New Gym Opened at Bishop Lavis High School
A new fully equipped gymnasium was opened at Bishop Lavis High School in Cape Town on Monday, 27 May 2013. This joint venture between the Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport (DCAS), Virgin Active South Africa (VASA) and the Greensmile Foundation allows learners easy access to a quality fitness facility.
The gym is part of VASA’s FUTURE CREW project to help transform communities through involving learners in exercise, helping them learn skills and enabling them to participate in a mentoring programme headed by qualified sports and life skill coaches. The project highlights sport as an integral part of a healthy lifestyle and helps to combat increasing levels of obesity amongst South African youth. “The installation of this gym is a culmination of two years of planning, research and training and an opportunity to invest in the future of our country – our youth,” said Mr Ross Faragher-Thomas of Virgin Active.
Minister of Cultural Affairs and Sport Dr Ivan Meyer expressed his thanks to VASA for “doing something remarkable and for caring for the community of Bishop Lavis”. He went on to honour Ashwill Willemse for his willingness to serve as an ambassador for the Future Crew Project. “Today Virgin Active has given the learners of Bishop Lavis High School a kick-start towards living a healthy lifestyle. The youth have been given an alternative to the social ills that they see around them,” said Meyer.
The school already participates in the Western Cape Government’s Mass participation, Opportunity and access, Development and growth (MOD) programme. There are 181 MOD centres at schools across the province providing sport and recreational activities in a safe environment to disadvantaged communities and underprivileged learners. Because Bishop Lavis is one of the 46 neediest schools with MOD centres, it was chosen to be the location for the FUTURE CREW gym.
Principal Mr Kevin Sonn said the school was established 58 years ago and was able in the past to deliver excellent academic results. His expressed aim is to bring the matric pass rate up from 63% in 2012 to 75% in 2013. Mr Sonn said joint ventures with the Western Cape Education Department and the City of Cape Town, supported by MOD centres and the Virgin Active gym, will provide important support to learners already participating in athletics, cross country, netball, cricket, rugby as well as dance. “We believe there is a strong correlation between physical activity and academic performance,” he said.
Dr Meyer said the Western Cape Government is committed to creating opportunities for youth through partnerships which reflect the province’s “better together” philosophy.