Over £30,000 funding provides knockout sporting opportunities for Stainforth

A vital and innovative community project in the town of Stainforth is celebrating receiving £30,927 from People’s Health Trust raised by Health Lottery Yorkshire and Humber.

By Stephanie Bateman
Wednesday, 21st April 2021, 10:09 am
Updated Wednesday, 21st April 2021, 10:32 am

The funding has allowed them to revitalise a community struck by COVID-19 and begin tackling economic exclusion.

The Stainforth Outdoor Activity Project, operated by Sport for Good CIC has used the funds to transform a phenomenal outdoor space for use, attracting the support of boxing brothers Jamie and Gavin McDonnell. The aim of the project is to keep all ages in this former mining community fit, sociable and aware of their own abilities.

The outdoor project in Stainforth came on the back of another activity in the local youth group.

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Members taking part in boxing classes with Stainforth Outdoor Activity Project pre lockdown

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From this, it became apparent that there wasn’t much for adults to do in the area despite efforts to entertain and educate their kids. According to Shaun Ireland, Operations Director at the Stainforth Activity Project, there was a gap for him and his colleagues to provide a socialisation programme.

Sport for Good has two key component parts. The first, direct delivery, helps organise and carry out wellbeing and sporting activities including football and boxing with vulnerable young people in deprived communities. The second is a role more akin to advocacy, working with professional boxers, rugby players, cricketers and jockeys and policy professionals to enhance the funding and promotional standing of community sports. This is particularly important in former mining communities like Stainforth in need of healthy, worthwhile activities to rally around. These components come together in projects like Fight for Good, which aims to improve lives through the

personal and physical betterment brought on by boxing.

Sport for Good CIC who established the Stainforth Outdoor Activity Project work with younger people in the community to provide sports activities such as boxing, trampolining and football.

However, this project came from a desire from parents to also take part in activities and reconnect with their community.

Shaun Ireland, Operations Director at Stainforth Activity Project said: “The peer-led set up of the project has empowered those who take part to keep involved. During the pandemic for example, we were still having chats and finding ways to carry on the project despite the circumstances.

“The members had free reign on what they wanted to do, they suggested virtual classes and enacted it. It is a real example of community values, we’re a facilitator for them.

“It has been a challenge recently, not getting out from day to day, but we’ve done our best to keep people happy, mentally well and fighting fit”.

Stainforth has a proud mining heritage and the community experienced high levels of job losses and economic issues when the coal mining industry was wiped out in the 1970s and 1980s. This fallout of the loss of the mining industry has been felt in many areas, including a lack of regeneration in the village which has left young people without activities to take part in.

Martin Ellice, Managing Director of The Health Lottery, said: “We at the Health Lottery understand the impact that supporting communities can have. Using money raised by Health Lottery Yorkshire and Humber, People’s Health Trust have been able to fund projects like the Stainforth Outdoor Activity Project which help support local communities.”

In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Liam Hoden, editor.