College rub shoulders with the stars

Joscelyn Murgatroyd

Joscelyn Murgatroyd

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Pupils at Milton Keynes College are setting off on their own Road to Rio journey after rubbing shoulders with some of Britain’s London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic stars.

Milton Keynes College joined over 65 other specially selected champion schools at Birmingham’s Villa Park last Wednesday as part of the Get Set for Community Action national training day.

Created by the British Olympic Foundation and British Paralympic Association and made possible due to the Big Lottery Fund, the new UK-wide programme aims to help thousands of 14-19 year olds to strengthen relationships between young people and their communities.

As well as being offered support and ideas to play a community project using the Olympic and Paralympic Games values as their inspiration, the pupils were also joined in Birmingham by four-time Olympian and former sprinter Christian Malcolm and London 2012 para-rowing champion David Smith who offered their own expert advice.

Joscelyn Murgatroyd-Barclay, 18, was one of a handful of Milton Keynes College pupils in attendance and, after meeting Malcolm and Smith, she is now bursting with ideas for her local community.

“Coming here has been really good, it’s not what I expected, but it’s been great,” she said.

“We already lead sessions at primary schools during the week and what we do depends on what sport they’re doing at the moment.

“At my primary school, I’m doing football. At other schools, I’ve helped with handball in after school clubs so we’ll be building on that.

“I find it really rewarding. I can see the kids improve, they’re enjoying it and they love their PE sessions. It’s good. Sport brings everyone together.

“I’d love to be able to go to Brazil to watch next year’s Games but I don’t think I will. If not, I will just watch it on the TV, but that’ll still be great.”

Milton Keynes College were not the only representatives from the area in attendance with Shenley Brook End School also taking the chance to develop their own community ideas.

With less than ten months to go until the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Rio, the young pupils will be able to help build pride and excitement in the lead-up to next summer.

And while Malcolm will not be competing in Brazil having retired from athletics in 2014, the Welshman had relished reliving his Olympic memories by supporting the new programme.

“The Get Set for Community Action initiative is very good at trying to engage the wider community and builds upon the legacy of 2012,” he said.

“The fact that you have got so many schools here from different areas and different backgrounds here, and they can take these ideas home into their community is great.

“I have been impressed with how enthusiastic they have all been at the session and they have been coming up with some great ideas.”

Get Set for Community Action is a new UK-wide programme for young people and their communities created by the British Olympic Foundation and British Paralympic Association and made possible thanks to the Big Lottery Fund. To find out more visit: www.getsetaction.org.uk