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Thursday 14 November 2013

Derby County stars pitch in to encourage sports

Players show skills at tennis, golf and other sports for Premier League 4 Sport event

Players from Championship club show sporting skills at launch of club's Premier League 4 Sport programme

The success of Premier League 4 Sport since its formation in 2009 has allowed the programme to grow not just in terms of the number of sports that it provides but also in the clubs who can deliver it to their local community.

  What is Premier League 4 Sport?
PL4Sport uses the power of the football club brand to engage and encourage children to participate in other sports. It has recently expanded to 12 sports and is delivered by 34 football clubs. The programme received a boost in the form of a new £16.8m partnership between the Premier League and Sport England to 2016

Derby County, of the Championship, have become one of 16 clubs outside those in the Barclays Premier League to sign up to deliver the PL4Sport programme which is aimed at getting more people aged 14-25 into physical activities.

The East Midlands club kickstarted its project with an event at the club's Training Centre with a host of first-team players joining schoolchildren in lending their hands at different sports.

Thanks to a new £16.8m partnership between the Premier League and Sport England, four new sports – golf, tennis, boxing and athletics – have been added to the eight Olympic, Paralympic and Commonwealth sports already on offer through PL4Sport - table tennis, basketball, netball, volleyball, handball, judo, badminton and hockey. The participants at Derby were able to try some of these, among them Derby captain Richard Keogh.

"When I was growing up, football was my main interest but there weren't many chances to try anything else and, as kids get older, playing sport can seem less desirable to them," said Keogh, who demonstrated his basketball and tennis skills. "Hopefully, it was good for the youngsters to see some of the players trying the sports, too, to make it more interesting for them."

Satellite clubs to promote sport

Under the three-year project Derby County Community Trust will set up more than 20 "satellite clubs" – an extension of an existing group or club. These satellites will provide links between schools and existing sports clubs and by making the practising of sports more informal, allow the coaching to encourage more youngsters to attend.

"We are absolutely delighted that we are now able to deliver within Premier League 4 Sport and look forward to working with national-governing bodies and partners to develop a sporting offer countywide that leads participants into lifelong participation in sport," Simon Carnall, Head of Community at Derby County Community Trust, said.

"Premier League 4 Sport has widened our delivery network and broadened our appeal"
Martin Crowder, Golf Foundation

One of the sports clubs involved with the project is the Derby Trailblazers basketball club and it is already proving a success.

"We set up our first satellite club at St Benedict Catholic Academy last week and had 12 people down there, one from as far away as Belper, so that was a great start," Trailblazers marketing officer Andrew Josephs said. "It's great for the club because we can help people enjoy basketball and, if anyone comes in showing aptitude for the sport, we can feed them into the main club."

Golf is one of the new sports poised to benefit from PL4Sport.

"Our Satellite Golf Club programme pilots have been really successful, but working in partnership with Derby County FC through the Premier League 4 Sport campaign has widened our delivery network and broadened our appeal," Martin Crowder, Regional Development Officer at the Golf Foundation, said. "We know how popular football is with young people, especially if it's opportunities from their local professional club, so to be included in this project as another sport for young people to engage with is really exciting."

For the schoolchildren there, not only was trying new sports enjoyable to do so alongside their local heroes was an added bonus.

"It was certainly an eye-opening experience," Henry Murray, of West Park School, said. "It also allowed us to participate in sports that we had never really tried before and have some of the best coaches in the county to help was really special.

"However, the highlight of the day was getting to meet and take part with some of the famous Derby County players. It was an experience I will never forget."

Clubs outside the Barclays Premier League with a Premier League 4 Sport programme

Blackburn Rovers; Bolton Wanderers; Derby County; Bristol City; Bristol Rovers; Leeds United; Middlesbrough; Nottingham Forest; Notts County; Plymouth Argyle; Portsmouth; Queens Park Rangers; Sheffield United; Sheffield Wednesday; Wigan Athletic; Wolverhampton Wanderers.

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