Pupils at a Rochdale school are setting off on their own Road to Rio journey after rubbing shoulders with some of Britain’s London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic stars.
Redwood Secondary School joined over 65 other specially selected champion schools at Birmingham’s Villa Park last Wednesday as part of the Get Set for Community Action national training day.
Created by the British Olympic Foundation and British Paralympic Association and made possible due to the Big Lottery Fund, the new UK-wide programme aims to help thousands of 14-19 year olds to strength relationships between young people and their communities.
As well as being offered support and ideas to play a community project using the Olympic and Paralympic Games values as their inspiration, the pupils were also joined in Birmingham by four-time Olympian and former sprinter Christian Malcolm and London 2012 para-rowing champion David Smith who offered their own expert advice.
Shane Eastham, 14, was one a handful of Redwood Secondary School pupils in attendance and, after meeting Malcolm and Smith, he is now bursting with ideas for his local community.
“We haven’t got a pledge yet but we are really excited about getting back to school and figuring out what we are going to do,” said the Year 9 pupil.
“The day was great and it was nice to mix with the other schools and get some ideas about what we could do.
“To see the athletes come down was great and it was nice to meet them and get the chance to speak to them.
“It’s all from the Olympics and that’s something we remember and something that was really great so it’s nice to keep it going.
“We’ve met a lot of nice people and hopefully we can come up with something good now.”
With less than ten months to go until the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Rio, pupils will be able to help build pride and excitement in the lead-up to next summer.
And while Malcolm will not be competing in Brazil having retired from athletics in 2014, the Welshman had relished reliving his Olympic memories by supporting the new programme.
“The Get Set for Community Action initiative is very good at trying to engage the wider community and builds upon the legacy of 2012,” he said.
“The fact that you have got so many schools here from different areas and different backgrounds here, and they can take these ideas home into their community is great.
“I have been impressed with how enthusiastic they have all been at the session and they have been coming up with some great ideas.”
Get Set for Community Action is a new UK-wide programme for young people and their communities created by the British Olympic Foundation and British Paralympic Association and made possible thanks to the Big Lottery Fund. To find out more visit: www.getsetaction.org.uk