City stars Joe Murphy and Adam Barton check out SBitC's On the Ball programme...
Coventry City first team stars Joe Murphy and Adam Barton have been checking out a holiday programme that helped children take part in a range of sporting activities across the city.
The Sky Blues in the Community team were awarded a grant last October by Children In Need to deliver the ‘On the Ball’ project in the city to eight to 18-year-olds, who may otherwise not get the chance to access sporting opportunities.
The project will take in every school holiday between now and 2015 and during the recent Easter holidays, more than 600 children took part in free sports activities at ten locations across Coventry.
Murphy and Barton went along to Sydney Stringer school to see the positive effect the project was having on kids there, while other first team players such as John Fleck and Callum Ball were out and about elsewhere seeing the work that Sky Blues in the Community does across the city.
David Busst, joint head of Sky Blues in the Community, said: “On the Ball has been designed to helped youngsters who would normally miss out on sporting opportunities to access them for free.
“We received funding for the project last October and already we are seeing the positive difference it is making across the city.
“In total, there were 689 children who accessed the programme across the city during Easter at locations such as Hillfields, Willenhall and Foleshill.
“Part of the remit is to help reduce crime and encourage volunteering in the city but the biggest factor is just to get kids playing sport, improving their health, wellbeing and enjoying themselves.
“It aims to give kids the chance to take part in sport when normally they wouldn’t have the opportunity to get involved with organised events such as these.
“The feedback has been fantastic and families across the city have expressed just how grateful they are for us delivering this project to their area.
“The first team players who have been to see the work have been taken aback by the enthusiasm of the children. We have set the benchmark for ourselves now and the aim is to continue building on this success at each school holiday.”
Partners in the project include BBC Children in Need, West Midlands Police, the Community Safety Partnership, Coventry City Council and the Positive Youth Foundation.
As well as the On the Ball project, Sky Blues in the Community was also delivering its popular ‘World Cup’ events throughout the Easter holidays with more than 500 children attending across Coventry and Warwickshire, as well as Saturday clubs and elite trips.
“The team’s efforts over the Easter holidays are just a small part of what Sky Blues in the Community does throughout the year,” added Busst.
“But the fact that we have delivered sport to nearly 1,200 kids across the city and county in just two-and-a-half weeks shows the positive impact we have.”