No 10 Downing Street has recognised the Derbyshire Village Games project, which has organised dozens of community events including the successful Family Fun Sports Day in Whaley Bridge at the end of the Rose Queen Festival celebrations in early July.
The project, developed by the not-for-profit Community Sports Trust (CST), has received a Big Society award from the Prime Minister for “invigorating grassroots sport across rural Derbyshire and keeping the Olympic spirit alive in their communities.” The Whaley Bridge event was the latest in a series organised in communities across the county.
The No 10 statement said: “The vision for the project came from two Derbyshire women, Hayley Lever and Andrea Kemp, who ran sports schemes in their local communities of Chinley and Grindleford. An experienced sports consultant, Hayley felt a lot more could be done across the county to get people of all ages more active.
“Inspired by the success of their local schemes and combined with the enthusiasm of local people to get more active, the pair secured funding to employ a team of qualified Village Games coordinators to work closely with the six rural district councils of Derbyshire.
“The aim was to find out what local people wanted and help them set up accessible and affordable activities and events, using local facilities, such as Women’s Institute halls and community centres. Armed with that community insight the coordinators set about recruiting coaches, training volunteers, getting funding and publicising activities.
Prime Minister David Cameron said: “I’m delighted to give the Derbyshire Village Games Project a well-deserved Big Society Award for their tireless work in boosting participation sport across their local area. Through their inter-village competitions, festivals and events they’ve also been able to bring together people from different communities in the region together in a positive and healthy way.
“It’s organisations like the Project that will make the Olympic and Paralympic games endure for countless generations to come and I wish them every success in the future.”
CST founder board member, Hayley Lever (now director of Derbyshire Sport), said: “It’s a huge honour to receive this award. Our achievements reflect not just the hard work of our team and the support of our partners but above all the enthusiasm and dedication of volunteers and leaders in villages all over Derbyshire.”
Rose Queen Festival vice chair John Barnes said: “The Whaley Bridge event was a very good family day. We hope it can be developed for future years.”