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Olympian Kenny Toasts Eastlands' Success

Olympian Kenny Toasts Eastlands' Success

Posted: 8th April 2009

On Tuesday 7th April, teenagers from a Greater Manchester cycle club were put through their paces by Olympic Gold Medallist Jason Kenny, one of the club's former members. Eastlands Velo Cycling Club, which meets at Manchester Velodrome, is celebrating gaining funding from the Government's Youth Capital Fund (YCF) to buy racing bikes, flags, helmets and racing equipment in order to train its young members to compete at the highest level. Some of the club's members have their sights set on the 2016 Summer Olympics.


Above: Jason Kenny celebrates Eastlands Velo's £18K award

Members of the club, including 15-year-old cycling enthusiast Lisa Daly, from Levenshulme, applied for two YCF grants totalling more than -18,000 to buy equipment. Now the club is training the stars of the future, including 14-year-old Matthew Rotherham, from Bolton, current holder of the national under 14s fastest roller racing record. Former members of Eastlands Velo Cycling Club include Bolton cyclist Jason Kenny, winner of a gold medal in the Beijing 2008 Olympics.

Jason Kenny said: "It's fantastic how cycling has really caught the interest of young people in Manchester since the opening of the Manchester Velodrome 10 years ago.

"I'm delighted that my old club Eastlands Velo has received funding from the Government's Youth Capital Fund to train up the next generation of Olympic winners. It's great to be here today and see first hand the talent that is out there in Manchester."

Eastlands Velo Club has more than 160 members, aged between nine and 16-years-old, who meet to train three times a week at the Manchester Velodrome. The club has received a YCF grant of £8,500 to buy bikes, clothing and racing equipment, and a further £9,800 YCF grant this year to buy 35 sets of racing rollers to put on cycling roller competitions, video equipment to track the young cyclists' training progress and three track tandem bikes so young disabled people can also train at the club.

Youth Opportunity Fund (YOF) and Youth Capital Fund (YCF) grants are administered by Manchester City Council and funded by the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) for positive leisure activities and events and facilities to improve the lives of young people. The ultimate decision about where the money is spent is made by local young people, who can apply for grants and also sit on a Youth Panel to decide who gets the cash.

Volunteer coach John Daly said: "We were delighted to receive the Youth Capital Fund grants, which hopefully will help us to train the next generation of Olympic medal winners here at Manchester Velodrome. The money is there for young people, so I'd encourage more people to apply for it. We are also very pleased that one of our former members Jason Kenny has come along today to meet some of Eastlands' current members and give them some advice and support on how they too could compete and win in the Olympics."

If you are a young person and would like to apply for a YOF or YCF grant, you can get more information by logging onto www.manchester.gov.uk. The money distributed is part of the Government's Aiming High for Young People strategy for positive activities, and more than £3.25m has been made available to young people in Manchester between 2008 and 2011. The purpose of the fund, which is administered by Manchester City Council, is to enable local young people to decide what positive leisure-time activities and facilities should be available to them and other teenagers and at times when young people most want them, such as Friday and Saturday nights.

Experience shows that young people are more likely to get involved in positive activities when they have a say in what is available, and that taking part helps them to learn new skills, as well as divert them from behaviour that might be considered by the wider community as anti-social.