Partnership help youngsters swap technology for team sports

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Watching youngsters throw aside their iPhones to throw themselves into physical activity is exactly what Amber Valley School Sport Partnership want to see.

The borough-wide charity aims to improve the provision of PE and school sport for young people, getting them fit and active from the get-go.

More than 60 primary schools and around eight secondary schools across the region have signed up to the initiative. There are spikes of registration across the towns of Alfreton, Belper, Ripley and Heanor.

There are several branches to the charity, which offers coaching and teaching support for physical education, a competitions programme, getting involved in national sporting events and schemes, and also offering leadership projects.

Schools can sign up online to become part of the programme which sees different events each week, with participating students from a range of schools aged from five to 16.

School Sport Partnership officer Rob Shaw explained the different branches to the organisation, which has been running since 2006, but only received charity status in 2015.

He said: “The partnership has many strings to its bow.

“Firstly, we go into schools and deliver a high-quality of physical education. We have eight full-time staff who each have a primary school per weekday where they go into school and deliver sessions.

“It is offered at primary level, giving students a great education and insight into community sport. Primary schools are not staffed specifically to deliver PE, so we go in and can give them a different kind of sporting experience.”

Swanwick Hall School, Christ the King Catholic Primary in Alfreton, St John’s CE Primary School in Belper, St John’s CE Primary School in Ripley, Heage Primary School and Duffield Meadows Primary School are just some of the many schools signed up.

And there is an array of sport on offer to name just a few: table tennis, football, athletics, basketball dance, indoor football, dodgeball, tennis, netball, cycling, cricket and many more. And the sports are for all genders and abilities.

These sports are also at the centre of competitions and events organised by the partnership.

Rob added: “We organise and deliver competitions and events in a variety of sports and activities throughout the year. For example this week, is table tennis week.

“We host more than 110 competitions per year, mainly at local leisure centres and school sports halls.

“The events always attract big crowds of staff, parents and friends who are eager to see pupils being awarded trophies and medals for their efforts.

“It is a really great scheme and an excellent way of getting children interacting socially, learning how to play as a team and gaining a healthy competitive drive.

“Getting children involved in sport from a young age is vital, especially at a time when technology seems to rule. We want to get them passionate about it, not just having to do it, but being excited to get involved.

“The competitions we host are a perfect platform for children to get fitter, healthier and make new friends.

“We would like to thank the schools which are currently involved and have joined us in hoping to get Amber Valley youngsters fitter and healthier.”

The charity also delivers national programmes funded by Sport England such as Sportivate. This encourages inactive young people to take part in taster sessions in sport for free. Satellite Clubs is another programme which aims to encourage more young people to join community groups by offering free after-school sessions, run by a qualified club coach.

For more information visit: www.avssp.co.uk.