DEVON Olympic athlete Jo Pavey today welcomed a move by Devon County Council to pledge more than £300,000 for grassroots sport in the county.
The council this afternoon confirmed its commitment to making the most of this summer’s Olympic and Paralympic Games by pledging £310,000 to a 2012 Legacy plan.
The announcement was made at a joint launch event with the County Sports Partnership, Active Devon, with whom the Council will be joining forces to implement the plan.
East Devon-based Pavey said: “It’s always good to see investment in grassroots sport and in this instance, utilising the excitement and focus of London 2012 to create a lasting legacy for the people of Devon.
"I am really excited about today’s announcement which will benefit so many people across our county and enable them to get involved in sport in whatever role they choose and at their own level.”
In the announcement Councillor Roger Croad, Cabinet Member for Environmental and Community Services acknowledged the significant contribution that physical activity can make to the health and wellbeing of people and communities.
Cllr Croad said “We know the powerful influence which sport can have in people’s lives and the positive contribution it can make to local communities.
"The benefits of people choosing active lifestyles are not confined to physical and mental wellbeing but extend to much wider social and community benefits.
"London 2012 brought the whole country together and, working with Active Devon, we now have a golden opportunity to bring the legacy to life in Devon.”
Active Devon Chief Executive Matt Evans added “We are delighted by Devon County Council’s announcement today which represents really good news for grassroots sport in Devon.
"It will put investment in place until at least 2015 and enable us to help more communities to deliver sports activities.
“We will use approaches like those we have developed in the successful Active Villages programme to help communities to help themselves. We will extend the development of sporting opportunities for disabled people and support delivery of events for young people. And really importantly we will help to train and develop the volunteers who are so crucial to sport in our communities.”
In the last two years, the Active Villages programme has reached 85 parish communities offering nearly 8,000 Devonians activities in 35 different sports.
As the Torch Relay made its way through the county Active Devon was instrumental in bringing local bodies together to embark on the Devon School Games Festival programme which has already seen 5,500 young people taking part, 500 as volunteers.
And by the time the closing ceremony of the Paralympics took place more than 430 local volunteers had been trained as coaches through a successful coach bursary programme.
The Autumn Ability Games in Barnstaple, part of the Devon School Games, was chosen as a fitting event at which to launch the Legacy Plan as more than 200 young disabled people were competing on the day in a Paralympic-style celebration of sport.
The launch event also included a celebration to pay tribute to Devon’s athletes, event volunteers and officials and acknowledge the contribution they all made to this year’s Olympic and Paralympic Games.