Sharing the Olympic dream

West Ham United were delighted to honour the Newham-Barnsley Partnership at Saturday's FA Cup third-round tie.

The special bond between the Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council and the London Borough of Newham was launched back in October 2008, with the establishing of a groundbreaking sporting and cultural partnership.The club will welcome the Mayor of Newham, Sir Robin Wales and Cllr Steve Houghton and Cllr Joe Hayward from Barnsley.

With the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games acting as a catalyst, the boroughs are working together in an exciting pioneering project with a focus on sharing expertise across a wide range of fields, including sport, culture, volunteering, health and enterprise.

On Saturday, children from Greenacre School and the Fit Reds project joined youngsters from John F Kennedy School in Newham for half-time activities on the pitch. They engaged in relay runs and exercise programmes. There was also coaching for wheelchair players who attend schools in both areas.

Mick King, Chief Executive of the West Ham United Community Sports Trust, said: "The Newham-Barnsley Partnership is a unique approach to bringing our two communities together and just one exciting way that we are using the London 2012 Olympic Games to inspire the kids in Newham, in Barnsley and right across the country.

"It is an excellent example of using football as a vehicle to bring people together and promote healthy lifestyles."

The link-up with Barnsley is also helping to promote the club's Men's Health Project, with a recent visit to Yorkshire including a match at Oakwell.

By supporting men to take part in physical activity within a football environment, the Trust are able to engage men that would not usually access health services or take the time to consider the need for good health, physical activity and general wellbeing.

It is the second time the partnership has been honoured. When the Hammers played the Tykes in the same round of the cup in 2009, children from both areas took part in a penalty shoot-out on the pitch.

Mayor of Newham, Sir Robin Wales, said: "This partnership is showing how a sustainable Olympic legacy can be created throughout the country."