New Charity to Promote and Encourage Amateur Sport in Shepway
People living in towns and villages across the Shepway District could soon enjoy greater access to a wide range of sports under a new initiative announced today. A new not for profit sports charity – the Shepway Sports Trust – aims to provide pathways and opportunities that will encourage active and healthy lifestyles and promote sporting excellence. One objective is to help people of all ages to take part in at least one regular sporting activity, and particularly to help younger people to develop the habit of participating in sport. The initiative aims to put Shepway well and truly on the sporting map by helping clubs and teams to recruit new members, volunteers and coaches whilst establishing clear exit routes and pathways for talented athletes to develop to the best of their ability.
The new Trust has been established following extensive consultations involving Shepway’s amateur sports clubs, primary and secondary schools and representatives of sports organisations. These consultations indicated that there was a critical gap in coordinating activities between schools and clubs, determining needs, organising coaching sessions and providing transport between schools and sports facilities. Having established the need for an organizing body to coordinate these activities, The Roger De Haan Charitable Trust stepped in to provide funding for an initial three year period to get the Trust off the ground.
A key priority is to establish a strategy that encompasses activity in and between schools, sports clubs, community groups and provision of education and training opportunities. The strategy will identify what can be done to exploit capacity where it already exists and build it further where there is greater demand. Director of the Trust Laurence Hickmott, who has worked previously in a variety of roles within the sports sector in the London boroughs of Lambeth, Lewisham and Camden, explains the opportunities and challenges ahead: “Whether you have never played sport before or you are a talented athlete looking to develop to compete at the highest level, whether a volunteer who wants to be more involved or an established coach looking to gain further qualifications, the Trust will aim to support people’s needs. There will be a variety of programmes that will be implemented gradually and will grow over time. By working in partnership with so many key organisations and partners the Trust will establish a forward thinking and joined up approach to sports development throughout the District.”
Laurence is being assisted by Emilie Moffat, whose background is in youth and community sport. Emilie is busy coordinating launch events, to be held in June in two locations in Shepway: “We have been very busy consulting with schools and clubs in recent weeks, and have even established a number of pilot programmes. Now we are looking forward to spreading the news much wider so as to capture the imagination and interest of large numbers of people right across Shepway.”
Those interested in finding out more about the Trust and its plans are invited to visit a special “pop up shop”, which is open from 1st – 4th April at 3 – 7 Tontine Street in Folkestone, where there will also be opportunities to take part in a few indoor sports and fun competitions.