We're on the road to fitness
WAVENEY is slowly shedding its 'couch potato' image as more and more people seek to live fitter, healthier lives.Just under five years ago, the district was among the worst-performing in the UK for the number of residents who take part in active sport or recreation, ��with just 17.
WAVENEY is slowly shedding its 'couch potato' image as more and more people seek to live fitter, healthier lives.
Just under five years ago, the district was among the worst-performing in the UK for the number of residents who take part in active sport or recreation, ��with just 17.8pc of the local population involved in regular exercise.
But now, following the launch of the Active Waveney Sports Partnership (AWSP) in June 2007, and a drive to encourage more adults to take part in sport, there has been a notable rise as more people seek to get fitter and healthier.
Council chiefs this week praised the efforts of the AWSP - the Community Sports Network (CSN) for the district - and paid tribute to the inspirational success of local sports clubs and individuals who have helped put the area on the map.
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Only last week, The Journal revealed that Waveney Gymnastics Club had been successful in striking a deal with the Canadian national gymnastics squad to use their top-class facility ahead of the 2012 Olympic Games, and with the club's triumphs allied to that of boxer Anthony Ogogo, sailor Nic Asher, Paralympians from the Ashley School Athletics Squad and swimmers Stephanie Bird and Ellis Jackson - who all have their sights set on participating in London - the success appears to be rubbing off.
Latest figures released by Sport England's Active People Survey, described as 'the largest ever survey of sport and active recreation to be undertaken in Europe', illustrates Waveney's improvement over the past four and half years.
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Back in October 2005, the district was well within the bottom 25pc nationally when rated on the number of adults taking part in sport and recreation. But the latest figures, for April 2009-April 2010, show the district is rising up the ranks.
They show that 20.5pc of Waveney's adult population (aged 16 years and over) are now participating in sport and active recreation, 'at moderate intensity,' for the equivalent of 30 minutes on three or more days a week.
'The target was to get us to 23.8pc by December 2012, and we are well on the way to achieving that,' Asa Morrison, Waveney District Council's principal service manager for culture, tourism and sport, told The Journal. 'We wanted to be increasing the 17.8pc figure by one per cent each year and these latest statistics show we are on track and about right to deliver that.'
One of the targets of AWSP is to increase the number of people taking part in sport and physical/cultural activity.
With this in mind, the Waveney Active Adult Programme was launched in January, in conjunction with Suffolk Sport, to offer badminton, judo, pilates, running and yoga courses for anyone aged 16 or over to encourage to get people back into playing sport.
Reflecting on the latest figures, Mr Morrison said: 'Statistically it is not a significant rise, but it is a nice increase and it is going the right way. A number of positive things are emerging through Active Waveney and while we did start low down the ladder we are moving up the rungs and we're pleased with the progress. I firmly believe that the success locally of our football, rugby and sports teams, successful gymnastics club and talented individuals help to get more people involved in sport.'