Debbie launches Sports for All initiative

15193697_1864151183820011_2827782574710901955_nI have launched a new initiative called Sports for All at Oldham Leisure Centre with the help of rugby league legend, Kevin Sinfield MBE and Labour’s candidate for Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham MP. Other local people working with me on the scheme include former Oldham Rugby League and Great Britain international, Terry Flanagan and Councillor Shaid Mushtaq.

I partnered with the Rugby Football League who are working to widen participation in Rugby League in the Oldham area. I’ve launched my Sports for All campaign because sport can play a key role in building social cohesion in communities as well as developing resilience and teamwork skills in young people. 

I’m particularly looking at widening participation for young people in rugby league and cricket, both of which have great traditions in Oldham and Saddleworth, and we’re targeting youngsters from all backgrounds and of all abilities. 

I’m looking forward to working closely with the Rugby Football League, local sports clubs, schools and community groups from across the borough and hope they’ll get in touch with me to take part.

Kevin Sinfield enjoyed his coaching session at the leisure centre, which involved youngsters and their families playing tag rugby together, and said afterwards: “I’m delighted to be working on this project with Debbie who I know is a big sports fan.

“It’s really important young people have the opportunity to enjoy sport and socialise with people from across all communities in their area. 

“Sport brings people together and it’s a way for young people to have fun, learn about working as part of a team and a great way build resilience and confidence; not to mention getting fit and staying healthy!”

Andy Burnham MP, Labour’s candidate for Mayor of Greater Manchester said: “This is a great project and I think Debbie’s really tapped into something important here so I’ll be watching closely to see if it’s something we can role out across other areas in the Greater Manchester region.

Schools or organisations that want to get involved or find out more about Sports for All can contact me on

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