Ice skating has taken off at local rinks across the country thanks to a multi-million pound initiative introduced by the National Ice Skating Association (NISA).
NISA Development Manager Matt Lloyd launched the Sport England initiative, Sportivate, across a number of ice rinks across England including Birmingham, Altrincham and Gosport.
The initiative, which is Lottery funded, aims to encourage youngsters to participate in sport.
NISA, the UK ice skating governing body, is dedicated to increasing participation in the sport and Sportivate has helped boost the numbers of young people getting involved over the last 12 months.
Birmingham has been particularly successful and thought to be the best performing Sportivate programme in the country across all sports. Over the past six weeks, more than 140 14 -25 year olds have taken part in structured skating sessions, which have clearly defined pathways to further participation.
Matt, 39, who was appointed by NISA last year to establish a new regional set up to support the development and advancement of ice skating, is pleased with the results.
He said: “Sportivate has been a massive success. We have really seen a boost in the numbers of young people at the rinks and many have chosen to carry on with the sport after the period of Sportivate coaching.”
Matt, who competed in ice sledge hockey at the 2006 Winter Paralympics, has introduced a number of events and schemes, as well as Sportivate, at club level to encourage development of ice skating.
A recent community games event in Birmingham attracted new 250 people to the ice and skating groups have also been set up specifically for young people with challenging behaviour, people with disabilities and young mums.
Matt is also working closely with the Impaired Skating project which is running a pilot international club competition for impaired skaters in Dumfries, thanks to a £10,000 donation from NISA’s Charitable Trust.
He said: “It is important to give everyone the chance to get involved with ice skating. Setting up events and classes that cater for certain groups of people might make the difference and give them the chance to have a go at a sport they may never have tried otherwise.
“NISA does a tremendous amount of work to develop ice skating in the UK, which includes working at club level to increase participation and provide opportunities for all members of the public to get involved, and it is working. We are really raising the profile of ice skating in the UK.”
Last Updated: 5th April 2012 5:31pm