Tynedale: NCL offers sports-shy folk a kick start in latest campaign
Published at 07:37, Wednesday, 23 October 2013
EXPERTS across the world state that exercising for 30 minutes, three times a week, is the formula for a healthy lifestyle.
Research has shown that short, sharp workouts on a regular basis works wonders for the heart, in addition to the other benefits which come with improved fitness levels.
And this recommendation has been taken on by the Governmental body Sport England, which has the goal of getting as many people as possible across the country into physical activity.
But a great deal of work is still needed in rural Tynedale, with the most recent figures showing that only 25 per cent of people are doing the suggested regime.
While the recommendation may be a little flawed – one 90 minute game of football does not meet the criteria – the challenge to improve these numbers is high on North Country Leisure’s (NCL) agenda.
The charitable trust’s sports development team is on a mission to increase participation in a wide range of sports of all members of the various communities in the district.
Kathie Keady, community sports manager with NCL, and fellow members of the team, want to know why a staggering 75 per cent of local people are not participating in sport and physical activity.
In the most remote parts of Tynedale, a lack of facilities, volunteers and transport links all play a big part.
Across the district, there are some top facilities in place with Hexham’s Wentworth Leisure Centre, Prudhoe Waterworld, Ponteland Leisure Centre, Allendale Sports Club, Haltwhistle Swimming and Leisure, and Otterburn’s Rede, Tyne and Coquet Centre all well-used.
Anyone living away from these areas, though, faces a battle to access sports facilities.
Kathie said: “We are lucky to have such great leisure centres here, but access to facilities is a huge problem in the more rural places as many people are not within a 15 minute drive and transport links are few and far between.
“For us to send someone to a place where there will be low numbers attending is not feasible due to travel costs and the time taken.
“In rural areas, we need to get somebody from the local community who we could help get qualified and get local people to go to them.”
A lot of work is to be carried out in the remote parts in the coming weeks, with ever dependable questionnaires to follow.
But on top of that, community sports leaders are being sought in each of the areas so they can liaise with local people and feed back their comments to NCL.
Kathie said: “We have to make sure we are putting on the sessions that people want and what is going to get people in rural areas doing physical activity.
“We often hear from people that use our facilities or already play sport about what they would like to be available, but we rarely hear from non-users about why they are not participating.
“And sometimes we make assumptions why people aren’t participating, but we need to stop doing that and get harder facts.
“Within NCL we do need to understand what is stopping people from taking part and how we could get them involved.”
Town and parish councils are being targeted to help spread the word, with organisations being encouraged to allow sport to take place in the respective community halls.
Schemes similar to the popular ‘back to netball’ sessions run for women over the age of 16 at the Wentworth are also to be rolled out.
This and similar ‘give it a go’ sessions inspired by the 2012 London Olympics, have given people the opportunity to trial various sports to see if it is their cup of tea.
Kathie said: “What can we do? A ‘come and try it’ approach works, running taster sessions in the areas to then find sports clubs to go out to and run 10 week courses.”
Another reason, Kathie believed, that people were not playing sport was that the competitive element did not appeal to everyone.
Some were put off by the ‘win at all costs’ attitude of some and simply wanted to go at their own leisure – and with like-minded people of similar ability.
“We need to target people who come through the sports clubs who may like some recreational sport as well as that competitive side.
“Some people just like the recreational side and that is why the new tennis club in Corbridge has been successful in attracting 150 members because people from the village just want to play tennis in their local area.”
Kathie continued: “Some people have had bad experiences of PE at school and it is quite hard to get back into it after that.
“The ‘back to netball’ scheme was very popular, and it is that kind of hand-holding we need to look at. We need to boost the confidence of people to get them through the doors.”
Anyone interested in getting into sport or in telling Kathie why they do not participate can contact her by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Published by http://www.hexhamcourant.co.uk
This week in... 1949Friday, December 9, 1949...
A workman was buried alive while digging a drain in the Prudhoe Urban Council's housing estate at Oaklands.
Workmates rushed to the aid of 50-year-old Richard Barclay, of Stocksfield, when the wall of the trench he was digging collapsed.
They managed to dig his head and shoulders free before finally pulling him from the earth. He was found to be suffering from shock and bruising.