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UCLan welcomes world’s best skater to inspire sporting youngsters

20 October 2014

Lyndsey Boardman

Region’s sports ambassadors learn from professional athlete.

Lancashire’s young sports ambassadors have gathered at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) to learn what it takes to be a successful athlete or coach from the world’s number one female inline skater and ten times British Champion Jenna Downing.

Jenna visited the University to share her career experiences with the region’s most promising young athletes and coaches at the Regional Young Ambassadors Conference run by the Youth Sport Trust.

It is the second time that UCLan has hosted the event which this time attracted 170 young people from 14 schools in the region who are deemed to be the most outstanding sports leaders in their schools.

Not only did they learn from the expertise of Jenna they also took part in a range of physical activities at UCLan’s Sir Tom Finney Sports Centre to improve their skills as young leaders. This included learning how to play wheelchair basketball and taking part in team building and communication skills activities.

Speaking at the event Jenna Downing commented: “It’s a fantastic opportunity for the Young Ambassadors to come together and share their skills and knowledge with each other.

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“Some of the young people here are some of the best in the country for their age and it’s a privilege to work with them."

“Some of the young people here are some of the best in the country for their age and it’s a privilege to work with them. I hope my advice is inspirational and they can learn from me both as an athlete and a mentor.”

Corpus Christi Catholic High School pupil Dan Tootell, 14, said: “It was great to meet Jenna. Listening to her has made me more determined to continue my work as a Young Ambassador and further enhance my coaching and leadership skills.”

Conference organiser Elaine Smith from Southlands High School said the event was even more successful than the last. “We attracted 50 more Young Ambassadors to this event than our last one in January so the demand and enthusiasm is certainly there from the young people.

The Young Ambassador Conference is a great opportunity to bring young leaders together to develop their skills and offer them guidance. Meeting Jenna and taking part in the fantastic team building activities at UCLan will hopefully encourage them to continue in their roles.”

The Young Ambassador Programme is a UK wide project that selects the most outstanding pupils in schools for both their sporting talents and commitment to volunteering as young leaders. Young Ambassadors are expected to act as role models in promoting PE and school sport and help to increase participation and healthy lifestyles in their schools.

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