The Co-operative Group today launched a pledge to back the Government’s Public Health ‘Responsibility Deal’ to encourage more people to become more physically active. The Co-operative, which is already committed to inspiring young people to lead an active lifestyle, launched a pledge with its partner Activate Sport – the UK’s leading sports and activity camps for children – committing, by 2012, to:
• reach 20,000 through sports camps;
• double the number of camps to 500 across the UK.
To launch the pledge, golfer Lee Westwood and dancer Brendan Cole, whose specialist Academies are supported by The Co-operative, teamed up to give youngsters lessons in dance and golf, as well as swapping some professional tips with each other on the course at Rye Hill Golf Club, Banbury.
Other sporting stars backing the pledge include former England cricketer Andrew Flintoff, tennis star Annabel Croft, Welsh rugby player Shane Williams, England’s Rugby World Cup winner Matt Dawson and GB Hockey player and Olympic hopeful Crista Cullen – all of whom will be working with The Co-operative to achieve this pledge through their specialist Academies.
Simon Burns, Minister of State for Health and Co-Chair of the Responsibility Deal Physical Activity Network welcomed the new individual pledge on behalf of The Co-operative and Activate Sport.
He said: “This pledge on behalf of The Co-operative and Activate Sport is a great example of a major retailer working in partnership to promote a range of sport and physical activity opportunities for children and young people. This is particularly important for those children and young people from disadvantaged backgrounds who often face a range of barriers to participate regularly in sport and physical activity. Through the Public Health Responsibility Deal, I am particularly pleased to see The Co-operative and Activate Sport pledging to reach 20,000 children and young people in 2012 – an increase of 25 per cent and hugely important in the year in which London will host the Olympic and Paralympic Games. The potential long-term benefits are huge and extend well beyond health to improved self-confidence and better social interaction.”
Fred Turok, Co-Chair of the Responsibility Deal, Physical Activity Network, said, “I am delighted that The Co-operative has moved so quickly in setting the standard for business by making a core commitment to the health of the nation, giving opportunities to young people to increase their physical activity levels through their partnership with Activate Sport. It is crucial that we improve the nation’s health through physical activity and embed exercise into the DNA of business and the community. I urge other businesses to follow this example and begin to think about their own commitments and role in improving the health of the nation.”
Lee Westwood commented, “I’m passionate about seeing as many young people active and outside as possible, and through my Academy, I’m happy to be part of this pledge to help create these opportunities. To achieve this though, sport needs to be made accessible so increasing the number of camps, is a positive step towards changing the lifestyle of people in the UK. I will also be helping The Activate Sport Foundation and The Co-operative take golf into state schools across the UK, in a task to opening up the game to everyone.”
Brendan Cole, who has set up his own Dance Academy, has also committed to The Co-operative’s pledge to get people active. He said, “Dance can really help build a child’s confidence whilst getting them healthy and active; it’s a great way to work off some energy, particularly for those who aren’t into traditional sports. It’s also not just for girls – boys can get so much out of it too. I’m delighted to be able to help with the pledge to get more people active and I hope I can help inspire people through dance.”
Peter Marks, Group Chief Executive of The Co-operative Group, commented: “The Co-operative recognises the role it has to play in promoting public health, and we are committed to working in partnership with the Government through the Public Health Responsibility Deal. The pledge we are making in partnership with Activate Sport is part of our broader commitment to the Responsibility Deal, and will encourage young people to lead a more active and healthy lifestyle. The pledge is also part of our wider commitment to inspiring young people – locally and globally – with thousands of initiatives encouraging young people to help change the world around them.”
For further information on The Co-operative and Activate Sport pledge go to http://responsibilitydeal.dh.gov.uk/2011/03/10/co-operative-group-the/