New programme inspires future Olympic talent

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THOUSANDS of teenagers and young adults across Northumberland are to benefit from a new sports programme that aims to fulfil the Olympics legacy promise made by Seb Coe in 2005.

Sportivate will give 14 to 25-year-olds the chance to receive six to eight weeks of coaching in a sport of their choice.

Launched by Sport England and Northumberland Sport, the £32million National Lottery-funded project will help those who aren’t currently playing sport in their own time to get out and give it a go.

As part of the Places People Play mass participation legacy programme, Sportivate will see 300,000 teenagers and young adults across England completing sports courses over four years.

Thanks to £158,000 of investment in Northumberland, at least 3,000 people from across the county will be able to take part in activities such as rugby league, triathlon, golf, windsurfing, angling, sailing and swimming.

Doug Lowery, Executive Director for Northumberland Sport, said: “Sportivate will provide high quality, exciting new opportunities to thousands of young people throughout Northumberland demonstrating that sport can offer something for everyone.”

The organisation will work with local providers and sports clubs to help 14 to 25-year-olds in Northumberland to continue playing sport long after they have completed the course.

To help inspire and motivate the participants, a set of Sporting Champions – a team of current and retired elite athletes – will visit sessions to share their experiences and enthusiasm for sport.

As an additional incentive, teenagers and young adults who stick with sport will have the chance to enter a ballot for free London 2012 tickets.

Sport England has hundreds of Olympic and Paralympic tickets available for Sportivate participants via the London 2012 Ticketshare initiative.

In order to be eligible for London 2012 Ticketshare, participants will need to complete the sports course, missing no more than one session, and then continue to participate in sport for at least three months.

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• After 13 years in the role and owing to increasing professional commitments, Steve Cram recently decided to stand down as the Chairman of Northumberland Sport.

Over this period, he has helped the Partnership grow, raised the profile of sport and physical activity in the county and helped to secure increased investment into grassroots sport.

He said: “I’ve really enjoyed my time as Chairman of Northumberland Sport and would like to thank partners for their hard work and commitment to date and wish the new Chairman and all those connected with Northumberland Sport a successful and rewarding period ahead.

“Sport can sometimes be a frustrating environment to operate within, however the passion of those involved is never in question.”

Former international athlete and coach Tony Settle has been appointed the new Chairman.

With a vast amount of experience working in both the public and private sectors, he is no stranger to working with County Sports Partnerships including Northumberland Sport, having previously facilitated stakeholder forums, contributed to business plans and researched workforce needs for all four North East County Sports Partnerships.

Mr Lowery said: “I would like to express my gratitude to Steve for his contribution to the Partnership over the past 13 years. His endeavour and commitment to supporting grassroots sport through Northumberland Sport has been tremendous.

“I would also like to take this opportunity to welcome Tony Settle as the new Chairman.

“He will bring new skills and a fresh perspective to the board. He has a genuine passion for sport at all levels and a firm belief in the need for everyone of all ages to be fit and healthy through exercise.”