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Sports Minister Swept Away by Wigan’s Street Games Success
Monday 17th March, 2008

Sports Minister Swept Away by Wigan’s Street Games Success
Andy Burnham Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport enjoying football and dance with Diane Modahl, Ambassador

While the nation was gripped by Sport Relief fever on Friday night, over a hundred young people from Hindley gave Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport Andy Burnham a Street Games lesson.

Proving that there are great opportunities for young people to get active in the Wigan Borough, Andy joined Street Games ambassador and former Commonwealth 800m Champion Diane Modahl at a regular Friday night activity session at Hindley Sports Centre.

Organised by Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust’s Sport Development Unit, the session including football and dance, is just one of 20 regular community sport events organised by the Trust. In 2007, 12,422 young people took part in similar community sports activities in the borough.

The regular sessions include a variety of ‘Street Games’ including football, athletics, squash, handball and dance, and have been successfully supported through a £42,000 grant from the Football Foundation. The climax to the activities is the chance for young people from the Wigan Borough to take part in the North West Street Games at SportCity, Manchester in August. Around 120 young people represented Wigan at the 2007 event.

Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust Chief Executive Rodney Hill said: “This programme is helping to get young people physically and socially active in the heart of their own communities. At the same time these free activities are a chance for young people to have fun and use their time positively, helping to prevent anti-social behaviour and youth nuisance. We are delighted that the work we do here in Wigan is being acknowledged and celebrated at ministerial level, as well as by Diane and our other key partners.”

Up and down the country, Street Games delivers sport and dance to young people where they want it, at times when they want it and in a style they want. Street Games brings sport to young people from all backgrounds who would like the chance to have fun and get active.

Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport Andy Burnham MP said: “It is vital that we provide our young people with as many opportunities to take part in activities that have great short and long term physical and social benefits. Street Games is an innovative, exciting concept and I’m glad to see it really coming to fruition and having such an impact in my own constituency.”

Diane Modahl who joined in the sport and dance sessions said: “Street Games do an invaluable job to give children in communities across the country a chance to enjoy physical activity and make new friends. Being here tonight has been really inspirational and had brought back memories of my own childhood – these activities really capture the imagination. Street Games is about grassroots opportunities – we want to encourage and motivate these children to help build self-confidence and teamwork.”

Paul Thorogood, Chief Executive of the Football Foundation, said: “Football and other sports have a real ability to engage people, build their self esteem and help them to reach their full potential. It is thanks to the investment by our funding partners – the Premier League, The Football Association and Government – that the Foundation exists to support projects like Street Games in Wigan.”

Details of all the community sports sessions taking place across the borough are available at www.wbsc.org.uk or by contacting Wigan Sports Development on 01942 404982.

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