Sir Steve Redgrave visited the Southfields Academy today to celebrate the huge success of the Sporting Promise programme, an initiative encouraging more young people to take part in PE and school sport.
Sir Steve was joined by Maggie Alphonsi, one of England's top female rugby players and a Youth Sport Trust ambassador, for a game of dodgeball with the students and a chance to chat about plans for the next three years. They were joined by pupils from Hotham Primary School for some multi-sport activities designed to get young people more active.
Sir Steve took a break from the action and explained why he is so pleased to be involved with the programme:
"If we are to become a healthier, more active nation then we must encourage and inspire school children to develop an interest in PE and sport. The support of brands like Sporting Pro and Matalan to fund these programmes is vital to ensure we deliver the legacy ambitions of the 2012 Games."
The Sporting Promise is an award-winning grass roots sports initiative that has already impacted over two million young people in the first three years of the programme. It is a partnership between the Youth Sport Trust, Matalan and Sporting Pro that ensures children across the country have vital access to sports activity in school. There are three key focus areas for Sporting Promise. TOP Sport supports the delivery of PE and sport in 10,000 primary schools across the country. yoUR Activity promotes the alternative sports offer in secondary schools and Sporting Communities opens up sports opportunities for 14 to 19 year olds by setting up community sports clubs.
Maggie Alphonsi, who is preparing for a match against Wales on Friday in the Six Nations tournament, was impressed to see everyone enjoying themselves:
"It's great to see so many young people getting involved in sports activities that they may not have tried before. For some, traditional sports might not be for them, so introducing a range of alternative sports, like dodgeball and parkour, can really inspire them to enjoy taking part in sport and being physically active."
Jackie Valin, Headteacher at Southfields Academy said:
"We're really excited about having Sir Steve; a true sporting legend, visit our school as part of the Sporting Promise. We know that sport has an amazing ability to improve all areas of young people's lives, so it's a fantastic opportunity for all students to try something new and feel inspired to be physically active."
New sports retailer Sporting Pro opened their flagship store on High Street Kensington in December and have recently joined the Promise. Sporting Pro pledge to support local sport and will invest 1% of all reward card sales back into school and community sports programmes.
Store Manager Glyn Bixby was on hand to experience everything first hand: "Sporting Pro is at the heart of the community and it's been great to see everyone having such an amazing time with Steve and Maggie this morning. We'll continue to invest in school and community sport but it isn't just about the kids, the parents get great sports offers through the year too!"