‘No one gets left on the bench’ - Festival of Sport ensures fun for all

A child having a go at archery at Festival of Sport 2021

Archery is one of the many sports on offer during Festival of Sports - it's an inclusive sport that can be enjoyed by children from a young age including those with physical disabilities - Credit: Festival of Sport

A sport-focused family festival at Holkham Park this August aims to help children of all ages and abilities to find out how much fun sport can be. 

Festival of Sport, taking place across the weekend of August 12-15, includes sessions for children aged between 5-17 across dozens of different sports, from traditional team sports to individual pursuits regardless of age or ability, making it as inclusive as possible.  

Founded by rugby legends Will Greenwood and Austin Healey, the festival’s underlying ethos is that "no one gets left on the bench".  

Core sports include those that most children will already be familiar with like football, rugby, hockey, netball and athletics. Alongside those are additional sports that children can choose to take part in as an option, including several that rely less on speed and strength and more on mental focus. 

Children having a go at battle games at Festival of Sport 2021

The list of sports on offer during Festival of Sport includes some more unusual options like battle games - Credit: Festival of Sport

One of those is archery, and local club Wymondham Archers will be returning to Holkham to run sessions across the weekend.  

Archery is an inclusive sport that can be enjoyed by children from a young age, including those with physical disabilities who might struggle to take part in alternative sports. 

Pete Hill, chair of Wymondham Archers said: “At all levels, archery is a sport where disabled and able-bodied athletes and all genders, young and old, can compete on level terms. Festival of Sport is a fantastic opportunity for youngsters to give it a go with qualified instructors on hand. It requires focus and concentration, and is often a sport that kids that aren’t traditionally ‘sporty’ do really well at.” 

Children having a go at rowing at Festival of Sport 2021

Rowing is one of the sports on offer at Festival of Sport, and Paralympian rowers Tom and Vicki Aggar will be on hand across the weekend to coach and motivate youngsters - Credit: Festival of Sport

Paralympian rowers Tom and Vicki Aggar are among the sporting stars that will be on hand across the weekend to coach and motivate youngsters in rowing as one of the optional activities.

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Tom made history in 2008 when he was crowned as the first-ever arms-shoulders men’s single scull Paralympic champion in Beijing. He also won bronze at Rio 2016 and is a four-time world champion. His wife Vicki is also a former Paralympian, bagging a bronze medal at Beijing in 2008, as well as two world championships. 

Co-founder Will Greenwood said: “It’s hugely important to us that we can offer something for everyone, so literally no one gets left on the bench. 

“That’s why we choose a wide range of sports that include team and individual sports, and have loads of additional activities for under 5s and grown-ups. We want everyone to love sport as much as we do and this is a great way to try out dozens across one weekend.  

“It’s really helpful for younger kids that have yet to find ‘their’ sport, and it’s also quite interesting to see that just because you’re good at one sport, doesn’t mean you’ll be good at them all – you've only got to watch Austin playing hockey to see that!” 

Children having a go at boxing at Festival of Sport 2021

There are lots of sports to try out at Festival of Sport, including boxing - Credit: Festival of Sport

Optional sports in addition to archery and rowing include golf, kayaking, laser run, battle games, trampolining, dodgeball, judo, dance and boxing.  

“It’s not about finding the next Mo Farah or Jess Ennis-Hill – it's about having a fantastic family experience, trying something new and just having a whole weekend of fun,” said Will. 

And when it’s time for a break from the sport, there's entertainment across all three nights of the festival, including open-air cinema on Friday and live bands on Saturday and Sunday, plus a Food Village, talks, exhibitions and grown-ups vs legends games mean that there’s plenty to keep everyone busy.  

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Festival of Sport will run from August 12-15, 2022, at Holkham Park in north Norfolk.  

Tickets for the full weekend are on sale now, at £370 for one adult and one child aged 5-17 (under 5s go free). Additional adult tickets are £160, additional child tickets £210. Tickets include access to the event and full programme of sports sessions for children, plus activities for all and entertainment on all three nights. Accommodation on site starts at £70 for three nights for a tent or campervan pitch, or ready-erected bell tents from £250 (three nights, up to six sharing).

Find out more at www.festivalofsportuk.com