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May 30, 2012
An Olympic legacy project in Cumbria has been honoured as the best in the North West after inspiring scores of young people to get into sport and physical activity.
CanDance has created six new inclusive youth dance groups, one in each of Cumbria's districts, as part of Sport England's Sportivate Olympic and Paralympic legacy initiative. Sportivate gives 14- to 25-year-olds who weren't active in their own time, the chance to find a sport they enjoy.
The award was handed over by Paralympic basketballer, Dan Highcock, who is one of a team of Sporting Champions who've been visiting Sportivate sessions to share their experiences and enthusiasm for sport. Dan will be competing for TeamGB at the London 2012 Paralympics.
Dan said: "Discovering sport as a teenager totally transformed my life, so it's fantastic to see how CanDance is changing the lives of young people in Cumbria. It's hard to believe I'm going to be competing in a home Paralympics in just a few months and I hope our performance at London 2012 can inspire even more young people to get into sport."
As well as being named the best Sportivate project in the North West, CanDance is also down to the last three in the race to be the overall national winner, with the project leaders being invited down to London where the Sport and Olympics Minister, Hugh Robertson, will name the winning project.
Sport England today revealed that 11,644 young people in the North West have benefited from Sportivate projects - almost 8,000 of them in the past three months alone as Olympic excitement takes hold in the region. In Cumbria over one thousand youngsters have completed a six-week Sportivate course.
CanDance was created after a consultation revealed a lack of inclusive dance opportunities in Cumbria for young people with learning disabilities such as autism.
Lynn Fade, Project Organiser said: "We wanted to make dance available to young people who face the most barriers to participation. Dance is the perfect activity because it's non-competitive, sociable, and other people can see the result of your efforts. Everyone involved in the CanDance project has really worked hard and enjoyed themselves."
Active Cumbria has already attracted a total of 1,306 participants into 6-8 weeks of coaching led sporting activities. Of these participants, 1,129 went on to attend 60% or more of the available sessions.
Active Cumbria's Partnership Manager, Bruce Lawson, said: "We're delighted with these results for the county. Our delivery partners have done a fantastic job at providing a wide variety of high quality coaching activities for so many participants."
Sport England's Executive Director for Community Sport, Mike Diaper, said: "It's fantastic that so many teenagers and young adults are getting into sport through Sportivate.
"Whether it's BMX biking, canoeing or netball, I've been really struck by the enthusiasm of the young people on Sportivate sessions and impressed that so many of them are continuing to play once the course is over."
Sportivate is being delivered by the network of 49 county sports partnerships with Active Cumbria, The Sport and Physical Activity Partnership leading the programme in Cumbria, working with local clubs and providers. It is part of the Places People Play official Olympic legacy programme and will benefit hundreds of thousands of young people over four years.
Sportivate is being delivered by the network of 49 county sports partnerships with Active Cumbria, The Sport and Physical Activity Partnership leading the programme in Cumbria.