Halton Borough Councillors, local Primary and High School Head Teachers and support staff, and local business owners, filled the old St Maries Church in Widnes for the Official launch presentation of ReSport Halton on Wednesday 1st February 2017.
A stunning venue, which has undergone extensive refurbishment and modernisation, is now the offices of Halton and St Helens VCA, and was the perfect location to launch the innovative ReSport Halton project which aims to remove all the barriers that local people face when they are trying to access sporting opportunities.
The ReSport Halton project will be delivered by the Cathie Stankevitch Foundation supported by local schools, businesses and Halton Borough Council and will engage with local people to encourage donations of used and unused sportswear and sports equipment.
The Cathie Stankevitch Foundation will also direct the funds raised from all 2017 fundraising events towards the ReSport Halton project specifically for the purchase of brand new sportswear and sports equipment, with the latter being used to deliver all-inclusive sporting opportunities for local disadvantaged children, young people and adults, who find it almost impossible to access sport in Halton, for a variety of personal reasons.
An area of high poverty, Halton has many families within its local communities that are living on a financial knife edge, struggling to live day to day, and by no means making ends meat.
After much consultation with local families living with entrenched poverty and in particular areas of high deprivation, the Cathie Stankevitch Foundation identified glaring needs and shortfalls in the provision of sporting opportunities for specific people living in our communities.
Halton has its fair share of sports clubs and sporting access points and while this is very much welcomed by the Cathie Stankevitch Foundation, we asked the question of many of the club committees and owners, ‘what happens when people cannot afford to buy the sportswear required or the correct equipment needed, or even when people are unable to afford membership costs or ongoing subs?’
In the majority of cases, the responses weren’t particularly positive. In fact, we found that the consensus was that the door would be shut on them!
We also found examples of local young people stopped from participating at sporting clubs that they had a long association with, because they had been unable to keep up with subs payments.
These such examples are certainly not isolated.
ReSport Halton will begin work immediately to set up ‘drop-off’ points across the Borough with almost all Leisure and Community Centres and many local Schools supporting the project. Local Co-Op stores will also join the fight for sports inclusion and will offer their local convenience stores as ‘drop-off’ points.
From there, ReSport will engage with teachers, parents and pupil communities in Halton to direct towards ReSport in order to gather further data which will support our provision of sports session delivery. We will also provide those in most need with access to the sportswear and sports equipment that we collect, to enable those people to at least have the very basics required, in order to take part.
Once we have enough information to create the inclusion opportunities, sessions will be rolled out as a matter of urgency, to give the disadvantaged of our communities the opportunities to get active.
We anticipate that the ReSport Halton project will have a huge impact locally and will see a big upsurge in the amount of people improving their physical health and mental health, as well as going a long way to reducing the figures for social isolation.