We are delighted that our partnership with Made By Sport has led to more than £45,000 being awarded to groups and clubs in Wiltshire and Swindon who encourage and inspire young people through sport and activities.

Made By Sport, a national charity that raises awareness of the power of playing and competing, chose to work with us because of our in-depth knowledge of the county’s voluntary sector. It wanted to reach groups working with young people to develop life skills, improve job prospects or reduce anti-social behaviour and crime as well as help them recover from the isolation and uncertainty created by the pandemic over the last 16 months.

Seventeen groups across Wiltshire and Swindon benefited from grants offering a range of sporting activities to children and young people ranging to sailing and American Football.

Shine Pinehurst was awarded £5,000 to run sports sessions for young people from low-income families on the estate as well as summer sports activities in Pinehurst. Friday Football was launched after a conversation with a mum and her 11-year-old son because she wouldn't let him out of the house because she was afraid he would be picked up and exploited by people involved in drug trafficking. The organisation hires the Astro-Turf at Swindon Academy to run the football sessions, which are organised by the youngsters themselves.

Chairman Simon Halls said: “The parents tell us that because our youth workers are there to ensure safety they feel confident about their children being looked after and that’s the difference the grant has made. The grant will also fund our summer sports activities in Pinehurst. Last year we had around 40 young people per session they were involved in running the sessions, getting the equipment out and registering people as they arrived. We’ll be doing it again but we’ll be doing it bigger this year thanks to the grant.”

Also among the recipients was Salisbury Fencing Club who were awarded £2,021 to help it recover from the pandemic by moving to a new larger venue at Sarum Academy and buying more equipment for its members. 

Coach Terri Westlake said “The club’s members have not met to fence together for more than a year because of Covid restrictions. Demand from existing members and our current waiting list demonstrate there is a clear need to improve accessibility to our sport in Salisbury." 

By siting our club in a more accessible area in Salisbury we will encourage young people to try fencing in a friendly and social environment, reducing anti-social behaviour in the area. Thanks to the grant we will also be able to offer concessionary or free of charge tutoring to disadvantaged children.”

Wiltshire Youth For Christ will use its £2,021 grant to help with the costs of its Summer Pop-up youth sports café, which set up in Devizes and Trowbridge during the holidays. The mobile café comes equipped with football goals, basketball hoops, and badminton as well as rock climbing and an assault course.

Project worker Steve Dewar “By encouraging the young people to join in with sports activities the our youth workers can be there to listen to their problems. We want to inspire and equip young people to make positive choices that affect their personal, social and educational development, to enable them to develop their voice, influence and place in society to reach their full potential. The pop-up sports cafes are not only a fun way to engage with them but also provides the best way to encourage them in an informal setting.”

“After a difficult year of fundraising the grant is very welcome. It will enable us to run more activities and to be able to create more opportunities for young people to enjoy themselves and be challenged as well. The support has given us the resource to do what we do at a time when we have struggled financially so we are very grateful.”

Wiltshire Community Foundation joint chief executive Fiona Oliver said: “Our thanks go to Made By Sport for this funding. We are really pleased and proud to have brought this money into the county. We’ve been inspired by the work described in the applications and delighted that the grants will be used to help young people recover from what has been a very difficult 16 months.

“Sport is such a universal activity that brings people closer together and gives them a sense of teamwork, achievement and enjoyment. We are fortunate that we have so many fantastic groups who are using the power of that to reach young people and change their lives for the better.”

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