December 11 2013 Latest news:
Monday, September 23, 2013
A rallying cry has been made for businesses to help save a Norfolk-wide competition which brings dozens of communities together.
This year’s Village Games proved to be the most successful with 16,000 people from 181 villages taking part.
Over the months leading up to the grand final, villages bonded as they formed rounders groups, netball clubs and football tournaments.
More than 2,500 people then took part in the final at the UEA Sportspark in Norwich where they jumped, threw and ran their hearts out to help their village win the Village Games title.
But the future of the project is under threat as its funding from Sport England is due to come to an end at the start of next year.
Now, organisers Active Norfolk are looking for sponsors to help continue the Village Games.
Vicki Hall, marketing and communications officer for Active Norfolk, said: “It is aimed at getting rural communities more physically active but this is just one of its many benefits. Local village halls and fields are getting extra usage, with villages running sports clubs and rounders tournaments and local pubs are getting an increase in business as families head there afterwards. This project really does impact on local community life.
“The feedback from all who are involved is that this project must continue and we really would like to continue working in partnership with local communities and deliver a lasting village games legacy.”
Active Norfolk had received up to £4m from the National Lottery to run the Village Games for three years.
The organisation is offering bronze, silver and gold sponsorship packages, starting from a £3,000 annual investment.
In return, businesses will receive a number of benefits including advertising, promotional exposure at events and roadshows and their names on the trophies.
News of the funding issues has come as a disappointment to a number of the villages.
Lisa Vincent, from Ashwellthorpe, said: “The Village Games have more far-reaching benefits than being just a local sports event.
“They go a long way to bringing communities together and helping people stay not only physically active but also mentally and emotionally well.”
Potential sponsors should call Active Norfolk on 01603 732333.