PUPILS at a Liversedge school are setting off on their own Road to Rio journey after rubbing shoulders with some of Britain’s London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic stars.
Spen Valley High School joined over 65 other specially selected champion schools at Birmingham’s Villa Park last month as part of the Get Set for Community Action national training day.
Created by the British Olympic Foundation and British Paralympic Association and made possible due to the Big Lottery Fund, the new UK-wide programme aims to help thousands of 14-19 year olds to strengthen relationships between young people and their communities.
As well as being offered support and ideas to play a community project using the Olympic and Paralympic Games values as their inspiration, the pupils were also joined in Birmingham by four-time Olympian and former sprinter Christian Malcolm and London 2012 para-rowing champion David Smith who offered their own expert advice.
Lily Wood, 14, was one of a handful of Spen Valley High School pupils in attendance and, after meeting Malcolm and Smith, she is now bursting with ideas for her local community.
“It is our aim to get more people in the community involved in sports,” said the Year 10 pupil.
“We have 25 leaders and I am one of them so we are hoping we can lead the project.
“We are hoping the event here will help us as much as we can to make sure our plans are in place.
“I think it will bring us together more and hopefully it will give more people opportunities to get involved in sports more.
“David Smith and Christian Malcolm show that your average person can achieve great things and keep focused with your sport.”
With less than eight months to go until the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Rio, the young pupils will be able to help build pride and excitement in the lead-up to next summer.
And while Malcolm will not be competing in Brazil having retired from athletics in 2014, the Welshman had relished reliving his Olympic memories by supporting the new programme.
“The Get Set for Community Action initiative is very good at trying to engage the wider community and builds upon the legacy of 2012,” he said.
“The fact that you have got so many schools here from different areas and different backgrounds here, and they can take these ideas home into their community is great.
“I have been impressed with how enthusiastic they have all been at the session and they have been coming up with some great ideas.”
Get Set for Community Action is a new UK-wide programme for young people and their communities created by the British Olympic Foundation and British Paralympic Association and made possible thanks to the Big Lottery Fund. To find out more visit: www.getsetaction.org.uk