The Chairman of Sport England has donated more than £150,000 to help increase sport participation in the local area.
The £152,697 of funding was awarded to ELDC from Sport England’s Community Sport Activation Fund, with the Council directly contributing £45,000 towards the project’s total cost of £197,697.
The money will be used to fund two Sports Activators who will work in the community over the next three years. They will primarily work with 14-25 year olds to prevent obesity, and will also encourage participation in sport amongst the over-55s to help prevent ill-health in later life.
Mr Bitel told the Leader: “The local authority really does see and understand the value of sport to their community, and they know what a difference it makes to people’s lives.
“They brought to us a really good project, and we wanted to support them.
“Normally we require a lot of partnership funding, but this time we actually waived that. That’s an indication of the strength of the difference we think these projects can make in this area.”
Mr Bitel said that it was “absolutely vital” to increase participation in sports amongst the 14-25 year old age group, adding: “What Sport England is trying to do is to give people a habit of sport for a lifetime, and if you’re going to do that you’ve got to get people whilst they are young.
“Too many people are put off sport because of the experience they have at a young age, at school or in their local clubs. If we can change that perception at the age of 14, going on, then we can make that difference.
“When people leave full-time education, most sports see a massive fall in demand. If we can shift that then that will give them a longer period within the sport, and if they don’t give it up at 18 and continue it until they’re 25 then all our statistics show they’re more likely to go on to do it for the rest of their lives.”
Portfolio Holder with responsibility for Sports, Councillor Adam Grist, said: “It is fantastic news that this funding is coming to East Lindsey. Exercise is an important part of a health life and I’m delighted we’ve been able to achieve this funding to deliver an exciting three year programme that aims to encourage greater participation in sport.
“With facilities such as the state-of the-art Meridian Leisure Centre, and the International cricket venue at London Road in Louth, the District is fast becoming a place for sporting excellence.”
Mike Diaper, Sport England’s Director of Community Sport, added: “It’s great to be working with innovative projects like these in East Lindsey to offer people the chance to get into sport in a way that best suits them.
“The investment being made through the Community Sport Activation Fund is making a real difference at a very local level. I’m particularly pleased that more than half the funding is going into projects in deprived areas, helping more people develop a lifelong sporting habit.”
The Disability Sports Taster Day on June 5 was also awarded £3,154 of funding from the District Council’s Community Grants scheme.