A year on from winning two Olympic gold medals at London 2012, cyclist Jason Kenny joined in with the celebrations for a legacy programme that’s helped more than a quarter of a million young people to get involved in sport.
New figures published by Sport England show 5,576 teenagers and young adults in Hertfordshire have so far benefitted from free or discounted six-to-eight week courses in 70 different sports through Sportivate.
Of these, 4,502 have successfully completed their coaching course, missing no more than one session.
Backed by National Lottery funding, Sportivate aims to give young people who currently aren’t playing sport in their own time the chance to find a sport they like.
The young people are then helped to find a club or other venue where they can keep taking part.
Kenny only got into cycling by chance when his uncle booked a velodrome for a cycling event and ended up with a couple of spare spaces which gave Jason and his brother the chance to give it a go.
He said: “I stumbled into cycling and fell in love with the sport instantly. Not everybody has had the opportunities that I have had but this is what is so great about Sportivate.
“It offers young people the chance to try new sports with the help of fantastic coaches. I would encourage all young people to get out there and find a sport they enjoy.”
Teenager Liam Bishop is one of the many young people who have become hooked on sport after trying out Basketball through Sportivate.
He says the confidence he has gained through playing for the first time has really changed his attitude to life.
“It’s something I’ve always wanted to try but never thought I would be any good at a team sport,” said Liam.
“The fact that I can continue playing at college is giving me the motivation to look for a local team and perhaps one day, coach.”
Lead for Sportivate at the Herts Sports Partnership, Shelley Woods, said: “The positive relationships we have with our sports development officers, clubs and schools across the county have enabled us to deliver a host of innovative and experimental projects.
“From badminton for hearing impaired students to a series of cheerleading sessions with a festival grand finale, young people across Hertfordshire have enthusiastically embraced the opportunities Sportivate provides.”
For more information about Sportivate, visit the Herts Sports Partnership website www.sportinherts.org.uk/sportivate or contact Shelley on 01707 281005 or at firstname.lastname@example.org