Mayor launches sport fund to tackle crime and unemployment

23 August 2010

London Mayor Boris Johnson has launched a new £4 million sport fund aimed at projects which use sport to tackle a range of social issues from crime to unemployment, as well as increasing participation in sport. The Mayor wants to support organisations which help turn around the lives of local communities through motivational activities that produce long term change in participants. Funding applications are open until 1 October 2010.

Mayor Boris Johnson said: “The beauty of sport is its ability to get people together from all backgrounds to join in positive activity.  As well as helping young people stay healthy, it can provide immense mental stimulation and as such help tackle issues such as crime, educational underachievement and a lack of community cohesion.

“With the greatest sporting spectacular, the 2012 Games, soon upon us, we must not lose sight of our promise to deliver a genuine grass-roots sporting legacy for all Londoners, including those who need our help the most. I want to support projects that help bring positive change to communities – from using sport to discipline and motivate vulnerable youngsters, to yoga classes for isolated older people that re-ignite neighbourly spirit. I am confident we will have a marvellous response, with projects reflective of the inspiration, innovation and passion that Londoners have in spades. Our Olympic and Paralympic legacy will come from supporting these kind of projects and I am excited by the potential for real change that this fund will unlock.”

Kate Hoey, the Mayor’s Sports Commissioner said: “In London we are blessed with many, many heroic people who dedicate themselves to bringing the great joys of sport to their fellow citizens. As an MP in this city for over 20 years, I have been privileged to see what many of them are doing close at hand – often for little or no material reward – and it is never anything less than inspirational. They do it because they understand what sport and physical activity can bring to the life of an individual and to society as a whole.

“When I took up my position as London’s Commissioner for Sport, one of my key priorities was to help these heroes; to allow them to grow existing projects and to develop new and innovative ways of increasing participation and improving our society. Through this new fund – and thanks to the wholehearted support of the Mayor – we are now in a position to help. This fund will provide investment for those projects that really make a difference at the grass-roots – projects run for the community that genuinely target local needs; and are focused on getting London’s huge population of inactive people back onto their feet and back into sport.”

The Sports Participation Fund will provide winning projects with £50,000 - £250,000 over the next two years and is looking for applications with the following criteria:

1. Supporting ‘at risk’ young adults aged 16 – 25 yrs of age

Projects that use physical activity to tackle issues such as crime, unemployment or drug and alcohol abuse. As well as using sport as a diversionary measure, the projects should also use other methods to tackle a range of issues that help return participants to employment, education or training or help develop young leaders and role models for local communities.

2. Increasing participation in sport

Projects which engage people who are currently ‘inactive’ and get them involved in sport to promote better health and healthy living.

3. Community Development

A holistic approach that encourages people to work in partnership for the benefits of their local communities and decide what type of sports project will help bring long term positive change.

One of the Mayor’s key election promises was to ensure that the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games delivered a genuine grass-roots sporting legacy of increased participation in sport and physical activity amongst Londoners. His sports legacy plan, A Sporting Future for London, set out the priorities for meeting this promise.

So far, in excess of £1 million has been spent, with a further £15 million to be invested by 2012. With matched funding, this will see a total in excess of £30 million invested in grass-roots sport by the time of the Olympic opening ceremony.

ENDS

Notes to editors

1. Funding: £4 million explained

Bidding for funding applications opens on Monday 23rd August.  This is a first round and applies to £2 million of the fund. The remainder of the fund is subject to a second stage of funding agreement and a further bidding round in 2011.

The first bidding round is expected to result in around twelve awards.

To find out more about the fund and how to apply, visit the GLA site from tomorrow afternoon at:
www.london.gov.uk/priorities/sport/funding-projects/playsport

2.  PlaySport London is the overall brand being given to all sports-related activity funded from the £15.5 million Olympic legacy funding from the London Development Agency.

This funding is to be distributed according to the three main elements of the programme:

 - Facility Investment Programme - £5.5m of Capital funding, and £1.5m of Revenue funding will support investment in small, community or estate-based facilities;

 - Sports Participation Fund - £4m of Revenue funding will support innovative sports participation programmes that encourage social development in Greater London; and

 - Investment in Training and Skills - £3m of Revenue funding will support training, for employees, volunteers and potential recruits, within the sport and active leisure sector.

Through the PlaySport London: Free Sport programme, we have supported over 270 community groups to deliver thousands of hours of free sports coaching across all 33 London Boroughs – a total investment of over £380,000. Details of activities happening this summer can be found on the Free Sport search page.

The past 12 months have also seen the installation of temporary swimming pools in Lambeth, Ealing, Greenwich, Camden and on the South Bank – teaching hundreds of young Londoners to swim and getting many lapsed swimmers back in the pool.

The Panathlon Challenge – a programme of competitive sport for young people with severe disabilities – has been able to grow significantly in 2009 thanks to backing by City Hall; bringing the great joys of sport to many who might otherwise have missed out. Our investment also sees the opening of the new London Boxing Academy in Hackney, offering at risk young people a chance to get back on track.