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Coventry City's community scheme receives cash boost

Thu 15th Sep 2011 | Money & Finance

COVENTRY will get a healthy boost as Coventry City's community scheme Sky Blues in the Community (SBITC) has been awarded a grant for £9,536 to fund a project that provides regular sport and social activities for older people.

The presentation of the grant cheque will be made prior to the Sky Blues home game against Reading on Saturday 24th September.

The programme is part of the highly successful nation-wide Extra Time initiative that has been conceived and funded by two of the UK's biggest charities - the Football Foundation and Sport Relief.

The Football Foundation and Sport Relief joined forces in 2008 to create the Extra Time programme, with a joint £500,000 invested for its initial pilot. Through the power of football the Extra Time programme endeavours to drive up the participation of older people whilst delivering social inclusion and physical activity projects nationwide.In September 2010 Extra Time was extended by a further two years due to its success and now runs 30 community schemes across the country.

The programme has engaged around 1,000 older people in their local areas and as a result of Extra Time, 70% said that they found everyday tasks such as climbing stairs easier; 75% had made new friends; and 21% used the health services less.

With the Ricoh Arena being an Olympic venue, Sky Blues in the Community's sessions will incorporate promoting physical activity amongst the over 55 age group by offering taster sessions in a number of low impact Olympic and Paralympic sports.

David Busst, Community Manager at Sky Blues in the Community said: "This is a unique opportunity for us to work with the over 55's using the Olympics as a background to provide activities and exercise and engage this group in our work.

"The project will also provide the opportunity for more social activities for the over 55's and we will be inviting them to attend the Ricoh Arena on a number of occasions for matches, tours and events.

"We are working with a number of key partners locally to deliver this project, including Age UK Coventry and Coventry City Council, and hopefully the football club and Olympic fever can offer something attractive to compliment the many projects that are already out there for older people."

Kevin Cahill, Chief Executive of Sport Relief, said: "For a number of years Comic Relief has awarded grants that help older people across the UK get access to the support they need. Extra Time is providing a valuable service for a great number of older people across England and Wales, improving their health and fitness as well as strengthening social and community links."

Paul Thorogood, Chief Executive of the Football Foundation, said: "I am delighted that Coventry City has been successful in getting funding towards an Extra Time project for older people. This will improve the lives of men and women in the area over-55, by improving their health through sport and by creating social networks, which can be just as important."

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