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Councillors celebrate 10 years of free sports coaching in park

Wednesday, 10 July 2024 16:23

By Shelagh Parkinson

Image – Football coaching in Anchorsholme Park

Anchorsholme residents are celebrating the 10th year of free sports coaching thanks to a Sport England Grant for young people in the area.

The programme was first launched in East Pines Park in 2014 by Coun Paul Galley to tackle antisocial behaviour after it emerged the park suffered the highest levels of disruption of any park in Blackpool.

It has gone on to offer more than 1.000 young people free football coaching on Friday nights with some of the youngsters continuing to play in clubs around the Fylde.

Now a further grant of £3,000 from Sport England is ensuring the scheme continues.

Coun Galley said: “We created the sports scheme based on a programme I was involved with in Zimbabwe when I was younger, where we created a cricket coaching system in the high-density areas of Zimbabwe.

“It went on to produce three international test cricketers and I am convinced the more we invest in our young people through sport we will achieve the same results for future stars in Blackpool whilst reducing antisocial behaviour and building friendships with our young people.”

Fellow Anchorsholme Coun Anita Cooper said “We are delighted that Sport England have backed our sports programme, it means everyone from aged eight to 15 can access free football coaching on Friday nights in the park and cricket on Thursday evenings and enjoy the benefits of being involved in sports.

“Over the years we have worked hard to build a great football pitch and this year have also worked on creating a cricket wicket in the park.”

The sports coaching is delivered by Active Blackpool with cricket and athletics coaching held on Thursday between 5pm and 6pm with football coaching held on Fridays for ages eight to 11 between 6pm and 7pm and ages 12 to 15 held between 7pm and 8pm. The grant has also paid for walking football for over 40s between 10.45am and 11.45am every Wednesday.

It is open to everyone regardless of location and is completely free.

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