|Let’s hear it for Street Cheer!
Left to right members of Wigan’s first Street Cheer Team the Four-One-Os; Rachel Scott, 14; Hannah Wilkinson, 12; Rhiannon Fitzpatrick, 10 and Skye Burton, 14.
WIGAN youngsters are dancing in the street as they gear up for a regional sports competition with a difference.
StreetGames 2008 will see more than 1,200 young people descend on Manchester’s Sport City this Friday (29 August) to compete in a variety of alternative sports such as skateboarding alongside mainstream activities including athletics and cricket.
And these pioneering Wigan youngsters will become the first from Wigan to compete in the inaugural Street Cheer event - a fusion of street dance and cheerleading.
Gill Fitzpatrick, schools sports co-ordinator for Standish and Shevington has been busy putting the 12 to 15-year-olds through their paces.
She said: “Cheerleading has taken off big time in the last two years.
“There’s been an enormous explosion and there are now 48 teams across Wigan Borough. “We’re hoping this will prove just as popular.
“What we’re trying to do is encourage young people to take part in physical activity, especially boys.”
The group has decided to call their Street Cheer team the Four-One-Os.
Rachel Scott, 14, started cheerleading in September last year, she said: “Street Dance is all about mixing moves together and being able to be more freestyle.
“In cheerleading you are a lot stricter with your movements.
“I like both of them, so this is a really interesting sport for me because it combines both.”
Last year Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust secured a £42,000 grant from the Football Foundation to fund StreetGames over the next two years to encourage children, who don’t normally participate in physical activity, to take up sport.
Since then hundreds of children each week, who wouldn’t necessarily play for their local sports teams, have enjoyed activities such as football, handball, rugby league, basketball and football.
Sports Development Officer for Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust, Sue Molyneux said: “It’s about giving young people who don’t traditionally participate in sport the opportunity to get involved in physical activity and to compete at a regional level.
“StreetGames is a fun based competition which gives them a chance to play games they traditionally don’t know anything about.”
More than 70 Wigan youngsters will take part in the games this Friday which will be attended by former Commonwealth Champion and Olympian Diane Modahl.
John Dwan, North West Regional Manager for StreetGames said: “Our aim as a charity is to bring sport to young people from all social backgrounds in a way which engages them and encourages them to make sport a regular part of their lives.
“We do this each year by helping local providers set up schemes and initiatives to deliver sport and activities to young people in their areas.”