Sports Pound gets us back to exercise

September 07 2016

GET Inspired! If the Olympics has got you thinking you should be getting off the couch and being active, help could be at hand.

GET Inspired! If the Olympics has got you thinking you should be getting off the couch and being active, help could be at hand.

GET Inspired! If the Olympics has got you thinking you should be getting off the couch and being active, help could be at hand.
The Sports Pound initiative got under way in South Gloucestershire earlier this year to encourage people back to exercise.
It works by giving people free vouchers to try sport and fitness activities. These can range from very gentle exercise to full-on bootcamp workouts – the choice is yours.
Janice Suffolk, who is running the scheme in areas around Cadbury Heath, Kingswood and Staple Hill, said some people chose to use all their vouchers for regular attendance at one particular class while others tried out various activities.
Sports Pound is open to anyone from the age of 14 who does less than 30 minutes of exercise a week.
Parkour, badminton and cricket often appeal to youngsters while buggyfit is popular with mums of babies and toddlers. Many people relish the chance to get involved with a game of rounders in the park.
The scheme has  taken off, with a number of providers in Hanham and Longwell Green starting to take the vouchers for their classes. Among these are Hanham Cricket Club and Hanham and Downend TaeKwondo, as well as a wide range of activities seven days a week at SBL Sports Centre.
The vouchers can also be used for some sessions at all South Gloucestershire Council Active leisure centres, including Longwell Green and Kingswood.
However, organisers are still keen to hear from people who can help shape the scheme for the future by letting them know what activities they would like provided and when and where would be most convenient.
They also want to hear from more people who run  fitness activities and are willing to become providers for Sports Pound.
Karen Davis and Sam King, who run Zumba classes in Downend, are enthusiastic participants in the scheme.
They said: “We fully support the Bristol SportsPound initiative and are pleased to be a provider. Not only can attending classes improve your fitness and lifestyle, it also gives you the opportunity to meet new people and have lots of fun. Our doors are always open and we extend a warm welcome to everybody.”
Chair of South Gloucestershire Council  Erica Williams said: “The SportsPound enables us to extend sports programmes right into the heart of our communities and will also continue our good work with local partners in reducing barriers to sports participation. This project will help raise the profile of sport and ensure residents are involved in developing activities.”
Full details can be found on Facebook, Twitter and the council website, by emailing sportspound@southglos.gov.uk or calling  01454 865821 or visiting your local library.
Sports Pound has received £171,324 of National Lottery funding from Sport England for a three-year scheme aimed at encouraging 5,000 people back to exercise.