New free sports programme in Anchorsholme aims to keep youngsters active

Free football and basketball coaching sessions have been launched at Anchorsholme Park to get resort youngsters involved in healthy competition and help them maintain an active lifestyle.

Thursday, 26th August 2021, 12:30 pm

The sessions, available to children aged between eight and 16, were the brainchild of Anchorsholme councillor Paul Galley, who has previously spent time as a cricket coach in Zimbabwe.

He was inspired to make sports coaching sessions accessible for Blackpool's youngsters after discovering three of his former Zimbabwe cricket proteges had progressed to playing test cricket for the country.

Coun Galley said: "We created the programme based on the lessons I learnt as a cricket coach in Zimbabwe and recently saw three of the young children from that programme have gone on to play test cricket for Zimbabwe.

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Bispham councillor Paul Wilshaw (left) and Anchorsholme councillor Paul Galley have teamed up to bring an active lifestyle to resort youngsters with a new basketball and football coaching programme. Pic: Daniel Martino/JPI Media

"I just know that if we invest in our young people and give them the same chances and opportunities, we can create similar results.

"But best of all, we can give lots of young people on the Fylde coast lots of great experiences and opportunities to learn new skills - and ultimately become successful, happy adults."

Bispham councillor Paul Wilshaw is also supporting the sessions, with an aim to extend them to other parks in Bispham and surrounding areas in the future.

The coaching has been funded by a series of grants from Sports England, the National Lottery fund and One Stop, in addition to public donations.

Bispham councillor Paul Wilshaw (left) and Anchorsholme councillor Paul Galley have teamed up to bring an active lifestyle to resort youngsters with a new basketball and football coaching programme. Pic: Daniel Martino/JPI Media

Coaches from Blackpool Council's Active Blackpool have been brought in to deliver the sessions, ensuring they are accessible and free for all Fylde coast youngsters - regardless of where they live.

Football and basketball coaching is on offer for the time-being, but it is hoped boxing, cricket and tennis will be added to the bill next year, Coun Galley said.

Basketball coaching is held at Anchorsholme Park from 5pm to 6pm every Friday.

Football coaching is held at East Pines Park between 6.30pm and 8.30pm on Fridays, and at Anchorsholme Park between 5pm and 6.30pm on Saturdays.

No booking is required for any of the coaching sessions.

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