Date published: 31st May 2017

North Norfolk District Council’s project to create a Sporting Centre of Excellence has been a huge success and is set to enter a second year.

The first year pilot project saw more than 70 young people aged 11 to 14 attending 24 weeks of coaching at Gresham’s School in Holt. They were given specialist coaching across four sports - hockey, netball, cricket and running. The project has been funded by NNDC and supported through the council’s sports and leisure team. It has been hosted by Gresham’s, which has high quality sporting facilities.

Successes included:

Nine athletes selected to represent Norfolk in cross country;

A haul of medals at the Norfolk Track and Field Championships at the UEA Sportspark recently which included four golds, three silver and two bronze;

Three cricketers picked for county squad training sessions;

One hockey player spotted as a naturally gifted goalkeeper and invited to join a top Norfolk club;

Two netball players invited to join a high standard team;

All participants showed improvement.

The aim of the project is to recruit young people with the potential to excel in a sport and give them an excellent coaching experience and the opportunity to achieve their sporting dreams.

Now NNDC’s Cabinet will meet on June 5 to discuss approving a £19,000 budget to pay for the second year of operation, which will start at the beginning of the academic year in September. If the project is given the go ahead, there will be approximately 40 spaces for new participants, with a focus on attracting Year 6s coming to the end of their primary school education and about to move to their first year in high school.

Young people can be nominated either by school staff or by parents. There will then be a selection day where participants will be chosen for the sessions.

Cllr Maggie Prior, North Norfolk District Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, said: “Year one has been a resounding success both in terms of individual success and in terms of the whole group improving their skills and abilities.

“The project has demonstrated a great need to deliver high quality sports coaching to the young people of North Norfolk, bridging a gap between participation and performance.

“Sport England has said the project is innovative and shows good practice, so there is formal recognition from the experts that this is a fantastic scheme.”

All of the district’s secondary schools have had representation in the scheme.

If you would like to take part in the selection trials for the coaching sessions, or nominate someone to do so, please contact Wyn Nurse on 01263 516035.

Last updated: 16th August 2017