It's Games day everyday for Natalie who aims to get the East End fit

GLASGOW might be focused on the Commonwealth Games ...

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Natalie Phillips, centre, with Glasgow Rocks players and P7 kids from Dalmarnock Primary School  Picture:  Nick Ponty
Natalie Phillips, centre, with Glasgow Rocks players and P7 kids from Dalmarnock Primary School Picture: Nick Ponty

but Natalie Phillips will be encouraging children into sport for decades to come.

The Clyde Gateway worker is tasked with inventing creative ways to get East End residents fit and active.

From basketball and football to flashmobs and coaching qualifications, Natalie's aim is to get as many young people into sport as possible.

Natalie said: "I want everyone to have the information to lead a healthy life, particularly in the East End.

"My job is to try and promote healthy living and physical activity and health interventions, which in turn lead to employability.

"I look at schoolchildren and I want to see them in their 30s, employed and living healthily - or even becoming athletes."

The 33-year-old is a Community Benefits Assistant project manager.

Her remit is to work with schools and communities in Glasgow's East End and South Lanarkshire.

It was the chance to volunteer at the London 2012 Olympic that set Natalie on the path to sport.

She said: "That showed me what sport could achieve."

One of Natalie's main projects is the Jump 2 It scheme, which sees her work with basketball team Glasgow Rocks.

Currently more than 700 primary pupils are involved and receive basketball coaching with a view to taking part in the Jump 2 It school basketball tournament.

Rocks players visit schools to teach about everything from healthy eating to the dangers of drugs.

To get more people in the community interested in basketball, Natalie gave out free tickets to matches at the Emirates Arena.

For the first game, she distributed 800 tickets to East End residents, schools and community groups.

That success led her to distribute 500 more tickets to 23 primaries and four high schools involved with Clyde Gateway.

Natalie, who grew up in Tollcross, also works with Glasgow City Council's Active Schools Co-ordinators to run programmes on volunteering and health in city schools.

One scheme saw 360 pupils from Stonelaw and Trinity High Schools in Rutherglen given the chance to try out sports in the Emirates Arena and Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome.

During the course of the day, pupils got 30-minute taster sessions in rugby, judo, athletics, netball and basketball.

Additionally, 45 pupils from each schools were selected to take part in one-hour cycling sessions at the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome.

She also helped set up the Parkhead Youth Conference, which launched in June last year, allowing school pupils have a say in the future of their community.

Natalie worked with Active East and Youth Employment Zone (YEZ) to organise a flashmob at the Forge Shopping Centre in Parkhead.

More than 40 young people took part in a spontaneous dance in the shopping centre to promote enterprising activity to shoppers.

Natalie said: "Living a healthy lifestyle is vital and this is the ideal time for Glasgow to get fit and active and involved in sport, so the Evening Times Active 2014 campaign is a great idea.

"Anyone can get involved and in the East End we have many facilities where people can take part in a whole range of sport, so there's no excuse for people not to find out how they can get involved."

catriona.stewart@ eveningtimes.co.uk

Sport

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