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Local Sportivate Participant Charlie Harris wins National Sports Legacy Award

MASONS SPORT ENGLAND 21

Charlie Harris from Padstow has won Gold in Sport England's second annual Sportivate awards in recognition of her outstanding contribution to sport.

Sportivate is Sport England's National Lottery funded Olympic and Paralympic legacy initiative, which gives 14- to 25-year-olds who weren't active in their own time, the chance to find a sport they enjoy. The young people are then helped to find a club or venue where they can keep taking part.

Awards were presented at a ceremony at the House of Commons to recognise some of the amazing Sportivate projects happening around the country and the young people benefitting from the Sport England programme.
Charlie won Gold in most outstanding participant category and was presented with a plaque and certificate by Sport England's Parliamentary Fellow, Tracey Crouch MP. Charlie also received complimentary tickets to the Sainsbury's Anniversary Games in July at the Olympic Stadium, courtesy of the National Lottery.

Charlie was nominated for this National Award after initially winning the South West Sportivate Participant of the Year Award (Regional), Charlie said "I never really had an interest in doing sport until I tried the Sportivate sessions at the Zero Gravity Gymnastics Academy.  Now I've got a passion and I just went for it.  I'm really honoured to have been named South West and National Participant of the Year.

The only sport Charlie had done before was playing football irregularly. This project gave her the chance to try out a sport where the initial training isn't available locally. Charlie completed introductory coaching sessions in Parkour and Urban Acrobatics, and is now taking part in more sport every week, having continued with her youth club The Zero Gravity Gymnastics Academy in Saltash, Cornwall.

Charlie's new love of Parkour has seen her try out and learn new fun fast urban acrobatics and somersault skills using gymnastic apparatus and foam landing pit which Charlie now practices on a regular basis whilst out with her friends. There have also been lots of other benefits since joining the project as Charlie used to get in trouble after hanging out with the wrong crowd. Now her confidence has grown and she's made new friends with other people in the project.

The changes haven't stopped there - Charlie has also taken a more active role in the local youth club, taking on paperwork, finances and organising activities and fundraising events for both the youth club and a local hospice, Cornwall Hospice Care.
Charlie said, "It's something different and really exciting to do, rather than just being stuck at home doing nothing. I really want to carry on, it's been so fun.  My next ambition is to organise more activities, trips and fund-raising events so that more young people in our community can join in and have the opportunities and experiences that I have had since joining."

Hosting the award ceremony at the Houses of Parliament, Tracey Crouch, Member of Parliament for Chatham and Aylesford, said: "The Sportivate Awards are a great chance to recognise some of the best projects and young people getting into sport for the first time. Hearing the different personal stories and about the projects was fantastic as well meeting the young people inspired into sport thanks to Lottery investment."
Rona Chester, Chief Operating Officer of Sport England, said: "I am delighted that we are able to celebrate and recognise the outstanding projects and people involved in Sportivate. Sportivate is a hugely successful programme and this is reflected by these fantastic award-winning people and projects"
Tim Marrion Partnership Manager for the Cornwall Sports Partnership added "It is great to see Charlie and the Padstow Enterprise Youth Club being recognised. This has been a really successful project for us that demonstrates the power that sport can have to not only develop communities but also individuals. This national success also enables us to celebrate the legacy of London 2012 here in Cornwall."
Charlie is one of over 225,000 young people have attended Sportivate sessions and 190,000 have completed their coaching sessions - 83% of which are still playing the sport three months later.

Sportivate is being delivered by the network of 49 county sports partnerships, working with local clubs and providers. It is part of the official Olympic legacy programme and will benefit hundreds of thousands of young people until 2017.

If you are buddy volunteer or sports club that wants to get people aged 11 to 25 more active then please visit our Sportivate Page.