Village Games bring fitness, friendship and fun to county, Derby Telegraph
A COUNTY-WIDE sports programme, that uses the Olympic Games to inspire people of all ages, has led to thousands becoming more active, Derby Telegraph
The Derbyshire Village Games was rolled out across six districts to bring sport to smaller communities that do not have leisure centres.
The Derbyshire Village Games project has encouraged more than 5,000 people to get involved in sport, including the wide range of events pictured.
Read more and see pictures in the Derby Telegraph online
Since its launch, the £850,000 project has seen more than 5,000 people of all ages take part in exercise, such as Zumba classes, rounders, running and table tennis.
The programme has run in villages in Amber Valley, South Derbyshire, North East Derbyshire, Bolsover, High Peak and Derbyshire Dales.
A paid co-ordinator from Community Sports Trust, which is delivering the project, was assigned to each district to work with residents to help to put on activities tailored to their wishes.
Project Manager Hayley Lever said: "It's just great. It's proving even more successful than we'd hoped for.
"People are liking the fact they can walk out their front door and down to the local hall and meet others and take part in something fun.
"By Christmas last year, we had reached 70,000 attendances. Our target for this July is 80,000, so we're well on course to smash that.
"We've had 500 volunteers who have helped organise and run the activities."
Hayley said the idea was to bring sport to people's doorsteps and to give residents what they wanted. She said: "If you live in a city or town there are leisure centres with timetabled classes but a lot of Derbyshire is really rural and not everyone is willing, able or motivated to travel.
"Our idea is that, if you go out and listen to what people want, you can then give them a helping hand by recruiting volunteers, finding an instructor or coach and a venue, publicising a class or an event and setting up activities right on the doorstep.
"Along with purchasing equipment, that's how the funding from Sport England and local authorities has been used."
The Games have been taking place in village halls, community centres and on playing fields.
In South Derbyshire, villages including Etwall, Hilton, Castle Gresley, Willington, Repton and Findern have all got involved.
Co-ordinator Toni Jantschenko said: "It's going fantastically well. We're working in 12 villages and they have all got activities for families and all age groups.
"In Repton, for instance, there is a jogging club that has got 30 people running each week.
"They've got table tennis for the whole family and Tai Chi for the over-50s – although younger people are going along, as well.
"People are getting a lot out of the Village Games. The activities are on their doorstep, so they've not to got to travel or rely on transport.
"It's not just about the fitness, there's also the social aspect. It's particularly good for people who have just moved to the area because it helps them meet people."
To get involved visit www.communitysportstrust. co.uk and click on the link for the Derbyshire Village Games.