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UK Athletics

Grassroots Athletics roadshows kick off in Yorkshire

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Sam Ellis
Sam Ellis

UK Athletics has organised a series of eleven Grassroots Athletics roadshows across the UK in partnership with its No.1 sponsor Norwich Union which kick off on Wednesday 7 February in Yorkshire, to showcase the range of athletics programmes now offered to young people aged between five and 16. In addition, Norwich Union sports:hall finals and Norwich Union star:track events will be taking place at venues across the UK over the next few months.


Youngsters from Brooksbank School Sports College in Calderdale, West Yorkshire and local primary schools will have the unique opportunity to meet European Bronze medallist Sam Ellis, when they take part in the first Grassroots Athletics roadshow in Calderdale on 7 February. Other Norwich Union GB & NI team athletes will be making appearances as part of their UK Athletics athlete contract, at the Grassroots Athletics roadshows over the next six weeks.


Many of the current Norwich Union Great Britain & Northern Ireland team came through UK Athletics’ grassroots programmes, including Olympic Champion Mark Lewis-Francis, Olympic Bronze medallist Kelly Sotherton and Commonwealth Bronze medallist Jessica Ennis, who started her career taking part in a local Norwich Union star:track scheme.


The newest addition to the grassroots athletics package, Norwich Union elevating:athletics is

now the foundation for the delivery of athletics in schools. The multi-media curriculum resource has been designed to modernise the way athletics is taught in both primary and secondary schools.


The NASUWT is official co-sponsor of Elevating Athletics. Chris Keates, General Secretary said:

“Elevating Athletics will leave a lasting legacy for pupils across the UK and NASUWT is delighted to be backing it. The pack is a creative and practical resource for teachers, which will help them encourage and motivate youngsters to participate and achieve in athletics and develop a range of transferable skills for use in other sports.”


Tanya Veingard, Head of Sponsorship and CSR at Norwich Union said: "We have a strong heritage in athletics and are passionate about the sport - from helping to prepare future champions to increasing participation at grassroots level. Not all children can be World or Olympic champions, but sporting activity can help prepare children from all backgrounds with vital life skills such as improved confidence, discipline, motivation, behaviour and even academic attainment.


“Schemes such as ours develop teamwork and leadership skills together with all the associated health benefits of being active. With athletics being the root of all sports, we are in a unique position to champion this cause."


Norwich Union shine:awards has been running for six years and is now a well recognised award scheme that provides recognition for performance across four different levels, depending on age and ability. It is now delivered across the UK by hundreds of teachers, athletics coaches, after school club organisers and sports development officers. There is an integrated link between the Norwich Union shine:awards and Virtual Athletics, a new web-based concept which allows inter school competition without the need to travel, through an online results system.


For many young athletes, the next step from school athletics is to take part in Norwich Union star:track, traditionally a programme held during the school holidays to introduce young people to the full range of athletics events. To complete the package, Norwich Union sports:hall is an exciting indoor competition series that involves 12 regional and national finals for Under 13 and Under 15 year olds, culminating in the UK Final every year. Athletes are chosen to represent their county at the regional finals, which is a fun introduction to competitive athletics.


The UK Athletics Grassroots Athletics roadshows start in Yorkshire on 7 February and will visit 11 different locations before finishing in Bristol on 9 March.


To find out more about the Grassroots Athletics roadshows contact Graham Norris, UK Athletics Schools Manager.