|A Flying Start for Get On Track
Dame Kelly Holmes
A PIONEERING project that uses the power of sport to get young people from Wigan and Leigh active, motivated and ready for work, has got off to a flying start.
Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust (WLCT) has been chosen as the first organisation in the North West to deliver Get On Track. The scheme was created by legendary athlete and double Olympic Gold Medallist Dame Kelly Holmes.
Get On Track has been specially tailored for Wigan Borough by WLCT's Sports Development Unit and is designed to inspire and build aspirations in young people aged between 16 and 25 who are not in education, employment or training.
WLCT's Sports Development Manager Lynsey Johnson explains: "It is an eight week personal development programme that gives young people an introduction to community sport, volunteering and inspires them to believe in themselves and improve their career opportunities. It will also support them into committing to an active and healthy lifestyle.
"We began to make people aware of the scheme just before Christmas and asked for young people to come forward and express and interest. The project aimed to attract 25 individuals but at recent recruitment days we were bowled over when more than 60 turned up to express an interest."
Wigan Borough was chosen by the Manchester-based sports charity GreaterSport to pilot the project in the region and the programme begins on Tuesday January 29 at Robin Park Arena.
Over the eight weeks, the young people will take part in a series of workshops aimed at building their confidence, self-esteem as well as improving their motivational and team-building skills. They will take part in a range of community sports events and even gain a valuable insight into the world of work through on-the-job experience.
One highlight of the course will see them developing and running their own community sports event for 50 young people on Wednesday February 20.
The project is supported locally by Wigan Council, Wigan Athletic, Job Centre Plus, HMP Hindley, John Rigby College, Adactus Housing and is funded by the Dame Kelly Holmes Legacy Trust.
Helping to deliver the programme in Wigan will be two real-life sporting superstars - British and European skateboarding champion Neil Danns and Team GB Hockey player and Commonwealth Games Bronze Medallist Charlotte Hartley.
Speaking about the Wigan project, Dame Kelly said: "It's not an easy time for young people at the moment. I'm thrilled my charity's team of world-class athletes can support young people in Wigan and help them to make positive changes to their lives."
Get On Track will also give the young people taking part valuable qualifications in sports coaching and first aid and one of them will be offered an apprenticeship by WLCT as a sports development apprentice.
The course will culminate with a celebration event at the DW Stadium on Tuesday March 12.
WLCT Chief Executive Stuart Murray said: "We are really proud and pleased to have been chosen to lead the way with this exciting new scheme and to be the first organisation in the North West to deliver it. It is a testament to the professionalism of our Sports Development Unit that we were chosen to do this and we're sure the team will do an excellent job in providing the model for other organisations to follow when they deliver the scheme in other parts of the region.
"We are equally thrilled with the response from our young people and partners who are keen and eager to get involved with something that will undoubtedly improve their prospects and employability. We wish them all the best of luck as they embark on this journey and we know that they will come through it ready for work and making a positive contribution to the wider community."
For more information about Get On Track visit the website: www.dkhlegacytrust.org/Get-On-Track