Youngsters being inspired into sport

MORE than 1,200 young people in Derbyshire have been inspired to do sport in their own time in the first six months of Sport England’s Sportivate Olympic and Paralympic legacy initiative.

James Bridges, 23, from Lower Kilburn, is one of the teenagers and young adults who has received six to eight weeks of coaching in a sport of their choice.

He attends Sportivate sessions at William Gregg VC Leisure Centre in Heanor, where disability sports such as Boccia, new age curling and table top games are on offer, led by young Sports Leaders from Heanor Gate Science College.

James said: “I like playing cricket, rounders, football and basketball. It keeps me fit and it’s fun.”

Responding to the legacy pledge made by Seb Coe in Singapore in 2005, Sportivate is aimed at 14- to 25-year-olds who currently aren’t playing sport in their own time, giving them the chance to find a sport they enjoy. The young people are then helped to find a club or venue where they can keep taking part.

James attends the Sportivate sessions through NORSACA Adult and Young People’s Services, which is among the various centres in the Amber Valley area which attend. NORSACA is a charity that enables people with autism to live their lives with dignity, choice and independence.

A day support worker from NORSACA said: “The Sportivate session provides an opportunity for the young people to integrate with other young people who all have different abilities. There are many sports on offer under one roof, providing lots of opportunities for the young people to take part in new and different activities.”

Derbyshire Sport is managing Sportivate in Derbyshire. Other Sportivate sessions in Derbyshire include Sportivate StreetGames in Matlock. Sessions are delivered by Derbyshire Dales District Council coaches in partnership with the Derbyshire Dales CVS, with activities such as football, martial arts and dance on offer. Since April 2011 more than 700 attendances have been recorded, and a number of young volunteers have been trained to help to deliver the sports sessions to help make them more sustainable.

In Bolsover, October 2011 was designated Sportivate Martial Arts Month, and saw almost 2,000 pupils from the district’s five secondary schools receive coaching from four of the district’s leading Martial Arts clubs, The British Kickboxing and Karate Association, The Kickboxing Academy, Shirebrook Judo Club and New Spirit Martial Arts Club. The funding allowed the clubs to deliver taster sessions at the schools, establish new club sessions and to offer students aged between 14 and 16 incentives to continue their martial arts experience.

Coun Carol Hart, Chair of Derbyshire Sport, said: “In Derbyshire, we are passionate about creating a legacy from the 2012 Games, and Sportivate is one of the many ways that this is being achieved.

“Sportivate sessions are being run by a variety of partners including local authorities, sports clubs, disability sport networks, schools and colleges, with a range of sports on offer to ensure that there is something for everyone.”