Steven Pienaar visited Lifestyles Ellergreen in Norris Green after training on Tuesday afternoon to find out more about Active Me, a National Lottery Funded initiative delivered by Everton in the Community and Liverpool City Council.
The event served as the official launch to Active Me, a three-year initiative to encourage adults with learning disabilities, the deaf and hard of hearing and blind and partially-sighted, to get involved in a variety of sporting activities.
Whilst at Lifestyles Ellergreen, Pienaar met with various representatives from partner organisations as well as the Lord Mayor before learning about one of the sports on offer in the Active Me programme, handball, and getting involved in one of the taster sessions with the participants.
Figures show that only 22.6 per cent of people living in Liverpool with a limiting disability – around 3,200 - are involved in physical activity once a week. Active Me will target this sector of the community, with the intention of increasing interest in sport and recreation and aims to get 200 adults who are currently sedentary into an active lifestyle by offering them weekly sports sessions in a safe and comfortable environment such as athletics, dance, badminton and swimming.
Speaking after his time at the launch, Steven said: “Everton in the Community has a fantastic reputation and track record in disabled sports development and this new programme is a chance for us to reach out to even more people with limiting physical disabilities and help them to realise their sporting ambitions.
“It is a fantastic opportunity for people in our local community who may lack confidence in playing sports to try something new, get fit and make friends.”
Assistant Mayor and Cabinet member for leisure, Councillor Wendy Simon, said: “We want to be able to eradicate any barriers which could prevent people with disabilities taking up a sport, and support them in trying something which may be new to them.
“Through Active Me, we want to see an increase in the number of people involved in physical activity every week. We’re delighted to have so many have signed up since December and hope to encourage even more to take part.
“We’re committed to increasing inclusive sports participation at every level and with this new initiative hope to create a legacy of lifelong sport for disabled people.”
There are currently six sessions each week taking place at Lifestyles Ellergreen, Everton Park, Garston, Peter Lloyd and Walton. A team of ‘Activators’ are on hand who will give one-on-one support to participants interested in accessing a particular sport, building their confidence and being on hand to give them advice and help them become as sporty as possible.
The National Lottery funding of £334,000 was awarded to Liverpool City Council by Sport England’s Inclusive Sport Fund through their ‘Places People Play’ programme and is available as a result of the Olympic and Paralympic legacy.
Everton in the Community runs the largest and most respected disability football programme in the world, which provides football and physical activity opportunities for thousands of disabled children and adults each year.