A pioneering project to get more people in Fenland active could be launched if a £250,000 grant is approved.
Fenland District Council will soon be submitting a £250,000 bid to Sport England with the aim to increase sports participation in the area.
At the moment Fenland has one of the lowest participation rates in sport in England. Approximately just 25 per cent of adults in the district take part in sport at least once a week, compared to the national figure of around 35 per cent.
But the proposed three-year project will be researching the reasons why people in the area are less active and how to get them involved in sport.
The council, which will be submitting its detailed bid in the next couple of months, has been working with Sport England, sporting governing bodies and Steve Barclay MP to look at ways of increasing sport participation.
Cllr Michelle Tanfield, cabinet member for leisure and sports development said: “I’m thrilled that Sport England want to work with us on this exciting project – it’s a big boost for Fenland. We already know that our residents are less active than people elsewhere in the country and this has a damaging impact on health.
“Obesity, for example, is a major problem here and something we urgently need to address. But getting more people to play sport doesn’t just help to keep people fit and healthy, it’s also an excellent way of bringing communities together.”
The project will be monitored and managed in such a way that it can be replicated in other rural places across England.
It will also bring together the council, Sport England, Living Sport, the county sports partnership and several sport governing bodies.
Mike Diaper, director of community sport at Sport England, said the project was exciting.
He said: “We want to better understand the lifestyles and factors that affect the choices people in rural communities make regarding their leisure time, health and well-being.
“Once we have this insight, we can use it to design and deliver sporting opportunities that will be effective in getting inactive people to try sport, and hopefully start taking part regularly.
“Following this we will be able to take what we have learned in Fenland and apply it in other rural communities across the country.”
Steve Barclay, MP for North East Cambridgeshire, has had a series of meetings with Sport England to discuss more investment in local sport.
He said: “I have been making the case for more sports funding for Fenland for some time and am pleased to see the progress that is being made.”
n On Friday, there were two special visitors at the George Campbell Leisure Centre in March, which is currently receiving an £850,000 make-over.
The late Mr Campbell’s children, Anne Gunn and David Campbell, were given a tour of the site by Cllr Tanfield.