Cash bonus to help get women to exercise

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A CASH boost of almost £300,000 is set to be given to Hastings to help tempt more local women into taking up sport.

Sport England is expected to hand over a bumper £275,000 to Hastings Borough Council, with the local authority already planning to start working with neighbouring Rother, the local NHS and Orbit House Assocation to help increase the physical activity of women in 1066 Country.

The cash will fund a three-year-long project, Active Women, which will be run as part of the award-winning Active Hastings scheme.

And the hope is that by putting on new sessions and getting out further into the community, the fitness team can encourage more women living in local areas of deprivation to take part in sport.

Women who are responsible for children under 16 will also be targeted – with the project based in Hastings and St Leonards, central Bexhill and nearby Sidley.

The council applied for the cash after recent studies found that fewer women participate in sport compared with men.

Just 13 per cent of local women take part in 30 minutes of sport three times a week – compared to 20 per cent of men. The data also revealed that only 30 per cent of women take part in sport once a week, with 37 per cent doing so once a month. The figures are even worse in areas of high deprivation, such as Hollington or Ore Valley – with seven out of 10 women playing no sport at all.

However, according to the research, a large chunk of those women not regularly taking part in sport would like to but feel the opportunities are not there.

Which is where the Sport England cash will hopefully come in.

The money will help fund three Active Women officers who will run the project and work with existing sports clubs to try to help more women get involved.

They will also work with the council’s existing play development team to offer more creches linked to sports to help the problems of finding or affording childcare.

Councillor Trevor Webb, head of leisure at the authority, was hopeful the cash would be forthcoming. “We are very optimistic about getting the grant,” he said.

“Giving the women of Hastings the opportunity to participate in physical activity is a great project.”

Sports that local women said they would like to take part in included swimming, netball, rounders and badminton.

The Active Hastings team has previously been praised for starting up pole-dancing lessons to encourage women into exercise.