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Project helps thousands get active in Fenland

Fenland District Council is looking for further funding to continue running a pioneering project which has helped thousands of people to lead more active lifestyles.

Active Fenland celebration

The Council is bidding for funding from various bodies to help deliver the next phase of Active Fenland, which launched in June 2015 with a three-year £250,000 grant from Sport England's Community Sport Activation Fund.

The news comes as an annual celebration event highlighted what Active Fenland has achieved so far, and marked the launch of a new county-wide project, Let's Get Moving.

A two-year project, Let's Get Moving is a collaborative initiative between all Cambridgeshire local authorities funded by an £83,000 grant from Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council Public Health.

In Fenland, it will work alongside Active Fenland and build on its success, aiming to get even more inactive people into some form of physical activity.

More than 60 people involved with Active Fenland, including coaches, project activators, community groups and participants, attended the celebration event, which was held at the New Vision Fitness Centre in March on Friday, January 12.

Almost 5,900 people have joined its activities in the last two-and-a-half years, from walking football, netball and 'swimfit' sessions to badminton, gymnastics and beginners running.

More than 7,800 sessions have also been held across the district, attracting a staggering 87,422 visits (to November 2017).

The project has not only encouraged currently inactive people to engage in physical exercise, but participants have gone on to create healthy habits for life and made new friends - boosting people's confidence and helping tackle social isolation.

Fenland MP, and newly-appointed Minister of State at the Department of Health and Social Care, Stephen Barclay, played a key role in securing the 2015 Sport England funding for Active Fenland.

Speaking at the event, he said Active Fenland was "at the heart" of what the Government wants to achieve in terms of engaging hard to reach groups into sport and physical activity.

"The Government wants to target those who don't usually get involved in sport and are out of the habit of keeping active, which is the very essence of what Active Fenland is doing," he said. "There is a huge appetite in Fenland for more sport and more activity and thanks to the work that people here today have put in we are in a very strong position for further funding."

Councillor Michelle Tanfield, the council's Cabinet member responsible for sport and leisure, said:"Sports development is making an incredible journey in Fenland, empowering local communities to lead more physically active, healthier lifestyles with projects that are being led by and shaped by local insight.

"As a result we see how communities come together, in both work and play, and socialise as one. It is no longer about playing sport for sports sake, but using the value of sport to achieve so much more. I have no doubt that these projects and the new ones to follow will be successful, benefit many individuals and be sustainable for many years to come."

Marie Hartley, Local Government Relationship Manager for Sport England, said: "Active Fenland is about tacking inactivity and representing those under-represented, hard to reach groups. It recognises the importance of physical activity, the positive influence it can have on people's lives and the power it has to bring communities together."

More sports have been added to the Active Fenland programme recently, including yoga and mindfulness sessions and buggy running for mums and dads, to name just two. For more information visit: www.activefenland.gov.uk

  •   If you are interested in joining any Active Fenland sessions, you can follow Active Fenland on Facebook or email the sports development team on: sportsdevelopment@fenland.gov.uk

Article added: January 16, 2018