Former Aston Villa star Ian Taylor is fronting Birmingham-based organisation Aspire Sports’ push to engage children in regular exercise. Alex Lawson went to find out how it is achieving its goals
Next month will represent one of the most crucial points in Midlands organisation Aspire Sports’ history. The body, founded seven years ago by Paul Griffiths and James Trowman, will deliver an Olympics programme across the UK to inspire young people into action. Aspire has the support of British heptathlete Louise Hazel in providing young people with the athletics programme which will see aspiring Olympians introduced to new sports.
While work in schools and through summer camps has provides the bulk of Aspire’s work, its football academy is a key pillar of its offering. The organisation has used football programmes in and out of schools across the footy-mad Midlands to engage with children. Former Aston Villa star Ian Taylor has led the organisation a for several years while ex-Birmingham City defender Michael Johnson also acts as an ambassador. Taylor himself has been more than a just a figurehead, providing coaching to youngsters at Aspire’s summer camps across six venues which are currently in full swing.
Aspire also has links with government and the NHS. Department of Health figures showed just 32% of boys and 24% of girls aged two to 15 meet the recommended guidelines of 60 minutes of physical activity each day last year.
The organisation is also gearing up for its annual Aspire Africa trip to Tanzania embarking on a mission to develop and educate local schools and communities in Africa through physical activity and sport. Children in UK schools also benefit from the link to peers in the East African nation.
So what does Aspire pride itself on? “The thought of giving back to the community and helping children and their parents live a healthier lifestyle is something which should never be underestimated or taken for granted,” says marketing co-ordinator Bhav Patel. “We feel we meet this characteristic of giving back not just to children and parents in the UK, but also globally with our organisation work.”
Aspire is not an organisation that stands still. It continues to work tirelessly to engage with new partner schools and recently announced a tie-up with Birmingham-based company Ignite Health and Performance. Ignite director and trainer Jon Ship is working with Aspire to deliver personal training, nutritional advice and massages to give free advice via Aspire Sport’s blog.
Ultimately, Aspire’s goals are simple – to train kids to enjoy sport and stay healthy.
Patel concludes: “We have ambassadors on board who are known internationally and not only help out with regular appearances but strongly believe in the brand and what we believe in.”
The Olympic legacy that is often discussed seems to already be in full swing at Aspire.
Tags: 2012 London Olympics, Aspire Sports, Community Matters, Ian Taylor, Louise Hazel, Obesity