just help to keep people fit and healthy, it's also an excellent way of bringing communities together."
 
Mike Diaper, Director of Community Sport at Sport England said "We want to see a nationwide step change in the number of people playing sport in England and we recognise that getting more people involved in sport in rural communities has a really important role to play in this.
 
"Sport England is excited to be working with a range of partners to develop the sporting opportunities on offer for local people in Fenland. We want to better understand the lifestyles and factors that affect the choices people in rural communities make regarding their leisure time, health and well-being.
 
"Once we have this insight, we can use it to design and deliver sporting opportunities that will be effective in getting inactive people to try sport, and hopefully start taking part regularly. Following this we will be able to take what we have learned in Fenland and apply it in other rural communities across the country."

Stephen Barclay, MP for North East Cambridgeshire, has had a series of meetings with Sport England to discuss more investment in local sport. He said: "I have been making the case for more sports funding for Fenland for some time and am pleased to see the progress that is being made."