Sport cash boost for women confirmed

A BUMPER grant of £275,000 has been given to a local project aimed at getting more women into sport.

The Observer revealed at the end of last year that Hastings was in line for the cash and Hastings Borough Council confirmed yesterday (Thursday) that its bid had been successful.

The money, which has come from the National Lottery and Sport England, is part of a £10million national warchest earmarked to encourage more women to take up sport.

Currently far more men take part in regular exercise than women, with the gender gap particularly prevalent in poorer communities, like Hastings.

The money will go to the local authority’s award-winning Active Hastings team under a new banner of Active Women and future projects will also take in nearby Sidley and Bexhill.

A trio of community sport workers will be funded by the grant and run a mixture of taster sessions and regular classes as subsidised prices - similar to the hugely successful Active Hastings.

Eight sports have been chosen, including swimming, netball, table tennis and badminton, and there will also be opportunities for as many as 30 new sports coaches and 60 volunteers to work on the project.

Mindful of the fat the scheme is targeted at under-privileged locals, the authority plans to hold sessions across town to cut down on transport costs.

There will also, in many cases, be a free creche supplied and play sessions for older children.

Councillor Trevor Webb, Hastings Borough Council’s head of leisure, was delighted to receive the cash boost. He said: “We are very pleased with the funding Hastings has been awarded.

“Giving the women of Hastings the opportunity to participate in physical activity is an extremely worthwhile project.”

And Jennie Price, the chief executive of Sport England, was equally hopeful the money could be put to good use. She said: “For many women with children or those managing a tight budget, sport – and time to themselves - can slip down the list of priorities.

“The projects we’re funding today have asked local women what is preventing them from getting involved and what sports interest them, before coming up with an offer that is appealing and accessible.”