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Record number of Darlington residents taking part in sport
LOCAL authorities are making progress in their efforts to encourage people to be more active, with one town recording more people regularly exercising than before.
Record numbers of Darlington residents are taking part in sport, according to the recent Active People survey carried out by Sport England.
The survey identifies how participation varies from place to place and between different groups.
It records the proportion of the adult population taking part in sport on a weekly basis, as well as club membership levels, involvement in organised competitions and overall satisfaction with levels of sporting provision in the various communities.
The survey’s findings showed that 24.23 per cent of Darlington residents regularly play sport, up from 21.08 per cent in 2005-06.
Levels of activity have risen slightly during the same period in most of the region’s other local authority areas, with Stockton the only area to buck the trend with a marginal drop.
Councillor Nick Wallis, Darlington Borough Council’s cabinet member for leisure, said: “There has been a great deal of appreciation for our sporting heroes following the Olympics this summer.
“I hope this will inspire and encourage more people to take up some form of sport, whether it be going out for a walk in one of our parks or open spaces, cycling along one of our many cycle ways, having a round of golf or going for a swim or exercise class.
“We need to encourage more people to find a sport that fits in with their lifestyle.”
Swimming seems to be among the most popular leisure activities in Darlington, with record numbers of swimmers at the council-run pool.
Mike Crawshaw, head of culture at the council, said: “We have just experienced an incredible summer holiday period at the Dolphin Centre – more than 28,000 people visited for a recreational swim during the first four weeks of the school summer holiday.
“These are our highest participation figures for recreational swimming for the past five years.”
Mr Crawshaw added: “Like the rest of the country, we are determined to capitalise on the Olympics 2012 effect and inspire the Darlington public to stay active.
Swimming is one of the most effective ways to exercise or just to unwind and have some fun.”