Teignbridge District Council has been making sure memory of London 2012 lives on by helping a Stokeinteignhead fencing club grow and thrive.
The success of the village project is one of a number happening around the district as the unforgettable summer of sport continues to motivate people into taking up a range of new activities.
The council’s Active Villages team helped set up the club, backed by funds by council chairman Cllr Chris Clarance – who recently decided to give the sport a go himself.
Devon Active Villages is a countywide programme co-ordinated by Active Devon and delivered across Teignbridge by Teignbridge District Council’s Green Spaces and Active Leisure Department.
It is aimed at supporting Teignbridge’s rural communities by developing long-term sports and physical activity opportunities which help people of all ages to experience the fun of sport and build a life-long love of being active and healthy.
In August 2012 Teignbridge’s Active Villages Co-ordinator Ben Ayres was approached by Ute Scholl from Stokeinteignhead who wanted to set up a community fencing group based on a surge of interest in the sport on the back of the Olympics.
Ute, a Level 2 qualified fencing coach, said Stokeinteignhead Primary School and local people had spoken to her about trying to make it happen but one of the major obstacles was getting the £1,800 funding for equipment and hall use.
The Active Villages programme put in some funding and Teignbridge District Council Chairman Cllr Chris Clarance put in £1,000 using his District Council and County Council Community Funds.
He was invited along to take part in a session.
Cllr Clarance said: “I am pleased to support any form of sport in rural villages and it was good to be able to provide some money through my councillors’ community allowance to achieve just this.
“You certainly need all the right equipment for a sport like this and it was fun having a go too.
“Teignbridge’s Active Villages have a big role to play in providing sports and activities in rural areas. It will be interesting to see whether a young Olympic hopeful materialises – hopefully now that the right training and gear is in place we won’t have to wait long!”
Ben Ayres said: “It’s great to see the Olympic legacy living on in Teignbridge. It was a fantastic summer of sport which started with the Olympic Torch Relay coming through the district. Who could forget the sight of Teignmouth rock band Muse running across Shaldon Bridge bearing the Flame?
“Without the help from the Active Leisure department in finding and securing the funding for the community of Stokeinteignhead these sessions would never have got off the ground and the Olympic legacy would not have continued in the village.
“This programme has been really successful so far. We have got lots of communities on board and many people are getting involved in new sports all the time which helps improve health and fitness and provides people with opportunities to get involved with a new activity in their community.”
Ute Scholl said: “I would like to extend my thanks to Active Villages and Cllr Clarence for the support to bring fencing as an activity to Stokeinteignhead.
“I am enjoying working with a rural community and being able to offer a free beginners course to the villagers and students at the Primary School. For a lot of people starting to fence would be a considerable financial burden because of the cost of the equipment.
“All the equipment for the workshop could be provided for free and will be available for further use by the participants. The sessions were fully subscribed and have enriched the opportunities available to the village and the local primary school.
The participants have made excellent progress over the first two weeks and sessions will continue for the rest of the year. The overall has been that the sessions are fun, challenging and that it is great to be able to try something different.”
The Active Villages programme has an offer for people of all ages from primary school children to adults. It is built around:
- Specialist support to help communities identify those opportunities they would like and would be most appropriate.
- Initial funding support to help in the establishment of activities (eg towards equipment, facilities, training etc)
- Training programmes provided for volunteers within each community to enable them to sustain activities.
- Initial promotion and provision of activities – the Active Villages programme could typically comprise an after school club aimed at primary school children, a youth sports offer for young people of Secondary School age and then an adults’ programme
- Regular mentoring visits to support communities’ volunteers
- Access to bespoke ‘self help’ resources such as promotional support and materials, on-line tool kits and activity starter packs.
- Potential links to 2012 Olympic Legacy programmes.
To find out more, contact the Devon Active Villages project in Teignbridge on 01626 215606 / 01626 215611 or email active.villages@teignbridge.