Following a successful bid from YMCA St Helens – supported by St Helens Council Sports Development – a total of £674,935 has been awarded by the Big Lottery and DCMS Youth Investment Fund to organise and deliver a Youth Sports Engagement Programme over the next three years.
The three-year YMCA Youth Sports Engagement Programme is aimed at young people aged 10 to 18 and will offer a minimum of 20 free weekly sports and physical activity sessions, holiday programmes and sessions aimed at young people with additional needs.
There will also be an opportunity to access projects and sessions organised by delivery partner the Saints Community Foundation.
The programme will engage with over 50,000 young people, and qualify 45 young people to deliver sports and physical activities. Additionally, as the programme develops, there will be six apprenticeship opportunities in years two and three.
Dr Justin Hill, Chief Executive of YMCA St Helens: “We’ve recruited a fantastic team of coaches and I’m delighted at the results achieved so far. As the programme goes from strength to strength, we will see more young people engaging in sports and physical activity with all the benefits this brings. From improved health, to better education and life chances.”
Minister for civil society Tracey Crouch, said: “This investment from the government and National Lottery players will have a transformational effect on the lives of some of our most disadvantaged young people.
“It will help thousands who might otherwise have gone under the radar flourish. Local voluntary and community youth organisations already do so much fantastic work and this £40m will enrich the lives of many more young people throughout England.
Dawn Austwick, chief executive of the Big Lottery Fund said: “The Youth Investment Fund is a welcome boost for the many great community organisations that work with young people locally. Money raised by National Lottery players creates opportunities for young people to build on their talents and strengths and the Youth Investment Fund is an important part of the jigsaw for the youth sector.”
Councillor Sue Murphy, St Helens Council’s Cabinet Member for Libraries and Leisure Services, added: “It’s great to see sports development, which have a proven track record of successfully securing external funding, involved in the application process and the organisation and delivery of the programme. This is a fantastic opportunity for young people across the borough to engage in these free sessions and participate in a safe environment.”
For more information on the free sessions and to view time table, please visit the St Helens Council Sports Development website: https://www.sthelens.gov.uk/culture-sport-leisure/sports-development/