Five-time Olympic champion Sir Steve Redgrave took part in a game of dodgeball with students from Southfields Academy in south London to promote an initiative aimed at getting more young people involved in PE and school sport.
The Sporting Promise programme is a grass-roots initiative that provides access to alternative sporting activities in secondary schools.
Sir Steve was also joined by Maggie Alphonsi, one of England’s top female rugby players and a Youth Sport Trust ambassador, for the dodgeball game.
Sporting Promise has been running for three years and has already reached an estimated two million young people. It is run by the Youth Sport Trust in partnership with Matalan and Sporting Pro.
The three key focus areas for Sporting Promise are to support the delivery of PE and sport in 10,000 primary schools, to promote an alternative sports offer in secondary schools, and to open up sports opportunities for 14 to 19-year-olds by setting up community sports clubs.
The primary school scheme focuses on developing pupils’ physical and social skills, improving wider learning skills and increasing understanding of health and wellbeing. Meanwhile, the alternative sports aspect for secondary schools aims to engage pupils not attracted to the mainstream or traditional offer of sport. Sir Steve said: “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.”
Ms Alphonsi, who had taken time out of her preparations to face Wales in the Six Nations tournament to attend the event, added: “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 know that sport has an amazing ability to improve all areas of young people’s lives, so (Sporting Promise)is a fantastic opportunity for all students to try something new and feel inspired to be physically active.”
For more on Sporting Promise, visit www.sportingpromise.co.uk and for the Youth Sport Trust, go to www.youthsporttrust.org CAPTION: Hands on: Sir Steve Redgrave and rugby star Maggie Alphonsi with pupils at Southfields Academy