The Chairman of East Dorset Council Cllr Malcolm Birr (front centre left) and the Mayor of Christchurch Cllr John Lofts (front centre right) with other guests and members of the Activate Coast & Countryside team at the project launch at Moors Valley Country Park and Forest

The Chairman of East Dorset Council Cllr Malcolm Birr (front centre left) and the Mayor of Christchurch Cllr John Lofts (front centre right) with other guests and members of the Activate Coast & Countryside team at the project launch at Moors Valley Country Park and Forest

The ‘Activate Coast & Countryside’ project has been officially launched at Moors Valley Country Park and Forest, following the award of £221,234 Sport England funding to the Christchurch & East Dorset Partnership last December.

Guests at the launch received a presentation from the Activate Coast & Countryside team outlining the wide range of activities that will be on offer. Also speaking at the launch were special guests Cllr Malcolm Birr, Chairman of East Dorset Council and Cllr John Lofts, the Mayor of Christchurch.

The project aims to improve the fitness and health of people living in the Christchurch and East Dorset area and builds upon the successful ‘Activate 1000’ project. A total of 15 activities for adults and families will be available for taster sessions and beginner courses including: cycling activities, health walks, orienteering, running, golf, pétanque, angling, rounders, canoeing and surfing and will incorporate a number of ‘community games’ to promote opportunities. Several activities are already on offer with the rest to follow.

Activities are being delivered from three high profile sites – Moors Valley Country Park, Highcliffe Castle and Kingston Lacy National Trust, Wimborne – as well as key community locations.

Cllr Malcolm Birr said: “We are very grateful for this substantial award from Sport England. It will enable us to build on the success we’ve already achieved with our Activate courses and deliver even more of them for the benefit of a large number of people in Christchurch and East Dorset.”

Cllr John Lofts said: “We all know how important it is for people to get regular exercise but sometimes it’s not so easy to get the motivation to do it on your own. The courses that will be funded from the Activate project will give people the chance to try different activities to see which ones will suit them best. They will then be encouraged to continue with their chosen activity through a clear progression pathway.”

The project aims to engage with approximately 1,800 new people each year. Due to the wide scope of activities included in this new project, a host of new partners and contacts has been developed including local clubs, organisations and national governing bodies of sport. The National Trust, The Forestry Commission and Dorset County Council are key partners in the project.

The funding was via Sport England’s ‘Community Sport Activation Fund Award’, which is part of their 2012-17 Youth and Community Strategy which seeks to stimulate local sports delivery and help increase participation in sport for those people aged 14 and above.

More information and updates about Activate Coast & Countryside can be found online at www.moors-valley.co.uk, via the @activate_ced Twitter account and on the Activate Coast and Countryside Facebook page. The Activate team can also be contacted via email at activate@christchurchandeastdorset.gov.uk or by calling 01425 470721.

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