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Cash boost for Olympic legacy in the Westcountry

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: October 17, 2012

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The Olympic Games are to have a lasting effect in the Westcountry after £310,000 was pumped into grassroots sports.

Devon County Council will pledge the money in a partnership with sports groups as part of a legacy plan to harness the excitement of London 2012.

The council will announce the funding alongside the County Sports Partnership and Active Devon today at a Paralympic-style celebration of sport, which is set to attract around 200 disabled youngsters.

Councillor Roger Croad, cabinet member for environmental and community services, said sport was a "powerful influence" in the wellbeing of people and communities.

"London 2012 brought the whole country together and we now have a golden opportunity to bring the legacy to life in Devon," he added.

Active Devon chief executive Matt Evans said: "It will put investment in place until at least 2015 and enable us to help more communities to deliver sports activities.

"We will use approaches like those we have developed in the successful Active Villages programme to help communities to help themselves," he said.

"We will extend the development of sporting opportunities for disabled people and support delivery of events for young people.

"And, really importantly, we will help to train and develop the volunteers who are so crucial to sport in our communities."

In the last two years, the Active Villages programme offered nearly 8,000 Devonians in 85 parish communities activities in 35 different sports.

As the Torch Relay made its way through the county, the group helped bring local bodies together for the Devon School Games Festival programme, which has already seen 5,500 young people taking part, 500 as volunteers.

By the time the closing ceremony of the Paralympics took place, more than 430 local volunteers had been trained as coaches through a bursary programme.

Distance runner, Olympian and Team GB member Jo Pavey, from Honiton, said the investment will benefit people right across the county.

"It's always good to see investment in grassroots sport and in this instance, utilising the excitement and focus of London 2012 to create a lasting legacy for the people of Devon.

"I am really excited about today's announcement which will benefit so many people across our county and enable them to get involved in sport in whatever role they choose and at their own level."

The launch event, at Barnstaple's Tarka Tennis Centre, will pay tribute to Devon's athletes, event volunteers and officials and the contribution they all made in the summer.

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