Council aiming to get people back into sport

By Steve Carpenter Monday 31 December 2012 Updated: 02/01 15:02

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Buy photos » Gymnastics coach Emma Breed, Martin Reeves (Coventry City Council), Harry Jackson, Seamus Meakins-Owen, Ellie White, Cllr Phil Townshend (Coventry City Council), Kayley Hart and Harriet Harman. (s)

WE must encourage people of all ages to take up a sport, those are the words of the council after outlining their sporting aspirations for the next ten years.

Coun Phil Townshend, Cabinet Member for Sport, Community Safety and Equalities in Coventry, spoke of his desire to continue supporting local talent in the area.

But he is keen to see the city build on its potential for sports participation and achievement just six months after London 2012.

"Too often people have thought for a long time that to participate in sport was about being a top football player, an Olympic swimmer or a commonwealth athlete," Mr Townshend told the Observer.

"I think it's really important that we develop natural talent in the city to achieve those fantastic goals, but it's also about people living healthier lifestyles and taking part in some sort of physical excercise every week.

"Everybody has the opportunity to take part, belong and enjoy the support of others in the activities that they take."

A list of key sporting objectives are being drawn up which will then be consulted on by a range of sports organisations and local people.

And one of the key aspirations is to improve facilities to help attract more high profile sporting events in Coventry.

"The plan has come from two things really. The first being off the back of the Olympic because we did have a very successful time during the summer with the football matches being contested at the Ricoh Arena.

"But there is a recognition that there has not been a sports vision and strategy for over five or six years.

"We want to do things on the basis that we've got some sort of logical plan and this is what we're working towards at the moment - Decent sport on offer in every part of the city."

Coventry Olympian Dave Moorcroft pledged his support to the plans and is keen to see more people get involved at all levels.

He said: "London 2012 was a magical moment for Coventry and was the catalyst to generating an army of volunteers.

"It also galvanised many thousands of people in Coventry to take a more active role in sport and physical activity."

Coun Townshend also welcomed the visit of Labour MP and Shadow Deputy Prime Minister Harriet Harman who was there at the unveiling of the new ten year plan at the Xcel Leisure Centre in December.

He added: "It’s an ideal opportunity for her to get a sense of where the city hopes to take sport in the future.

"She's been very interested in what she has seen on her visit and it's really important that we make connections nationally so that we can continue to advance the case for Coventry both in terms of grants, but to also get national recognition for what we're doing here."

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Buy photos» Coun Phil Townshend. (s)

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