London 2012: Funds for school-site sport clubs

Children at a school sports day Funding will be made available to open up school sports facilities to the wider community

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Funding for a community sports club at every secondary school in England has been announced by the government.

Culture secretary Jeremy Hunt said it was part of a £1bn strategy to encourage young people to take up sport - as pledged in the 2012 Games bid.

Mr Hunt said despite huge investment of public funds since winning the Games, fewer young people were playing sport and he wanted a "radical change".

A further £32m of funding was also announced for the School Games.

Money pledged from the Department of Health (£14m), Sainsbury's (£10m) and Sport England (£8m) will extend the initiative from two to four years until 2015.

Under the five-year youth and community sport strategy, Sport England will help set up some 4,000 clubs where expert coaches will run sessions to create ties between schools and existing local sports clubs.

'Fundamental problem'

Already, 2,000 football clubs have pledged to be linked to secondary schools by 2017, in rugby union 1,300 clubs, cricket, 1,250 clubs and rugby league and tennis 1,000 clubs each, according to the government.

The minister said they were looking to tackle what was a fundamental problem with youth sport.

He said: "A third fewer people play sport after their 16th birthday than before it - it is that crucial moment when they leave school where everything is organised and go into adults life.

Start Quote

What is different, according to the Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt, is the refocusing of the available resources - away from adults towards teenagers and young people.”

End Quote BBC Sports Editor David Bond

"Up to now we have had policies to get people to play sports in their schools and policies to play in their communities but there has been no attempt to join the two.

"This is the first time we will have had proper links with local sports clubs and schools."

In an attempt to give greater public access to school sports facilities - three-quarters of sports halls and artificial pitches and a third of swimming pools in England are located on school sites - £10m of funding will be available.

A further £100m will be invested in creating the clubs and tackling the decline in sports participation when people leave school.


Of this, £50m will be invested to boost sport provision at further education colleges and universities with funding for a full-time sports professional at at least 150 further education colleges.

Between 2013 and 2017 around £450m will go to sports governing bodies to help develop their sport plans but their funding will be allocated on a "payments-by-results" basis.

Mr Hunt said: "Our bold approach will see money going to organisations that deliver on youth participation, but also withdrawn quickly from those which fail to meet agreed objectives."

Sport England Chief Executive Jennie Price said: "Changing the sporting behaviour of a generation is a major challenge, which has not been achieved by any other Olympic host nation.

London 2012 - Begin your journey here

London view

"With a new focus on young people and an even tougher, Government-backed regime of payment by results, Sport England and its partners are determined to deliver."

The money comes from the Lottery and government funding through Sport England - £200m of which was from the current Spending Review settlement.

Using the London Olympics as inspiration, the School Games aims to transform competitive sport in schools and get more young people playing sport.

Adidas has also signed up to provide kit for 1,600 youngsters who will compete in the finals event of the School Games in the Olympic Stadium and other Olympic venues in May.

Health Secretary, Andrew Lansley said: "The School Games is a great example of how we can use fun and engaging ways to get more children into the habit of being active.

"Not only is this vital for good health but it is a great way to build self-esteem and confidence."

With just over six months to go until the Olympics it is the year to showcase London globally


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  • rate this

    Comment number 19.

    More sports facilities is a good thing, but it isn't enough just to target children (the government surely delights to see adults working too hard to play sport or keep fit or be healthy) and so why not open these centres to their communities at evenings and at weekends, when they are not booked for school events? The children could even get involved in the management of the facilities.

  • rate this

    Comment number 18.

    Why does everyone think Kids like sports, I hated sport at school, also my husband hated it, they built a new swimming pool at my school, they used to make me get in, I hated it. We both find sport so boring. And no we are not fat. Spend the money on something more usefull.

  • rate this

    Comment number 13.

    Shows good intent but sounds like yet another SECONDARY based intervention doomed to fail if not part of a strategic plan.

    Unless PRIMARY pupils are inspired, early on in their lives, to be active on a regular basis there will be little interest in upgraded facilities in Secondary school based clubs.

    How can you "Get back into sport" if you were never in it to start with?

    Wider input needed.

  • rate this

    Comment number 3.

    Getting young people engaged in sport can only be a good thing.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1.

    This should not start with Secondary Schools, but Infant and Juniors ages. Start them young, and then they continue to do sport. Leave it until they can say "not doing that", and its a total waste of money. Good idea, but start at youngest entry ages.


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