Sports Van programme from Sheffield City Trust is expanding and reviving local communities

A new youth sports programme is aiming to provide free, fun and inclusive activities for Sheffield communities.

The Sports Van project, which has been launched by Sheffield City Trust, provides food and basic-need supplies for children at each session. It is non-facility based and works closely with city councillors.

Karen McGowan, the councillor of Birley Ward in south east Sheffield, said: “The youth club has started and it is an absolute take off.”

The Sports Van programme has also helped people in the area to play active roles in the programme and feel their value in their own communities.​

Amanda Adlington, 36, is a stay-at-home mum and a resident of Scowerdons in the south east of Sheffield. She is one of the initiators of the community programme and is currently helping with the youth club at Scowerdons Community centre on Tuesday evenings from 4pm to 8pm.

Ms Adlington said she felt she had been “paid a million pounds” to do all this. She said: “It makes me feel absolutely amazing. It makes me really happy to see all the little smiling faces.

“This is the place for a child to go and they can be 100 per cent a child here.”

Ms Adlington said: “I have got three children myself. My children have nothing to play with. They have to play in the woods and play with rubbish.”

There used to be three parks around the neighbourhood but they were all replaced by new housing. 

The Sports Van programme was launched last summer and delivered 23 sessions per week for six weeks​ across 19 various locations in Sheffield​. 

The total attendance for the programme reached a total of 5,325, with an average of 887 attendance per week. 

Ms Adlington also shared her future picture of this community centre. She said: “I want this place for everybody in the community, not only for children. This is just a nutshell, I want it to be bigger.”

Looking to the future, the Sports Van programme aims to maintain current community partnerships​ and continue to develop new community links. This would include indoor delivery​, youth clubs​, community hubs​, community sports clubs and warm spaces through the cold months​.

Written by Rose Xu

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