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  • 02 September 2013 00:00
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Three Sport England projects win Prime Minister's Big Society Awards

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Three projects funded by Sport England were among the winners of the Prime Minister’s 2013 Big Society Awards as recognition for their contribution to their local community through sport. 

The three projects recognised were Instructability, Fencing North East and Herne Hill.

InstructAbility is the brainchild of Aspire, a leading national charity supporting people with spinal cord injuries and YMCAfit, the leading fitness industry training provider.

Both organisations joined forces over three years ago to design and deliver the programme in a bid to help provide a lasting legacy from the London 2012 Paralympics by tackling the under representation of disabled people in the fitness industry.

The programme offers participants the chance to gain a Level 2 gym instructor qualification and gives support to find employment within the fitness industry. 

Over 40 per cent of graduates have gone on to get jobs as fitness professionals.

"This time last year we were celebrating the greatest Paralympic Games ever,” said Prime Minister David Cameron.

"I’m delighted to be recognising the work of a programme which is doing so much to secure the games’ lasting legacy.

As for Fencing North East, the project was set up in 2008 in partnership with the Universities of Durham and Northumbria.

It has since been providing opportunities in the sport for young people in Northumberland, Tyne and Wear, Durham, Cumbria and Teesside who have gone on to compete at National, European, and Paralympic levels. 

It has trained 69 unemployed young people as ‘Go Fence’ leaders, who have in turn introduced over 800 people from their communities to Fencing. 

"Fencing North East has had a real impact across the North East, inspiring young people to take up a new sport and helping them gain confidence, skills and even qualifications,” said the Prime Minister. 

"I’m delighted to be recognising the achievements of everyone who volunteers, coaches and takes part with this Big Society Award."

Finally the Herne Hill Velodrome based in South East London was saved by the local community and volunteers when faced with closure. 

The historic site, which the last remaining venue still in operation from the London 1948 Olympic Games, is enjoyed by thousands or people each year.

The 450 metre cycling track accommodates a wide range of users, from school kids learning to ride a bike for the first time up to professionals training and racing. 

Sir Bradley Wiggins, Laura Trott, Joanna Rowsell and Jody Cundy all started their cycling careers here and the trust hope to generate yet more Olympians in the future. 

"Although the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games remain fresh in all our minds, it is great that there is still a legacy from the 1948 Games in South London,” said the Prime Minister. 

"Thanks to the hard work of local people and a bit of help from inspirational cycling heroes, cyclists of all ages and abilities can now enjoy using Herne Hill Velodrome and maybe one day follow in the footsteps of Bradley Wiggins, Chris Hoy, Victoria Pendleton and Chris Froome.

"Herne Hill Velodrome is a fantastic London landmark and an excellent example of the Big Society.”

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