Sport excellence scheme for north Norfolk youth funded for a third year

Pupils taking part in a SCOE event at Gresham's School, Holt. Photo: NNDC

Pupils taking part in a SCOE event at Gresham's School, Holt. Photo: NNDC - Credit: Archant

An innovative north Norfolk sports project has received £20,000 of funding to continue for a third year.

North Norfolk District Council (NNDC) agreed to grant the money to the Sporting Centre of Excellence (SCOE) at a meeting held on Monday, July 9.

The SCOE was set up to provide young people with top-quality coaching in endurance running, cricket, netball and hockey, at excellent facilities, and has been described by the foundation Sport England as 'innovative and demonstrating best practice'.

More than 150 young people attended coaching sessions during the programme's first two years in operation.

And at the NNDC cabinet meeting, councillors heard that the first two years of the project had seen all participants improve.

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Every north Norfolk secondary school is included in the scheme, based at Gresham's School, Holt.

Many young participants, aged 11-14, have been selected to represent Norfolk in sports, with some competing nationally.

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Ten athletes have represented Norfolk at cross-country, with one girl finishing third out of more than 400 competitors in the national championships.

Three boys have reached county standard at cricket and have been invited to the county squad and training sessions.

Most of the netball players have been invited to join high-standard netball teams.

One boy has been identified as a naturally-gifted hockey goalkeeper, and has been invited to join a top Norfolk hockey club.

Cllr Becky Palmer, NNDC leisure portfolio holder, said: 'It's the only one in the country of its kind and I think it's been a remarkable scheme over the two years that we've had so far.'

Cllr John Lee, NNDC council leader, added: 'I have enjoyed presenting certificates to runners, cricketers, netball players and hockey players over the past couple of months.

'The vast majority of children wouldn't otherwise have had the chance to use these facilities.'

Cllr Sarah Butikofer, NNDC Lib Dem group leader, said: 'I'm delighted the council has decided to continue to support this fantastic initiative, which helps so many of our young people to realise their sporting potential.'

Cllr John Rest, NNDC independent group leader, said: 'It is perfect timing to secure funding for the sports stars and athletes of the future.'

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