Council receives £280,000 grant for families project

Published Friday, 25th May 2018

HARTLEPOOL Borough Council has been awarded a £280,620 grant by Sport England for a four-year project that aims to bring families closer together through sport and physical activity.

The project is one of 22 nationally to receive National Lottery funding via the Families Fund.

Led by the Council’s Preventative and Community-Based Services division, staff will work closely with colleagues in Public Health and Children’s Services as well as a range of external partners, including StreetGames and Tees Valley Sport. It is hoped new partners will come on board as the project develops.

Councillor Christopher Akers-Belcher, Leader of Hartlepool Borough Council, said: “It is great news that we are to receive such a large sum of money and I would like to congratulate everyone involved in putting the bid together.

“The project presents us with a fantastic opportunity to engage with up to 350 low-income local families, respond to their needs and get them involved in a range of free and fun activities that promote good social, mental and physical well-being.”

A full-time Project Co-ordinator and a part-time Families Activator will be recruited, but there are also plans to recruit a number of volunteers to support the project. Anyone who is interested can email

Gemma Ptak, the Council’s Assistant Director (Preventative and Community-Based Services), said that when in-kind match funding from partners is taken into account the total value of the project is £364,740.

She explained: “Local insight and consultation tells us that the main barriers to activity for low-income families in Hartlepool are accessibility in respect of transport, affordability, lack of education/awareness and apathy, compounded by social/emotional issues such as chronic long-term health problems and poor mental wellbeing.

“We aim to minimise these barriers by ensuring that what we offer is focussed on fun and enjoyment rather than ability or skill; affordable; hassle, risk and stress-free in that it is delivered in the right place at the right time; supportive of families participating together outside the home and educational so that families know the value and importance of being active

“Whilst we already have some ideas such as creating a network of “Sports and Activity Hubs” around the town, it is important that we listen to families so that initiatives provided through the project are what they want and need.

“We intend to stage a series of drop-in consultation events at a range of venues over the summer to enable us to effectively engage with people and understand what is required if the project is to be successful.

The initial focus of the project will be on the south of Hartlepool, including the Council’s Community Hub South in Wynyard Road, and it is intended that services will be rolled out to other parts of the Borough in subsequent years.