Lottery cash will help South Devon College to get young people active
SOUTH Devon College is one of a handful of colleges in the South West to receive a share of £1.1million to improve sports facilities.
The National Lottery funding from Sport England comes days after the Paignton-based college was shortlisted for a Beacon Award in Sports.
The money will help fund the appointment of a full time sports development officer who will work with other college staff to encourage more young people to 'get active' in the wake of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
College principal Stephen Criddle said: "Our aim is to increase sports participation and physical activity of students right across the College, and to work with national governing bodies of sport to improve links between young people and local community sports clubs. Sport England targets the 16-24 age group as this is the time when there can be a drop in sport and activity.
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"Our job will be to provide the right opportunities to minimise or reverse this. It's a project which runs over a minimum of five years so there is a very significant and long term commitment to increasing participation in sport locally on our part, and a great boost for the area."
Mr Criddle said the initiative will support the College's drive to promote health and fitness to all of its students.
The Sport England fund will see 11 new posts created at 12 colleges in the region.
A spokeswoman for Sport England said new figures showed further education college students play the least sport of young people aged 16 and over who are in education.
Research shows around 65 per cent of school pupils aged 16 and over do sport at least once a week, compared to 53 per cent of higher education students and 50 per cent of college students.
Meanwhile the college is celebrating being shortlisted for a Beacon Award in Sports.
The outstanding college was rewarded by the National Association of Colleges' award in recognition of their work in Sport in the Curriculum and the Community.
The award, the first of its kind for sports, puts South Devon College in the final few shortlisted colleges from 385 further education institutes nationally.
The winner of this award will be announced next month during the AoC's annual conference.
Matt Burrows, senior section head for sport and adventure, said: "I'm exceptionally proud the college's sport provision is being recognised in this way.
"To get this far is testimony to all the efforts from our students, staff and partners in the community with whom we work.
"We pride ourselves on the best use of innovative teaching and this is reflected in our learners' outstanding success rates."