£32m. National Lottery cash helps Burnley youngsters get into sport

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BURNLEY youngsters are finding a new passion for sport under a £32m. National Lottery coaching scheme.

Young people in the town have joined thousands across the region in Sport England’s Sportivate programme.

The Lancashire Sports Partnership-led scheme offers young people six to eight weeks of high quality and subsidised sports coaching. Scores of 16 to 25 year olds have been getting involved in a range of sports including athletics, trampolining, golf and tennis.

The idea is part of the Olympic and Paralympic Legacy initiative, and hopes to get more young people playing sport and staying active.

Charlotte “Pinky” Pitman (23), from Burnley, decided to try a Sportivate boxing session with Sandygate Boxing Club.

She said: “I never thought in a minute I’d take to boxing. I went for fitness and ended up loving every second.”

Adrian Leather, chief executive of Lancashire Sport Partnership, said: “Sportivate has been fantastic for young people across Lancashire. Through our strong sport networks we have offered some really exciting and diverse sports activities that have inspired hundreds of young people to take up sport regularly.

“Lancashire has been recognised as providing some of the best quality and most engaging opportunities for young people across the North-West.

“We are really looking forward to working with young people who are excited about the Olympic and Paralympic Games by delivering even more exciting opportunities to participate in sport.”

All those who complete a sports course, missing no more than one session, and then continue to play sport for at least three months will have the chance to enter a ballot for free London 2012 tickets.

Sport England has hundreds of Olympic and Paralympic tickets available for Sportivate participants via the London 2012 Ticketshare initiative.