Sport makers ready for play

Former track cyclist and Olympian Brian Steel, centre, during a team building task at a Sport Matters workshop, where volunteers promote sport, pictured at St John Rigby College, Orrell, Wigan
Former track cyclist and Olympian Brian Steel, centre, during a team building task at a Sport Matters workshop, where volunteers promote sport, pictured at St John Rigby College, Orrell, Wigan
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WIGAN’S quest to have the highest number of volunteer “Sport Makers” in the whole of Greater Manchester was given a big boost this week.

More than 100 St John Rigby College students became the latest volunteers to sign up to make sport happen in their community.

The 16 to 18-year-olds signed up to become Sport Makers following an induction at the college by former Team GB track cyclist Bryan Steel this week.

Steel, who won bronze alongside Bradley Wiggins in the cycling team pursuit at the Sydney Olympics in 2000, also helped the team to silver at the Athens Games in 2004

So far 250 people have signed up in the borough to carry out a minimum of 10 hours volunteering within their local communities

Inspired by the huge success of the Olympic and Paralympic Games Makers - those 70,000 volunteers who ensured such a smooth games - a national project called Sport Makers aims to continue the Olympic legacy though volunteering and by inspiring people to play sport.

In the borough, Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust’s (WLCT) Sports Development Unit are leading on the initiative.

Stuart Murray, Chief Executive of WLCT, said: “To see so many young people signing up to make sport happen in their communities is just wonderful.

“They can choose to organise something as small as a five-a-side game in their local park or get involved in much bigger projects. For these students it’s a wonderful addition to their CV and one that could help them find employment once they’ve qualified.”

Cabinet member for leisure Coun Chris Ready said: “One of our main aims as a council is to create a confident place with confident people and this initiative has a major part to play in that. Volunteering can increase confidence, creates a closer connection with the community and can lead to employment.

“We’re delighted the people of Wigan are leading the way.”

Oliver Gildart, 16, and Elliot Dainty, 16, both signed up at the St John Rigby event.

Elliot said: “I’m studying A-level PE so this really will be great for my CV but I also really want to make a difference. I’m planning to get involved in a range of sports to get more experience.”

Anyone over the age of 16 can join the Sport Maker programme which hopes to give those taking part the knowledge, information and connections to help make sport happen.

The project hopes more than 40,000 people nationally will sign up.

For more information call Rob Burrows at Wigan Sports Development on 01942 488495 or e-mail R.Burrows@wlct.org