Sport and leisure partners celebrate the Suffolk Community Games success!

Sport and leisure partners celebrate the Suffolk Community Games success!

Posted: Wed, 13 Jul 2022 13:57

Sport and leisure partners celebrate the Suffolk Community Games success!

After aspiring to create an inclusive event which would promote and encourage physical activity amongst local people, Active Suffolk, and key partners from the sport and leisure sector have celebrated the success of the Festival of Suffolk Community Games after months of planning and preparation.

The event which took place on Saturday 9th July invited school children and their families to access a diverse range of traditional and non-traditional activities including paddleboarding, climbing, BMX, skateboarding, archery, football skills, dance and circus skills to name only a few.

The day welcomed children from all corners of the county, including school children from the Red Oak Primary School in Lowestoft. Johnny Lee, PE coordinator from Red Oak Primary School said:

"We brought our Red Oak Pentathlon team to the event, and it has been a once in a lifetime opportunity for the children as they were able to follow the Queens Baton Relay which was carried around the track by local Baton bearers.

The children have thoroughly enjoyed the day and are feeling inspired to be more active.

I am proud of the children for getting involved and for many of them it has been the first time they have been able to experience activities like archery, BMX and skating. "

Although Active Suffolk took a lead role in organising the event, it would have not been possible without the funding from the overall Festival of Suffolk sponsor, Tru7 Group and the local authorities: Suffolk County Council, East Suffolk Council, West Suffolk Council, Babergh District Council, Mid Suffolk District Council and Ipswich Borough Council. It is also with huge thanks to our partners at Vertas that free transport was provided to enable participants from different parts of the county to attend.

Valerie from Halesworth attended the event with two of her children aged 9 and 12 year old, she said:

"Activities like these are often very expensive, especially when you have a couple of children, but today they have had the chance to try new activities for the first time including paddleboarding!

"The cost of diesel is now so high, so the free coach was great and made accessing these opportunities easier, plus it allowed me some time to read my book too!

"One of my daughters is beginning to struggle with her weight so it's important she is active. My youngest daughter is active during in the week, but it is great for her to have the opportunity to engage in such a variety of activities over the weekend. They have not looked at any of the activities and been uninterested, they've been excited to participate in it all and it's been a great day!"

In addition to the schedule of activities which were delivered from the Bury St Edmunds Leisure Centre and King Edward VI School site, local people were also invited to spectate the regional Special Olympics competition, Suffolk FA's football festival, plus the special visit of the Queens Baton Relay.

Organisers of the Festival of Suffolk Community Games were delighted to have been selected as one of the only local events whereby the Queen's Baton Relay would visit ahead of the Birmingham Commonwealth Games which begin later this month. Following its departure from the Abbey Gardens, the Queen's Baton Relay travelled around the athletics track, creating an electric atmosphere for the children and their families who followed in procession as it was proudly carried by local Batonbearers Di and Felix who had been nominated by their local community.

Following the excitement as participants and spectators marked a moment in history, activities resumed where more children were able to engage in the activities delivered by a number of partners including Inspire Suffolk, the Ipswich Town Foundation, Just Jay Dance, Explore Outdoor and Jets Netball Club to name a few.

Kelly Hamlin from Bury St Edmunds attended the event with her children. She said:

"We booked the paddleboarding and skateboarding and then decided to join the carousel of activities on offer too. My eldest son has ADHD so it is sometimes quite difficult to get him into activities, but the paddleboard instructors were really lovely.

I think the day has been absolutely brilliant and great that it is free. It has been so inclusive and great to have all children together enjoying a day like this."

Leo Smith, Professional BMX and mountain biker also attended the event to inspire the children by coaching them on the BMX pump track and demonstrating his skills and tricks. He said:

"I came from a low-income family and a skate park just popped up in my local area. At first, we didn't know what it was, we would slide on the ramps and jumps before actually seeing a couple of the older lads who had bikes ride there. I was massively inspired by them, and my first bike came from Facebook.

My aim of today has been to show the young people that this is a really versatile sport, and anyone can get involved."

The day concluded with a presentation for the Special Olympics, a performance by DanceEast and closing words by Lady Clare, Countess of Euston, Lord-Lieutenant of Suffolk.

Tags: Children, Children and Young People, Families, Festival of Suffolk, Inclusive, Queen's Baton Relay, Schools, Suffolk, Suffolk Community Games