I KNOW many residents were inspired by our sporting heroes of 2016 – from the England rugby team going unbeaten to Andy Murray becoming world number one, to our record haul of Olympic golds medals at Rio.
These world-class performances have also had a big impact at grass roots level, driving up local participation in sport and fitness, and interest in health and wellbeing generally, including across the Havant constituency.
As vice president of Havant Rugby Club and an honorary member of Havant Hockey Club, I’m fully supportive of our local sports scene, which includes a wide variety of sports, from cricket and cycling to bowling, running and sailing, to name just a few.
All are friendly and open to new members.
These clubs not only compete at a high level but offer competitive and social sport for all abilities and ages.
Regularly playing sport has numerous health and social benefits.
According to Sport England physical activity, including sport, is linked to reduced risk of more than 20 illnesses, including cardiovascular disease and some cancers, saving the NHS up to an estimated £6,900 in healthcare costs per person.
With these benefits becoming more widely known, it is great to see more residents getting involved in more sports and wellbeing activities.
That’s why the popularity of activities like parkrun continues to soar, with the course at Staunton Country Park, which I ran a couple of times last year, attracting about 250 people every week.
However, sport is not for everyone, and just getting out and about is also valuable.
Regularly walking can make a big difference.
Last Friday I walked the entire length of the Hayling Billy Line to hear about the work being done by Hampshire County Council, which owns most of the land, to maintain the popular path.
Being happy is also important in your work life, and my upcoming Havant Jobs, Apprenticeships and Careers Fair on Friday, March 3, at Havant Leisure Centre, offers the chance for a fresh start for anyone looking for work or a career change.
The Fair, backed by The News, will once again offer hundreds of jobs and apprenticeships. Admission is free, and open from 10am.
If your business is looking to hire staff or advertise apprenticeships at the Fair please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
Alan is the MP for Havant