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Swimming Sensation Celebrates Youth Club Windfall

30th Hydref 2013

South Tyneside World Champion Josef Craig MBE visited a local youth club today to celebrate new National Lottery funding which will allow it to extend its opening hours and offer even more activities.

The Gold medallist Paralympian met members of Bored in Boldon, where he delivered an inspirational speech about his London 2012 experience and joined in with Halloween themed pumpkin carving in the club’s own allotment.

Bored in Boldon, has just received £156,000 of National Lottery funding to enable it to open five nights a week instead of three from this November, offering activities such as sports, games and drop in sessions on health and careers.

Josef, who is one of 1,300 elite British athletes who benefits from National Lottery funding through UK Sport, said: “I have really enjoyed visiting Bored in Boldon and meeting everyone today. I think it’s really important that young people have groups like this where they can get together to try out new things and get advice when they need it.

“National Lottery funding has helped me get where I am today as a swimmer and it’s nice to see how other young people on Tyneside are also benefiting. Everyone who plays The National Lottery should be really proud of the difference they make to local communities.”

During Josef’s speech to the group he spoke about overcoming his own personal setbacks, including being diagnosed with Graves’ disease in 2011, to become a world class swimmer.

The 16-year-old from Jarrow, who suffers from cerebral palsy, was the youngest British athlete to win a gold medal in the London 2012 Paralympics and this summer came home from the World Championships in Montreal, Canada, with two gold and one silver medal.

Cheryl Spamer, Bored in Boldon’s project coordinator, said: “Josef’s speech was truly inspirational and he is a brilliant role model for our members. We’re so pleased he was able to take time out of training to visit us and get a flavour of some of the wide range of activities that take place at Bored in Boldon.

“Not only does the youth club provide a place for young people to get together, we encourage them to take part in community activities such as using the skills they’ve developed in our allotment to help older neighbours who can’t look after their own gardens. We’re delighted we’ve been awarded National Lottery funding to offer opportunities like this. Josef’s visit has been the perfect way to celebrate.”

Bored in Boldon, run by South Tyneside Positive Activities and Targeted Youth Support Group, was awarded its grant through the Big Lottery Fund, which distributes part of the £35 million raised every week by National Lottery players to community groups and charities.

Josef is a member of UK Sport’s National Lottery funded World Class Performance Programme, which enables athletes to train full time and have access to some of the best coaching, facilities and support staff in the world.

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