Residents in communities across the country are being given the opportunity to keep active and gain confidence through sport thanks to a unique partnership between Sanctuary Housing and Sport England.
The five-year project, called Love Sport, is one of the first collaborations of its kind between a housing provider and the sports body. It will see the delivery of sport and fitness sessions to residents in four key locations, as well as the provision of support to help residents set-up their own grassroots clubs.
Taking place in Sheffield, Torbay, Chester and Banbury, activities are being delivered with the support of local partners and tailored to the needs of each community.
Sanctuary has pledged £254,000 to the programme which has been match funded by Sport England, through National Lottery investment, to help deliver the sport and activity sessions.
Sessions will not be designed with just fitness and sport in mind. They will also provide people with the opportunity to engage with their community by meeting others and developing skills, such as leadership and mentoring.
Leading the way
Sanctuary is hoping to use the project as a springboard for similar programmes. In the third year it plans to encourage other housing providers to get on board by demonstrating how they can help facilitate sports sessions for the benefit of their local communities.
Simon Clark, Sanctuary’s Group Director – Housing and Support, said: “We’re proud to have led the sector in championing sport and other fitness related activities in the communities in which we work. Following our initial success with Sanctuary in Sport, this new partnership with Sport England will enable us to deliver even more activities for our residents.
“We would encourage other housing associations to get involved. Through these programmes we’ve found wide ranging benefits for communities, such as increased engagement with our residents and a reduction in incidents of antisocial behaviour.”
Sport England's Director of Property, Charles Johnston, added: “We are delighted to be working with Sanctuary on this innovative project to get more local people playing and benefiting from sport. The new partnership will allow us to reach more communities to promote the benefits of an active lifestyle and act as a model for other housing providers by sharing best practice from the programme.