A St Helens sports project has been named the best in North West for its inspiring work with young people. Complete Netball St Helens, developed by St.Helens Council Sports Development and Complete Netball Solutions, was given the top honour by Sportivate, a Sport England programme which encourages young people to get more active.
Complete Netball St Helens is one of many Sportivate funded projects around England which give young people who weren’t playing sport previously the chance to discover a new activity by offering them six to eight weeks of intensive coaching. Once the coaching sessions are completed, the participants are matched up with a local club or venue where they can continue to play.
More than 80 young women have attended each of the weekly sessions in area and 54 are still regularly playing the sport.
Gemma Webster, Sports Development Officer and Sportivate Lead said: "Sports Development have been working closely with Yvonne Sampson and Complete Netball Solutions to develop netball in St.Helens and increase the number of local females who are physically active. 68% of females aged 16 plus in St Helens are still not taking part once a week in physical activity and with rising obesity problems and related health issues, it is an area we are working hard to address. The netball clubs and local league we developed from the Sportivate project have greatly increased the opportunities women have to get active in a fun and social way, with over 130 women now playing netball every Monday evening!"
Sport England’s Director for Community Sport, Mike Diaper, said: “Through Sportivate programmes, young people are given the right support and know–how they need to give them the confidence to play sport in their own time. The Sportivate Awards celebrate the great work of local projects in helping youngsters make the transition from the sporting side-lines to being active.”
St Helens Council’s Cabinet Member for Public Health and Wellbeing, Councillor Jeanie Bell said: “We’re delighted that this St Helens project has gained this well-deserved recognition. Getting young people active sets up positive habits for life, so this project represents an incredibly valuable contribution to improving the lives of the people of St Helens through sport and physical activity.”
Since its launch, more than 660,000 young people have attended Sportivate sessions, with over 550,000 completing their coaching sessions. Sportivate is being delivered by the network of 45 county sports partnerships, working with local clubs and providers. It is a £56 million National Lottery funded Olympic legacy programme and will benefit hundreds of thousands of young people until 2017.