Summer of sport entices youngsters into new pastimes
Figures from Sport England reveal the extent to which Britain’s summer of sport has inspired young people to try new activities of their own.
With the Olympic Games due to be held in London in 2012, and a European Championships to keep football on the agenda in the off-season, sports of all kinds are hard to escape in conversation and on the news.
In the past three months, this has led 50,000 people aged between 14 and 25 to take up a new pastime – and it’s not just the obvious options that are finding favour, either.
Richard Lewis, chair of Sport England, says: “From canoeing to handball, tens of thousands of young people have found the sport that makes them tick.”
As part of the organisation’s ongoing Sportivate campaign, over 80,000 young people have now taken up a new activity – a figure intended to build towards the legacy of the Olympic Games for London and the UK as a whole.
The campaign works on a simple premise – young people must sign up to a new sport, and keep taking part for three months.
Once they achieve this, they are rewarded with free tickets to Olympic and Paralympic events.
“This is the Olympic legacy in action, and it’s fantastic to see,” says Mr Lewis.
Over the full four years of the initiative, it is expected that hundreds of thousands of young people will benefit from this particular campaign, and similar efforts that follow it.
Nationwide, 49 county sports partnerships are working with sports clubs and venues to deliver the events needed for young people to take part – including evening football matches, access to rowing facilities, and dance sessions for autistic children, among more than 6,000 projects already embarked upon.
With 80,000 children reached in the first nine months, each receiving between four and six weeks of coaching, positive effects not only include improved fitness, but also reduced antisocial behaviour in some areas covered by the schemes.