Sunderland athlete Charlie gets recognition for hard work

Judith Rasmussen, Sport England (North East and Yorkshire) Strategic Lead Local Relationships, presents Charlie McLelland with his award.

Judith Rasmussen, Sport England (North East and Yorkshire) Strategic Lead Local Relationships, presents Charlie McLelland with his award.

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A young golfer has received an award for his commitment to getting involved in sport.

Charlie McLelland, 13, has been named as the North East’s Sportivate Participant of the Year in recognition of his outstanding commitment to sport.

Sportivate, a Sport England funded programme, encourages young people to get active.

Having played very little sport before, Charlie completed introductory coaching sessions in golf through the Sportivate programme.

The sessions were organised by Sunderland City Council and Charlie took to the game straight away.

He is now a junior member at George Washington Golf Club and is set to take part in a junior tournament later this year.

He said: “I’d never had an interest in sport until I tried golf thanks to Sportivate.

“I’ve really enjoyed the sessions and they have inspired me to carry on playing more golf at my local club.

“I’m really honoured to have been named North East Participant of the Year and my next ambition is to play in a tournament.”

Sportivate gives 11 to 25-year-olds who are not participating in sport in their own time access to six-to-eight weeks free or subsidised coaching.

Once the sessions are completed, the participants are matched up with a local club or venue where they can continue to play.

David Marrin, assistant director at Tyne & Wear Sport said: “It is great that Charlie has been recognised for his achievement.

“Thousands of young people have already taken part in a wide range of sport sessions across Tyne & Wear and many of them have gone on to join local sports clubs.”

“I hope people will continue to look out for Sportivate activities taking place near them.”

Director of Community Sport at Sport England, Mike Diaper, said: “Congratulations to Charlie on this deserving win. Sportivate is all about encouraging and supporting young people who may have thought sport wasn’t for them.

“It takes real determination and courage to try something new and Charlie can be very proud that his hard work has paid off.”

Charlie is one of over 780,000 young people who have attended Sportivate sessions across the country with more than 650,000 completing their coaching sessions.

Sportivate is being delivered by the network of 44 county sports partnerships, working with local clubs and providers.

“It is a National Lottery funded Olympic legacy programme which benefits hundreds of thousands of young people.