Councils support new club
STOKEINTEIGNHEAD now has a fencing club thanks to a helping hand from the local council.
Teignbridge Council's Active Villages team helped set up the club, backed by funds by council chairman Chris Clarance, who recently decided to give the sport a go himself.
Devon Active Villages is a countywide programme co-ordinated by Active Devon and delivered by Teignbridge District Council's Green Spaces and Active Leisure Department.
It is aimed at supporting Teignbridge's rural communities by developing long-term sports and physical activity opportunities.
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Ben Ayres, Teignbridge's Active Villages co-ordinator, was approached last year by Ute Scholl from Stokeinteignhead who wanted to set up a community fencing group based on a surge of interest in the sport on the back of the Olympics.
Scholl, a level two fencing coach, said Stokeinteignhead Primary School and local people had spoken to her about a club but a major obstacle was the £1,800 funding for equipment and hall use.
The Active Villages programme put in some funding and Cllr Clarance added £1,000, using district council and county council community funds.
Clarance couldn't wait to have a go himself and kitted up for one of the first sessions at the club.
"I am pleased to support any form of sport in rural villages and it was good to be able to provide some money through my councillors' community allowance to achieve just this," he said.
"You certainly need all the right equipment for a sport like this and it was fun having a go too.
"Teignbridge's Active Villages have a big role to play in providing sports and activities in rural areas.
"It will be interesting to see whether a young Olympic hopeful materialises – hopefully now that the right training and gear is in place we won't have to wait long!"
Coach Scholl said classes have been full subscribed, which proved the investment had been a sound one.
"I am enjoying working with a rural community and being able to offer a free beginners' course to the villagers and students at the Primary School," she said.
"For a lot of people starting to fence would be a considerable financial burden because of the cost of the equipment.
"All the equipment for the workshop could be provided for free and will be available for further use by the participants.
To find out more, contact the Devon Active Villages project in Teignbridge on 01626 215606 or 01626 215611, or email firstname.lastname@example.org