West Suffolk MP Matt Hancock celebrates success of leisure project in Forest Heath

West Suffolk MP Matt Hancock tries his hand at table tennis Picture: PHIL MORLEY

West Suffolk MP Matt Hancock tries his hand at table tennis Picture: PHIL MORLEY - Credit: Archant

A Suffolk MP joined in with a host of activities in Newmarket last week as part of a celebration event for a lottery-funded leisure project.

The secretary of state for culture, media and sport also had a go at new age kurling Picture: PHIL M

The secretary of state for culture, media and sport also had a go at new age kurling Picture: PHIL MORLEY - Credit: Archant

Matt Hancock, MP for West Suffolk, and secretary of state for culture, media and sport, had a go at new age kurling, table tennis and exercising to music at Newmarket Leisure Centre on Friday.

The Keep Active programme in Forest Heath is a lottery-funded project awarded through the Community Sport Activation Fund supported by Sport England and is aimed at two specific age groups – 14-25 year olds and over 55’s.

These groups demonstrate the lowest levels of participation in sport and activity.

Mr Hancock said: “It is so important that sport and being active are a part of everyday life, especially for young people and also for those coming up to retirement age – we need to get those two groups to raise their activity levels.

Youngsters from IES Breckland School taking part in Keep Active celebration in Brandon Picture: PHIL

Youngsters from IES Breckland School taking part in Keep Active celebration in Brandon Picture: PHIL MORLEY - Credit: Archant


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“The programme from Keep Active is varied with a big range of activities, there’s something for everyone. I think it’s great – and a huge asset for the residents in west Suffolk.”

The celebration event saw participants from the over 55s join together in Newmarket while youngsters from IES Breckland School took part in a dance celebration at Brandon Leisure Centre.

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Warren Smyth, Abbeycroft Leisure’s chief executive officer, said: “This programme fits so well with our overall mission, to get people to lead a healthier lifestyle.

“We’re very grateful to our funding partners for their support with Keep Active and we intend to make a lasting and sustainable increase in sports participation for these target groups in Forest Heath.”

Andy Drummond, Forest Heath District Council cabinet member for Leisure and Culture, said: “Healthy and active families and communities are more resilient, and Forest Heath has made it a priority to do all we can to ensure there are opportunities for everyone in the district.

“The Keep Active programme also demonstrates how social and how much fun being active can be.”

Tony Bush, head of operations at Suffolk Sport, said: “We are delighted with the success of Keep Active in Forest Heath.

“Being involved from the start, using insight data to support Abbeycroft in the design and planning of the programme has enabled Keep Active to target groups that would benefit most by becoming more active.

“The most recent figures from the Active Lives Survey released by Sport England have highlighted a statistically significant 4.2% increase for Suffolk of people being active and achieving the chief medical officers guidelines of 150 minutes per week.

“I have no doubt that innovative programmes such as Keep Active have made a positive contribution to this positive outcome and will help to reduce the high levels of expenditure for the NHS and social care associated with physical inactivity.”

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