Participation in Sport is Truly Unlimited in the West of England.
Over the past 3 years over 17,000 young people between the ages of 5 and 19 have completed 10-week sport and physical activity programmes delivered by the members and partners of the West of England Sport Trust (Wesport), a charity working to increase, promote, support and celebrate lifelong participation in sport and physical activity.
The national Sport Unlimited programme, funded by Sport England, aimed to attract semi-sporty children and young people into sport through 10-week introductory sessions. Wesport coordinated the efforts in the West of England and was targeted to retain 15,000 young people in these 10-week sessions over the 3 years of the programme.
Local delivery was implemented through a variety of partners, including the four local authorities, National Governing Bodies of Sport, educational establishments, youth organisations and private providers. These partners were responsible for coordinating a large amount of delivery throughout the three years, with some really innovative projects taking place and providing useful networking opportunities along the way.
One project saw the North Somerset Sport & Active Lifestyle Team partner with the Supportive Parents Group, to deliver a climbing and trampolining project. The activity involved boys diagnosed with Autistic Spectrum Disorder and also included those with asthma and gastro-intestinal issues, including food allergies.
The project was a great success, highlighted by one of the parent’s comments:
“My son set out to climb all four sections of the climbing wall. He managed to climb the fourth part of the wall on the last session. This has given him a real sense of achievement and boosted his confidence. I have also learnt something about my son, over the last few weeks watching him at times struggling to get to the top of the wall. He has shown strength of mind and determination to complete everything he wanted to do.”
In another project, Dance & Cheer 49 delivered a number of cheerleading sessions across Bristol. A teacher from one of the schools in Bristol said:
“The children who have taken part in the cheerleading sessions have really enjoyed them. The coaches from Dance & Cheer 49 have been fantastic, very inclusive with exciting sessions that have been very popular. The Sport Unlimited sessions have targeted a key group of key stage 2 girls who were not previously engaged in any extra sport outside of the curriculum.”
The national results from the Sport Unlimited programme will be announced in the near future, but it is safe to say that Wesport having hit 113% of its target, has made a great contribution to the national target of 900,000 young people and more importantly introduced a significant number of young people to local sport and physical activity opportunities.
Wesport will now take all its learning from Sport Unlimited to deliver the new Sportivate programme again funded by Sport England and aimed at encouraging more 14-25 year olds to take part in a sport of their choice.
Notes to Editors
- The Sport Unlimited programme funded by Sport England aimed to ensure up to 900,000 children and young people in the 5 to 19 age range from the ‘semi sporty’ population segment took up an additional 2 hours of high quality sports activities through attractive provision designed to stimulate and increase take up and sustain participation
- The West of England Sport Trust Wesport is a Company Limited by Guarantee and registered charity (No: 1114495) and is based at the University of the West of England, Coldharbour Lane, Bristol BS16 1QY
- Sportivate is a nationwide campaign that will capture the excitement of the London 2012 Games by providing opportunities for teenagers and young adults (aged 14-25) to receive coaching in a sport of their choice and guide them into regular participation within their community. Sport England will invest £32 million of National Lottery funding into the programme, which aims to involve 300,000 participants in weekly coaching sessions, with 120,000 of those continuing to play sport regularly.
- For further details on Sport Unlimited and Sportivate go to the Wesport website at www.wesport.org.uk/wesportprogrammes