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60,000 UK youngsters take part in activity initiative targeting deprived areas

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Approximately 7,500 trained sports leaders helped over 61,000 young people run, jump, skip and dance their way to activity participation this summer as part of a widespread schools initiative.

Starting back in April, 360 Asda Active Sports Days – powered by Sports Leaders UK – were set up throughout Britain, with a majority hosted in areas of deprivation identified by the government’s Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD).

In partnership with Asda Community Life, ukactive and Spirit of 2012, Sports Leaders UK helped organise these free events for schools, most within a 10-minute drive of their local Asda stores, as 1,250 schools got involved in the action.

The children tried out a wide variety of different sports, with a focus on participation over competition. Sessions ranged from more traditional sports day fun and games, to taster sessions in activities such as archery, Zumba, tennis and basketball.

Events ranged in size from 25 to 1,000 participants, but all shared the common goal of introducing young people to the benefits of leading healthy lifestyles through greater physical activity and better food choices.

Asda Community Life Champions supported all the events by providing healthy refreshments, as well as giving educational talks on nutrition and hydration to set the children up for a day of energetic activities.

As part of the summer long campaign, Asda Active and Sports Leaders UK also delivered five open-access Commonwealth Games themed events in Scotland, where 800 local children benefited from free activity sessions.

“Sports leaders helped thousands of young people get active this summer,” said Sports Leaders UK CEO Linda Plowright.

“Hopefully events like these will inspire the next generation to remain active by enjoying sports and leading healthy lifestyles.”

Over the next three years (from 1 April, 2014) the partnership between Sports Leaders UK, Asda Community Life, ukactive and Spirit of 2012 aims to increase the number of sports leaders from 150,000 to 200,000, as well as extending the reach and impact of sports leadership across the UK by growing sports leaders’ volunteering hours from 640,000 to one million per year.

Research published recently has underlined the importance of physical activity to a child’s development, suggesting that exercise can help children to improve their language skills, while other findings show that physical fitness could have links to the academic performance of young people.

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Approximately 7,500 trained sports leaders helped over 61,000 young people run, jump, skip and dance their way to activity participation this summer as part of a widespread schools initiative.
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