Northampton’s top professional sports clubs are joining forces for the first time in over a decade to encourage more children to participate in sport.
The Cobblers, the Saints and the Steelbacks will be collaborating with Barclaycard and Northampton Borough Council to deliver a schools-based programme that combines three sporting disciplines and digital development into a single project.
From September, primary schools across the borough will get the chance to supplement the curriculum with professional football, rugby and cricket coaching as well as computer coding lessons delivered by Barclays Digital Eagles. The programme will include 6 weeks of PE lessons delivered by the professional community coaches at the clubs linked to a digital session with Barclaycard.
The programme currently has funding to run until spring 2018 and the partners hope that around a third of the primary schools in the borough will have an opportunity to participate during that time.
Paul Devlin, community manager with Northampton Town Football Club, said: “Northampton Town Football in the Community are very excited to be involved in this ground breaking schools programme, having all three professional clubs working together to deliver in schools for the first time will provide a unique learning experience for children.
“We would like to thank Barclays for providing the digital expertise and the Borough council for their support in allowing us to promote the benefits of sport to young children.”
Michael Knight, Digital Eagle lead for Northampton at Barclaycard, said; “Our Digital Eagles work in local communities to give people the opportunity to learn and embrace digital skills, from sending an email, skyping family or learning how to bank online. We’re now expanding that support to include coding – so people of any age can take advantage of the opportunity to learn the emerging language of the new digital economy.”
Head of community with the Saints, Connor Fleming, said: “We’re excited to be partnering up with the Cobblers, Steelbacks, Barclays Digital Eagles and Northampton Borough Council with this project.
“Northampton is the only town in the country to have professional rugby, football and cricket clubs, and a project like this gives youngsters the opportunity to try all three of them. We’ve got excellent relationships with primary schools in the town and are looking forward to seeing this grow in the future."
Ray Payne, Chief Executive of Northamptonshire County Cricket Club, said “We are delighted to be working with both the Saints and the Cobblers to deliver this programme for the children of Northamptonshire. Sports education is so important”
Northampton Borough Council secured the funding for the project via the community facilities and activities programme.
Councillor Brandon Eldred, cabinet member for finance at Northampton Borough Council, said: “We have outstanding professional clubs in Northampton so who better to introduce our children to sport?
“I’m grateful that each of the partners involved is willing to commit the time and energy to give our young people access to opportunities many might otherwise never have.
“We’ve secured funding until the spring but we’re hoping to be able to secure more funds to be able to continue the programme after that point too.”
Any school in within the borough that wants to take part in this exciting new programme should email Paul Devlin at Northampton Town FITC via firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.