Let’s get this £250k Fenland show on the road

MP Steve Barclay with the �250,000 Sport England cheque for Fenland.
MP Steve Barclay with the �250,000 Sport England cheque for Fenland.

A £250,000 sports project to get more people active is ready to hit the track running with a series of roadshows this summer.

Sport England has funded Fenland District Council’s pioneering, three-year scheme after the district was revealed as having the lowest participation in any sport or fitness in the whole of Cambridgeshire.

The authority received the grant from the sports body’s Community Sport Activation Fund and will enable it to offer various opportunities to take part in sport, based on three themes – Get Active for younger people, Be Active for families and adults, and Stay Active for older people.

This summer’s roadshows will mark the start of the project and highlight the types of activity that will initially be offered. Organisers are then hoping to use feedback gained at the events to find out more about the things people want to see included in a wider sporting programme.

Regular taster activities will start shortly afterwards.

Activities will be focused on informal, locally-based sessions, targeting people currently not involved in sporting activity to make steps to change their lifestyles.

An early move will see the development of run routes and regular running groups supported by England Athletics. These will be marked routes enabling people to follow a safe and measured distance, with the aim of making it easier, fun and a more sociable way to become active.

To deliver the project the council will be working alongside Sport England, Living Sport Cambridgeshire, Street Games UK and sport governing bodies, including England Athletics, Badminton England and the Cambridgeshire Cricket Board.

Councillor Michelle Tanfield, Fenland’s portfolio holder for leisure and sport development, said: “I welcome this support for sport in Fenland – it will be an important step to help increase participation. Fewer people in Fenland take part in sport than in other areas in Cambridgeshire and this leads to poorer health and a less cohesive community.

“The initiatives this funding will allow us to implement will increase opportunities for the whole community to take part in sport locally – a great boost for Fenland.”

Steve Barclay, MP for North East Cambridgeshire, said the funding will give Fenland the chance to develop some “exciting and innovative” projects for people of all ages.

The grant also follows meetings Mr Barclay has held in Parliament with the sports minister and Sport England’s chief executive.

He added: “Fenland has the highest needs in the county. This grant is the first in what I see as a series of down-payments to improve our sports provision after years of under-funding.”