More than 250,000 young people benefit from Olympic legacy programme
A year on from winning two Olympic gold medals at London 2012, cyclist Jason Kenny celebrated a legacy programme that's helped more than a quarter of a million young people to get involved in sport.
New figures published by Sport England show 256,297 teenagers and young adults nationally have so far benefitted from free or discounted six-to-eight week courses in 70 different sports through Sportivate. Of these, almost 215,000 have successfully completed their coaching course, missing no more than one session.
In Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, around 7,000 young people have taken part in Sportivate activities since the start of the programme with 6,000 attending regularly and missing no more than one session.
Backed by National Lottery funding, Sportivate aims to give young people who currently aren't playing sport in their own time the chance to find a sport they like. The young people are then helped to find a club or other venue where they can keep taking part.
Jason Kenny only got into cycling by chance when his uncle booked a velodrome for a cycling event and ended up with a couple of spare spaces which gave Jason and his brother the chance to give it a go.
Jason said: "I stumbled into cycling and fell in love with the sport instantly. Not everybody has had the opportunities that I have had but this is what is so great about Sportivate. It offers young people the chance to try new sports with the help of fantastic coaches. I would encourage all young people to get out there and find a sport they enjoy."
Sports Minister Hugh Robertson said: "Sportivate is encouraging hundreds of thousands of young people who were inspired by the London 2012 Games, to take up sport, enjoy it and keep playing it. Sport has an incredible power to bring young people together and improve their lives and I hope Sportivate continues to go from strength to strength."
Over 900 young people from across the county were involved in a recent IM Basketball programme funded through Sportivate and run by Solent Kestrels Basketball Club. IM Basketball was launched by England Basketball to offer a different experience of the sport through playing fun, 3 v 3 games set to music. This social, informal format has really taken off and many of the young people have gone on to take part in recreational summer 3 v 3 leagues and to join local satellite clubs that have been set up.
Research nationally shows that eight out of 10 of the young people are sticking with sport three months after they've completed their Sportivate course.
Sport England's Director of Community Sport, Mike Diaper, said: "The key to Sportivate's success has been listening to what young people want from sport locally and then offering a great sporting experience at times and places that fit with their lives."
Sportivate is being delivered by the network of 49 county sports partnerships, working with local clubs and providers.
To find out about Sportivate activities in your area email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.sporthampshireiow.co.uk/play-sport/have-a-go.htm
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