People encouraged to get fit for life at a celebratory Active Fenland event

PUBLISHED: 15:43 18 January 2018 | UPDATED: 15:43 18 January 2018

Val Thomas, Public Health Consultant at Cambridgeshire County Council, Fenland MP Steve Barclay, Cllr Michelle Tanfield and Sport England's Marie Hartley join March's Walking Football team at West End Park, March.

Val Thomas, Public Health Consultant at Cambridgeshire County Council, Fenland MP Steve Barclay, Cllr Michelle Tanfield and Sport England's Marie Hartley join March's Walking Football team at West End Park, March.

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Thousands more people could be encouraged to get fit if funding is successful to continue a pioneering active lifestyle project.

Fenland District Council's Sports Development Team, from left, Emma Geary, Lauren Bremner and Heidi Lemmon.Fenland District Council's Sports Development Team, from left, Emma Geary, Lauren Bremner and Heidi Lemmon.

Fenland District Council is looking for further funding to help deliver the next phase of Active Fenland.

The project was launched in 2015 with a three-year £250,000 grant from Sport England’s Community Sport Activation Fund.

It has encouraged inactive people to engage in physical exercise, create healthy habits for life and helped people make new friends – boosting people’s confidence and helping tackle social isolation.

North East Cambs MP Stephen Barclay, who played a key role in securing the funding, said: “The Government wants to target those who don’t usually get involved in sport and are out of the habit of keeping active, which is the very essence of what Active Fenland is doing.

MP Steve Barclay addresses the Active Fenland eventMP Steve Barclay addresses the Active Fenland event

“There is a huge appetite in Fenland for more sport and more activity and thanks to the work that people here today have put in we are in a very strong position for further funding.”

Councillor Michelle Tanfield, the council’s cabinet member responsible for sport and leisure, said: “Sports development is making an incredible journey in Fenland, empowering local communities to lead more physically active, healthier lifestyles with projects that are being led by and shaped by local insight.

“As a result we see how communities come together, in both work and play, and socialise as one. It is no longer about playing sport for sports sake, but using the value of sport to achieve so much more.

“I have no doubt that these projects and the new ones to follow will be successful, benefit many individuals and be sustainable for many years to come.”

Active Fenland project leaders, coaches, community groups and participants join local dignitaries and funders for the annual Active Fenland celebration event at the George Campbell Leisure Centre in March.Active Fenland project leaders, coaches, community groups and participants join local dignitaries and funders for the annual Active Fenland celebration event at the George Campbell Leisure Centre in March.

Marie Hartley, local Government relationship manager for Sport England, said: “Active Fenland is about tacking inactivity and representing those under-represented, hard to reach groups. It recognises the importance of physical activity, the positive influence it can have on people’s lives and the power it has to bring communities together.”

A celebration event highlighted what Active Fenland has achieved so far, and marked the launch of a new county-wide project, Let’s Get Moving.

The two-year project is an initiative between all Cambridgeshire local authorities funded by an £83,000 grant from Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council Public Health.

In Fenland, it will work alongside Active Fenland and build on its success.

Active Fenland project leaders at the celebratory event at New Vision Fitness in MarchActive Fenland project leaders at the celebratory event at New Vision Fitness in March

Almost 5,900 people have joined its activities in the last two-and-a-half years, from walking football, netball and ‘swimfit’ sessions to badminton, gymnastics and beginners running.

More than 7,800 sessions have been held across the district and more sports added including yoga,mindfulness sessions and buggy running.

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