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Southern School Sports Co-ordinator success story 23 November 2006

A recent report measuring the impact of the work of the Southern School Sports Co-ordinator has revealed a resounding number of successes since the commencement of the post in February 2005.

The position of School Sports Co-ordinator (SSCo) for the South of the Island was created as a part of a pilot scheme identified by the ‘2002–2012 Isle of Man Sport & Recreation Strategy’. The remit of the post being to increase the provision of sports opportunities to children in the South of the Island, working in partnership with the local Schools and Community Clubs in the area to provide sustainable sports opportunities for all. The SSCo report highlights the achievements that have been recorded over the past 18 months as a result of the work of the School Sports Co-ordinator.

One of the major achievements identified was an increase of 186% on the number of children attending School Holiday Sports Activities in the South of the Island – with the yearly attendances reaching 2038 participants during 2005. This is 172% higher than attendances in the West and 143% higher than in the North during the same period.

Over the course of the 2005/2006 school year a total of 126 primary school teachers, parent helpers and students received training in a sports activity organised by the SSCo. Following on from this, with the support of the southern schools, the SSCo established 20 new after school sports clubs, which attracted over 1960 participants. In addition to this, 369 children took part in a newly organised Southern Schools Sports Festival.

Participation in physical activity has increased significantly of children that now exercise between 1 – 3 times a week - who were previously inactive. A major factor being more localised sports provision in communities in the South where previously children have found it difficult to access sport. This has identified and attracted between 50–60% new children into sport and physical activity in these areas.

In partnership with Governing Bodies of Sport on the Island the SSCo has established new Junior Community Sports Clubs in Gymnastics and Table Tennis in the region, with a new Badminton Club planned for early December.

A report released last month by the Department for Education and Science in the United Kingdom recently boasted that ‘more than a quarter of pupils (27 per cent), throughout the UK are taking part in sport in local clubs, through formal links set up by School Sports Co-ordinators with schools’. The figures collected in the South of the Island in May of this year however revealed that a staggering 62.1% of children who live in the south are members of a community sports club, which is 35% greater than the UK. This benchmark provides infallible evidence of the impact the SSCo has had on the southern community to date.

School Sports Co-ordinator for the South, Emma Callow says “With the position of Southern SSCo being something very new to the Island, getting things started back in February last year was fairly challenging. It has been extremely rewarding in recent months however to gather the evidence which measures the impact that my work has had on the southern community. I look forward to continuing the work over the next 14 months and further developing the opportunities for young people in the region to participate in sport and physical activity.”

Paul Bridson, Sports Development Manager says “The Sport & Recreation Strategy states that it is the overall aim to have five School Sports Co-ordinators employed around the Island. This initial success can only be a positive factor in our plans to position Co-ordinators in the North, West and East of the Island. We are in a position whereby we have increased participation in sport and physical activity is proven to be effective against tackling obesity, diabetes and chronic heart disease. In addition, through sport children develop and improve their social skills, confidence and self esteem, and recent research carried out on the Island has also seen improvements in the classroom”.

A copy of the full Southern School Sports Co-ordinator report can obtained by contacting Emma Callow on 688557 / or emailing: Emma.Callow@gov.im.

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