Coaching boost for young Dales stars

teenAgers and young adults across the Dales are to benefit from a new sports programme that aims to fulfil the legacy promise made by Seb Coe in Singapore in 2005 to ‘inspire young people to choose sport’.

Sportivate will give 14 to 25-year-olds the chance to receive six to eight weeks of coaching in a sport of their choice. Launched by Sport England and Derbyshire Sport, the £32 million National Lottery-funded project will help those who aren’t currently playing sport in their own time to get out and give sport a go.

As part of the Places People Play mass participation legacy programme, Sportivate will see 300,000 teenagers and young adults across England completing sports courses over four years.

Thanks to £565,640 of Lottery investment in Derbyshire, at least 5,303 local people will be able to take part in activities such as judo, boxing, gymnastics, boccia, Zumba and other fitness-based sessions.

Dozens of clubs, leisure centres, school sport partnerships, schools and colleges across the county will run introductory sports sessions as part of Sportivate.

Sport England’s chief executive, Jennie Price, said: “Lots of young people think sport isn’t for them. I would like them to have the chance to discover whether there is a sport they really enjoy, so this programme is all about choice.

“Everyone who takes part will receive high quality coaching – giving them the confidence and skills which will make them want to keep playing in the future.”

Cllr Carol Hart, chair of Derbyshire Sport, said: “The Sportivate sessions will be a chance for teenagers and young adults who are looking forward to London 2012 to try a new sport, and hopefully help them find a new interest or passion.

“Here in Derbyshire we are working hard to ensure that a lasting legacy is created in the county from the Games, and thousands of new young people playing sport through Sportivate will be a fantastic part of that.”

The announcement has been welcomed by the Minister for Sport and the Olympics, Hugh Robertson MP, and Commonwealth Games medalist, Zoë Smith.

Hugh Robertson said: “This £32 million Lottery programme launched by Sport England will give hundreds of thousands of teenagers and young adults across the country the opportunity to try out and get coached in the sport of their choice. I’m sure these same young people will also be inspired when the world’s greatest athletes compete here at next summer’s Olympic and Paralympic Games and will then want to stay involved in sport for many years to come.”

Zoë Smith became the youngest ever weightlifting Commonwealth medalist when she won bronze at the 2010 Delhi Games at the age of 16.

Zoë, who now has her sights set on competing at London 2012, said: “Getting the chance to get out and try a new sport is fantastic. I didn’t take up my sport until I was 12, so it just shows if you’re up for some fun and trying something new, you can find a sport you really want to stick with.”

Derbyshire Sport will work with local providers and sports clubs to help 14 to 25-year-olds in Derbyshire to continue playing sport long after they have completed the course.

As an additional incentive, teenagers and young adults who stick with sport will have the chance to enter a ballot for free London 2012 tickets. Sport England has hundreds of Olympic and Paralympic tickets available for Sportivate participants via the London 2012 Ticketshare initiative.

In order to be eligible for London 2012 Ticketshare, participants will need to complete the sports course, missing no more than one session, and then continue to participate in sport for at least three months.

Sportivate is an inclusive programme that will create opportunities for disabled and non-disabled participants.