Although sport programmes provider, Sportworks, were celebrating their 10th anniversary on the 29th July, it was business as usual with a Sport England funded Tackling Inactivity session for adults with complex physical and learning disabilities at the Meadow Well Connected Centre in North Shields.
Working in partnership with local charity, Journey Enterprises, the weekly sessions are based around improving agility, balance, coordination, strength and endurance but delivered in an informal way which makes the exercises and game fun for all participants. Matt Hill, Sportworks Regional Director, explained, “We’re delighted to celebrate our 10th anniversary but it’s very much business as usual in what is a really busy time of year for us, delivering sports programmes for a wide variety of groups nationwide.”
“For this session, our coach, Beth Holmes, takes the participants through our ‘stretch and flex’ exercises before moving onto Boccia and New Age Kurling games which are very. The results are fantastic with all the participants not only becoming more active, but also increasing in confidence and independence.”
Formed in 2009 by Managing Director, Neil Cameron, a former long jumper who retired at the age of 24 to pursue a career in sports business, Sportworks design and deliver sport-based programmes to specific groups, matching their individual needs to funding opportunities from organisations such as local authorities, Sport England, UK Active, Ministry of Justice, National Lottery and the European Social Fund. The programmes are broadly split between education courses, community sports programmes and youth engagement work.
Nationally, Sportworks employ over 75 full time and part time staff, most of whom are fully qualified teachers, educational tutors or sports coaches. Neil Cameron, commented, “Over the past 10 years we have designed and delivered award-winning programmes which have changed lives throughout the UK, but the North East will always be special to us.”
“Each year we work with over 3,000 individuals across our Community Sports Programmes. Our youngest participant this year is 4 whilst our oldest is 83! Over 50% of our participants experience some form of ‘disadvantage’, whilst two of our participants went on to represent Great Britain in sport this year. Our Skills & Education Programmes in the North East alone have involved another 806 students, with 86% of them gaining at least one qualification through the programme.”
“We’ve worked nationwide from the North East to the South West and have supported a wide range of clients including adults with mental health difficulties, prison offenders, disengaged students, disabled children, older people with health issues and ethnic minority groups.”
“We’re proud of the partnerships we’ve created and what we’ve achieved together and, to mark our ten-year anniversary, we have developed an ambitious growth plan which will result in over 8,000 people accessing our programmes each year by 2022. To achieve this aim we are increasing the number of organisations we work with (strategically, financially and operationally) to achieve our aims and contribute to healthier, more prosperous communities throughout the UK.”