Plans are underway to keep Thurrock youth active

By Local Democracy Reporter

PLANS to keep Thurrock residents and young people active will be ramped up this year, and even more so in the aftermath of the pandemic.

Last night, Thurrock Council’s Cabinet discussed the Active Places Strategy said it aimed to help the borough to put sports first, as part of the local plan to provide improved sporting opportunities.

Councillor Joycelyn Redsell, who represents Little Thurrock Blackshots, said: “The youth in the borough need sports and especially at this time and when we come out of coronavirus, they will need it even more.

“I do not want to see this just on paper and want to see it taken forward.  Kids need sport in the borough – it keeps them off the street. I’ve been here before and have seen a sports strategy that didn’t come forward as it should.”

Councillor Aaron Watkins, Cabinet member for environment and sports and leisure, responded with saying an update on this will be brought forward this autumn, highlighting their current situation.

He said: “It’s imperative that we get it right – I’ve seen across the borough sports facilities that are no longer in use and the community don’t see the point of them being there. We need to engage with the community about trying to get them to do something – there doesn’t seem to be much appetite to do so.”

Targets for the plan have been set out which are expected to be achieved by the end of next April.

The plans are to start delivering the strategy later this year, for the Cleaner, Greener & Safer Overview and Scrutiny Committee to assess in the summer.

In line with the council’s consultation process, they will also aim to introduce a new resident and council led sports working group, looking at plans as part of the Active Place Strategy.

Mr Watkins added: “I want to see this strategy get stuff on the ground and make a difference. As part of that, after conversations with out sports and community groups I want us to work closely with them.”

Mr Watkins highlighted that 2020 has been met with multiple challenges as a result of the ongoing pandemic.

He said: “We need to get things back to where they once were when we safely can do so. We know this will not be easy and each day does bring on new challenges. “

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