A £100,000 project aims to bring about a sporting revolution in Dewsbury by getting people more active and bringing them together.
The cash will help train 20 ‘sports activators’ who will encourage people to take up new sports, while breaking down barriers and easing community tensions by getting people to play together.
Active and Connected Communities in North Kirklees will boost sporting participation in areas where health problems are high and provide training and qualifications for the sports activators.
The £115,290 project will focus on the Dewsbury South and West wards. Coun Masood Ahmed (Lab, Dews South) said: “I am really excited about this project. The Olympics brought people together and we want to show that legacy hasn’t faded away.
“This will get different communities playing sport together.”
Coun Ahmed said people would be pushed out of their comfort zones – the cricketing and football heartlands of Savile Town will mix with rugby dominated Thornhill in a bid to unite neighbourhoods which are often seen as living separately.
A range of taster sessions will be held at club open days and a major town events overseen by the sports activators – in turn inspiring clubs to offer new activities and attracting new members. As well as the traditional sports, running groups, walking groups, women only sessions will be set up. Coun Ahmed said: “We might not necessarily find the next Beckhams or Tendulkars, but I have really high hopes for the this project.
“It will get people involved in sport who don’t normally play.”
Dewsbury was one of four areas nationally to benefit from the Integration Through Sport Fund, which is managed by Sport England and the Department for Communities and Local Government.
Most of the big players on Dewsbury’s sport scene are supporting the project, including Savile Stars Cricket Club, Thornhill Trojans, Dewsbury Moor ARLFC, Thornhill Cricket and Bowling Club, along with Dewsbury Sports Centre and Ravensthorpe Community Centre.
The fund is providing £64,100 for the two-year project, with the rest of the cash coming from Kirklees Active Leisure, Kirklees Council and other community groups. Minister for Communities Stephen Williams said: “Sport is an excellent way of breaking down barriers and getting people involved in activities – you only need to look at football teams, whether they are the England national side or in a Sunday amateur league, to see the mixture of people of different backgrounds that are brought together by sport.”