Teens get a sporting chance to achieve the best they can

The Oxford Times: Sophie Lordan, 12, left, and Emily Day, 14, at the roller disco Buy this photo » Sophie Lordan, 12, left, and Emily Day, 14, at the roller disco

A PROJECT to help thousands of teenagers make a success of their lives by taking part in sport has been officially launched.

Oxford City Council’s Youth Ambition programme is designed to get young people off the streets, off drugs, and help them be the best they can in school.

On Friday the council officially launched the sports element of the programme with an evening of free sports and games.

The Oxford Times:

  • Craig Horne, 17

More than 700 young people joined in basketball, table tennis, dodge ball and street dance at the home of Oxford Hoops basketball team, the former Royal Mail warehouse on Holloway.

The event, which ran from 2pm to 7pm, also included a roller disco, a graffiti wall, and a Big Brother-style diary room where young people could record feedback on the day and give their suggestions as to what else the council should be doing for young people.

Sophie Lordan, 12, who went along with her friend Emily Day, 14, to try out roller blading, said: “We were a bit nervous to start with but we had a fantastic time and we were really glad it was on.”

The Oxford Times:

  • Mikel Silva, 18, shows off some bike skills

The council has been running sports sessions in Barton, Blackbird Leys, Cutteslowe, Wood Farm and Rose Hill since June, but Friday was the official launch.

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The Youth Ambition programme will run for the next three years, and has been partly funded by Sport England.

It was inspired by research carried out by charity Sported, which found that young people who have more active lifestyles are less likely to end up using drugs, and are likely to have better academic attainment.

The Oxford Times:

  • Kai Logan, 14, looks in control on the volleyball court

Project leader Courtney Warden said: “The event on Friday was absolutely great, the atmosphere was amazing.

“Most of the young people were asking if we could do it every Friday.”

Youth Ambition is currently running free sports sessions every Friday night in Blackbird Leys.

For a full list of all upcoming free events go to oxford.gov.uk/communitysport

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