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- 10 June 2015 00:00
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Improving Lives and Enriching Communities: South West BBC Power of Sport Awards 2015 supported by Sport England.
A group which has brought new sporting opportunities to over 6000 young people in the South West was awarded the BBC Power of Sport Award, supported by Sport England.
Fence Cornwall, developed by Truro Fencing Club, is using the power of sport to improve the lives of young people in the South West and engages them in new, non-mainstream sports by bringing free fencing taster session to clubs and schools. Thanks to the project, thousands of children have experienced the fun of fencing.
The award recognises real projects that have made a difference in the community and Fence Cornwall is a leading example of this. They understand the needs of the young people in their community, to provide them with the opportunity to make physical activity a healthy habit for life through activities that they enjoy.
The taster sessions are targeted at primary and secondary schools in Cornwall and have resulted in nearly 20 after school fencing clubs being set up in the area. There are now over 600 children taking part every week.
The project has brought the sport to many rural communities, which include some of the smallest schools in the UK, since its launch in September 2007. Fence Cornwall has dedicated more than 450 coaching hours free of charge to schools and the results have been fantastic.
Josiah Haslam, a 14 year old from Helston, joined the after-school fencing club at his school two years ago. He then went onto to join the new community fencing club in the town, where he trains regularly. Most recently he represented the club at the British Championships, where he won matches in the under 17 category.
Josiah said: "Although I’m OK in a few sports, fencing was the one that I seemed better at than most people! I’ve met loads of new people at the Helston and Truro clubs, and I can see my fencing improve and my confidence and fitness getting better in everything, including at school and other sports. One day I’m hoping to fence for the British team too so I’ll keep training and do more competitions in the future.”
Part of Cornwall’s development plans are to establish Cornwall’s first disabled fencing club, under the leadership of a Paralympic level coach. The largest development for the future is the plan to build a dedicated fencing centre in Cornwall which will be the focal point of all the activity within the County. The centre will also be a national training facility for fencers, coaches and referees to international level.
Collecting the BBC Power of Sport Award, Chris Buxton, Fence Cornwall’s head sabre coach, said:
"It's fantastic that a minority sport has been recognised. The publicity will help us generate even more support for the club and the children and young people who fence with us. I'm very proud and pleased for everyone involved."