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A healthy start for children & young people in Dumfries & Galloway


A blog post by Triathlon Trust volunteer Pete Shaw

I have now completed my first year as a volunteer with the Triathlon Trust and those of you who have read my previous blog posts will be aware of my amazement at the charity’s outstanding work giving children and young people the opportunity to experience multi-sport through fun, free participation events.

I wanted to tell you a bit about a special project they run in Dumfries and Galloway.

Dumfries & Galloway was chosen by the Triathlon Trust for a new initiative 5 years ago because children and young people living there face a lack of opportunity to lead a healthy and active lifestyle due to the challenges of rural isolation and deprivation.

Working closely with Triathlon Scotland, local coordinator Rebecca delivers fun, inclusive, accessible multi-sport activities for children across D&G in a variety of settings. Activities are aimed at 7-13 year olds, of all levels of ability and experience. Equipment including bikes and scooters are provided so that every child can take part.

Activities delivered across the region by Rebecca and a team of volunteers include working with schools; setting up after-school triathlon clubs and organising family-friendly swim, bike, and run events.

Mass-participation events held annually at Newton Stewart, Kircudbright, Sanquhar and Annan have attracted over 1,000 children each year. And Easter and summer holiday triathlon camps give children who enjoyed their first experience of triathlon the opportunity to improve their swimming, cycling, running and transition skills.

In June 2019, a new triathlon festival ‘Tri in Park Annan’ was launched, featuring a wide range of race formats attracting local triathletes, children and families, and club members as well as participants from Stirling, Glasgow and Carlisle.

The success of the D&G project can be credited to the hard work and skill of Triathlon Trust local coordinator Rebecca. I have met her on several occasions, and she is a great communicator, organiser and people person. She came to triathlon through modern pentathlon where she honed her equine and running skills. She is also a keen mountain biker.

The Triathlon Trust relies heavily on volunteers to help deliver activities, and local Young Leaders play a very important part, bringing their energy and youthful enthusiasm, not to mention hard work! The project builds on this and takes the involvement of young people to the next level. Through the British Triathlon Young Person Tri Activator course, and local volunteering opportunities, young people gain the skills and knowledge to lead activities in their own schools and communities.

The Triathlon Trust is proud to work with local partners including local tri clubs, the Holywood Trust, the Gannochy Trust, Westsound Radio Cash for Kid and Aldi Scottish Sports Fund. Together, they have made D&G a hot bed of multi-sport activity and opportunities for children, young people and families.

The project has been independently evaluated and I would encourage a look at the report: https://www.triathlontrust.org/changing-lives/our-impact/d-g-evaluation-report

The work the Triathlon Trust does across the region is innovative and of great value to local children and the community, and I believe there is huge benefit from the multi-faceted offering of the Triathlon Trust in Dumfries and Galloway.

Looking ahead, ensuring the continuing provision of after-school clubs, young volunteer courses and events such as Tri in the Park is the next challenge - but the willing participants are there and they are all keen to swim, bike and run!

If your triathlon/ swim/ cycling/ running/ youth club/ school/ or organisation is interested in getting involved in the D&G project then please get in touch with Rebecca for a discussion at rebeccabryson@triathlontrust.org

And if you’re local – don’t miss out on Tri in the Park Annan 2020 – there’s races for all ages and abilities, from seasoned triathletes to total triathlon newbies! All profits from the event will help deliver the D&G project to continue to provide fun, inclusive activities for local children and families.

Click here for more info: http://bit.ly/Triintheparkannan2020

Pete Shaw, Triathlon Trust volunteer

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