Wiltshire Alternative Sports Partnership

YOUNGSTERS from across Wiltshire are being given the chance to try out alternative sports.

The idea behind the sessions, which are organised by the Wiltshire Alternative Sports Partnership, is to get children who would not take part in traditional games – such as football and rugby – to get active.

And the skateboarding session held at the Cricklade Leisure centre definitely seemed to be going down well with the attendees.

Teaching the boarders new tricks and giving them helpful tips was professional skater Geoff Else.

“It has been really good,” he said. “I’ve just been teaching them lots of different things.

“But the most important thing in skateboarding is balance and control so I’ve been showing them things that they’ll have done in PE, and will be able to relate to, that will help them.”

The scheme is part funded by Sustain the Plain Leader, a European Community initiative managed by Defra, to help rural communities improve their economic prosperity and quality of life.

Alex Muse, the sports development officer for North Wiltshire District Council, said they hoped to run more of the sessions around the district in the near future.

“We are hoping to hold a much bigger session around Easter when we will also be doing activities such as climbing and kayaking,” he said.

“We are using these taster sessions as a way of finding out what youngsters want to do and taking it from there.

“All the children that have taken part so far really seemed to have enjoyed themselves.”

The taster sessions got under way in Chippenham on Tuesday, when 18 teenagers got to try out parkour, the practice of negotiating obstacles such as walls, rails and buildings in flowing movements.

However the session has come under fire from parent groups who said it was “ludicrous” to spend taxpayers’ money encouraging children to take “silly risks” participating in the adrenalin sport.

Margaret Morrissey, of the National Confederation of Parent Teacher Associations, said: “We seem to live in a very strange world.

“On the one hand you have conker fights being banned and endless safety demands and on the other kids are being taught to jump off roofs.”

Nick Thrower, alternative youth sports co-ordinator for the partnership defended the session.

“It’s getting kids active who wouldn’t normally bother,” he said.

Source: This Is Wiltshire | Saturday 28th October 2006

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