Sporting Champion

Member Article

Paralympic football stars kicks off Solihull sports session

A Paralympic football star has helped to kick-off a project which aims to inspire Solihull youngsters to get into sport.

Alistair Patrick- Heselton, one of Britain’s top disability football stars, has helped to kick-off a Sportivate Innovation Fund football event at Old Bosworth School on Auckland Drive in Smith’s Wood, Solihull.

The 31-year-old, who is also a Sport England Sporting Champion, played for Queens Park Rangers as a youngster before a car crash left him with serious injuries.

Alistair now plays as part of the England seven a-side CP football team and represented Great Britain in the London 2012 Paralympic Games.

Throughout the football session, Alistair joined 18 youngsters out on the pitch where he was able to share his experiences and teach a variety of football skills.

The Cars Estate Sportivate Innoavtion project is part of the Sportivate programme – a Lottery funded Olympic legacy project which aims to create more opportunities for young people aged 11-25 and encourage them to develop a sporting habit for life.

Coventry, Solihull and Warwickshire Sport (CSW Sport) is delivering the Sportivate programme on behalf of Sport England across the sub-region and teamed up with Sports Structures to host the football event in partnership with The Big Local project which aims to improve the variety of community activities available in the Cars Estate area.

Alistair said: “I really enjoyed the football session and it seemed like the young people did too. A few of them were also eager to take part in extra sessions the next time I’m around which is really good to hear.

“We had a good kick around and one of the main things I was trying to do was show them the correlation between football and their communication skills. Communication on the football pitch is really important and hopefully I managed to sharpen their skills.”

He added: “The younger we encourage participation the better. It’s all about the grassroots, we were all children once and I think had I not had any inspiration or encouragement from people that were older than me then maybe I wouldn’t have stuck at it.

“This initiative is brilliant and CSW Sport and the other local partners are doing a fantastic job in encouraging all of these young people to take part in sport – I’m really glad to be a part of it.”

Luke Freer, of Coventry Solihull and Warwickshire Sport, added: “We had a fantastic turn out for the football session and all of the young lads had a great time learning new tips and tricks from Alistair.

“As a Sport England Sporting Champion, Alistair is helping to inspire young people to get involved in sport. Passing on his knowledge and experience is really important when trying to motivate the next generation of young sportsmen and women.

“The Sportivate Innovation Fund programme is proving a great success right across the sub-region with over 150 youngsters already taking part in a wide-range of taster activities.”

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Matt Joyce .

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