Active Villages

Devon Active Villages Project

We were absolutely delighted that the Devon Active Villages project was shortlisted as a finalist in this year’s National Lottery Awards. To be recognised alongside six such fantastic projects is a real honour and is a tremendous achievement for all the partners and local people in Devon who have contributed to helping the project achieve such an impact. The projects selected as finalists show what a valuable contribution sport can make in so many different ways in so many different communities and they all deserve great credit.

Of course we’re disappointed that Devon Active Villages wasn’t the winner this year but our wholehearted congratulations go to Us Girls, a great project which richly deserves this accolade.

Devon Active Villages is a development programme which supports village communities in Devon to provide long term sustainable sports participation opportunities. The Active Villages concept is positioned in the introductory/informal sport segment of the market and is aimed at getting people into sports participation. Its main purpose is to offer people of all ages opportunities to experience the fun of sport. It is designed neither as a specific ’public health’ initiative to deliver health based physical activity interventions nor a ‘sports excellence’ programme aimed at identifying talented performers who wish to engage in serious competition. Although both of these may be incidental outcomes, the main aim is to offer people opportunities to experience the fun of sport and in so doing build a lifelong love of being active and healthy. The project therefore principally addresses Sport England's GROW objective.

The project will work by:

  1. Identifying what opportunities each local community wants
  2. Providing support to “kick start” activities
  3. Supporting people within their communities to sustain the opportunities

Whilst the primary objective is to improve people’s rates of participation in physical activity and sport there will also be a number of other outcomes such as developing strong, sustainable and cohesive communities, improving health and reducing health inequalities, improving the life chances and focussing the energies of children and young people, creating safer communities by reducing anti-social behaviour and increasing skills and prosperity.

The Active Villages programme has an offer for people of all ages from primary school children to adults. It is built around:

  • Specialist support to help communities identify those opportunities they would like and would be most appropriate.
  • Initial funding support to help in the establishment of activities (eg towards equipment, facilities, training etc)
  • Training programmes provided for volunteers within each community to enable them to sustain activities.
  • Initial promotion and provision of activities for a 12 week period – the Active Villages programme could typically comprise an after school club aimed at primary school children, a youth sports offer for young people of Secondary School age and then an adults’ programme
  • Regular mentoring visits to support communities’ volunteers
  • Access to bespoke ‘self help’ resources such as promotional support and materials, on-line tool kits and activity starter packs.
  • Potential links to 2012 Olympic Legacy programmes

The project represents an ambitious collaboration between a wide range of key partners. It is principally funded by Devon County Council, Sport England and Active Devon and will be strategically co-ordinated by Active Devon. National Governing Bodies and local stakeholders throughout Devon have contributed to the development of the project and will play a critical role in successful delivery of local opportunities.

The programme is planned to last for 3 years from September 2010 to September 2013. Development of appropriate programme support resources and to work with local communities to identify their priorities will start from April 2010.