A PROJECT to get residents active has been launched at Moors Valley Country Park near Ringwood.

The Activate Coast and Countryside scheme was launched following the award of £221,234 Sport England funding to the Christchurch and East Dorset Partnership last December.

Guests at the launch received a presentation from the Activate Coast and Countryside team outlining the wide range of activities that will be on offer.

Also speaking at the launch were special guests Cllr Malcolm Birr, chairman of East Dorset Council and Cllr John Lofts, the Mayor of Christchurch.

The project aims to improve the fitness and health of people living in the area and builds upon the successful Activate 1000 project.

A total of 15 activities for adults and families will be available for taster sessions and beginner courses.

These include cycling activities, health walks, orienteering, running, golf, pétanque, angling, rounders, canoeing and surfing and will incorporate a number of community games to promote opportunities.

Several activities are already on offer with the rest to follow in the coming weeks and months.

Activities are being delivered from Moors Valley Country Park, Highcliffe Castle and Kingston Lacy National Trust, Wimborne, as well as other community locations.

Cllr Malcolm Birr said: “We are very grateful for this substantial award from Sport England. It will enable us to build on the success we’ve already achieved with our Activate courses and deliver even more of them for the benefit of a large number of people in Christchurch and East Dorset.”

Cllr John Lofts added: “We all know how important it is for people to get regular exercise but sometimes it’s not so easy to get the motivation to do it on your own.

The courses that will be funded from the Activate project will give people the chance to try different activities to see which ones will suit them best.

They will then be encouraged to continue with their chosen activity through a clear progression pathway.”

The project aims to engage with approximately 1,800 new people each year and the National Trust, Forestry Commission and Dorset County Council are all on board.