THOUSANDS of young people on Wearside are to benefit from a sports programme as part of Britain’s Olympic legacy, it was announced today.
Sportivate, from Tyne and Wear Sport and Sport England, will give 14 to 25-year-olds the chance to take part in six to eight weeks of sports coaching.
The £32million National Lottery-funded project hopes to encourage those who don’t play any sport to do so and give at least one activity a try.
More than 7,000 people in the North East will benefit from £650,000 of the grant by doing courses in athletics, dance and swimming, among others.
David Marrin, assistant director at Tyne and Wear Sport, said: “The Sportivate programme will provide the opportunity for thousands of teenagers and young adults to take part in a range of sports and physical activities across Tyne and Wear.
“It is hoped that many of those that participate in the programme will go on to join local sports clubs, and increase their activity levels in their own time, as that is in essence of what the programme is all about.”
Sports Minister Hugh Robertson said: “This £32million 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.”
Tyne and Wear Sport will work with sports clubs to help those who take part continue with sport once they have finished courses.
A team of current and retired elite athletes – Sporting Champions – will visit Sportivate sessions to share their experiences.
Commonwealth Games gold medallist gymnast Craig Heap said: “Sportivate is a great way to get teenagers and young adults more involved in sport.
“Once they leave school, college or university, their levels of activity often reduce, so hopefully this programme will give young people in Tyne and Wear a way to get back to playing a sport they love or maybe even try a new one.”
And those who stick with sport can get their hands on hundreds of Olympic and Paralympic tickets. To be eligible for London 2012 Ticketshare, participants will need to complete the course, missing no more than one session, and continue to take part in sport for at least three months.
More details on the scheme will be revealed next month.