Mayor urges Londoners to try a sport for free

09 February 2012

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has teamed up with adidas to urge Londoners to check out the wide range of free sporting activities that are available across the capital.

A new poster and online marketing campaign will highlight the sports that Londoners can try at more than 130 locations across the city as part of the Mayor’s £35 million Sports Legacy Programme, established to get more Londoners fit and active in the run up to 2012 and beyond.

The campaign comes as research commissioned by the Greater London Authority shows that the vast majority of Londoners (83 per cent) are taking part in physical exercise, with two thirds (66 per cent) exercising at least once a week and over a third (35 per cent) exercising three or more times a week.

The ICM poll of 1,000 people also revealed that around six in 10 Londoners who exercise (61 per cent) want to do more exercise. This suggests there is a healthy appetite to get involved with sporting activity in the capital, although those from the least affluent backgrounds are more likely to say that they never do any exercise – 31 per cent compared to 13 per cent for more affluent backgrounds.

The Mayor is particularly keen to encourage more young Londoners to get active. Today he announced a funding boost of more than £140,000 to help to increase sports participation among young people in deprived parts of London. Thanks to a grant of £142,000 from the Mayor, national sports charity StreetGames will set up eight ‘YUSport’ hubs across eight London estates, including Enfield, Waltham Forest, Haringey, Lewisham, Bromley, Lambeth and Hammersmith and Fulham.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “With less than six months to go before the greatest show on earth there has never been a better time for Londoners to get fit and active. Young people in particular can benefit hugely from the focus and discipline that taking up a sport can provide. Whether it’s fencing or football, pole vaulting or ping-pong, there is a huge choice of activities to try. The sporting landscape in the capital is far from gloomy and I urge all Londoners to check out what’s on offer.”

Nick Craggs, Marketing Director for adidas UK, said: “We are proud to help support the Mayor of London in the Freesport campaign to get more Londoners active in the run up to London 2012 and beyond. As a London 2012 sponsor, adidas believes it is vitally important that free sporting facilities are made available and accessible if we are truly going to get the nation participating in sport.”

The Mayor’s Commissioner for Sport, Kate Hoey MP, said: “This new research indicates that things in London really are heading in the right direction in terms of participation in sport. Of course there is much more still to do, but there really are a lot of opportunities out there. This campaign is about highlighting some of these opportunities and ensuring that every Londoner is able to feel some kind of tangible benefit from London 2012.”

Jane Ashworth, CEO of StreetGames, said: "StreetGames is delighted to have been awarded the funding to deliver this exciting partnership project. With London 2012 around the corner, YUSport hubs give us a great opportunity to provide access to new sporting opportunities in local communities, working with local people to create an Olympic legacy."

Anyone who takes part in one of the free sporting activities will be eligible to enter a draw for one of 50 Adidas vouchers worth £100 each.

Notes to editors

- The ICM poll on Londoners’ uptake of and barriers to exercise commissioned by the GLA was carried out in November. Final results are based on 1,001 interviews carried out by telephone with a representative sample of residents aged over 18.

- The survey results can be found via this link

- To find out about the sporting opportunities in your area, please visit:

- Of the £15.5 million fund, a total of £7 million is being channelled into facilities; £3 million into training new sports coaches, volunteers and officials etc; and £5.5 million into a range of new projects and programmes aimed specifically at increasing participation amongst Londoners.

- To date, £14m has been invested, with over £25m of match funding pulled in.

In summary, the impact of investment to date is as follows:

Mayor’s Facility Investment Programme

- Investment in community facilities, often small, local or estate-based facilities;

- £5m spent so far

- 61 projects funded – either new facilities or refurbishment/upgrade of existing facilities

- Capacity created for an additional 37,000 users per week

- We will invest in approx 20 more facility projects over the next 6 months

Mayor’s Skills Investment Programme

- Training programme for those wishing to become coaches, volunteers, officials or for potential employees within the sport and active leisure sector

- Trained up over 9000 individuals in a range of sports, right across London

- Resulting in over 25,000 volunteer hours pledged to community sports in London

- Helped 100+ disabled people into employment in the sports and leisure industry

Mayor’s Participation Programme

- £3.8m spent to date

- 33 projects funded – from BMX to dance to rugby

- Some projects focus on pure participation; others use sport as a means of helping tackle specific social issues

- Total number of beneficiaries expected to exceed 200,000; with more than 10% of these previously having been considered ‘inactive’


- Gives out around 300 grants of up to £1500 each year to small sports clubs or community groups

- Money to be used to provide free sports coaching sessions to Londoners

-Each year around 17,000 Londoners receive at least 6 hours of free coaching through this programme

‘Make a Splash’ mobile pools

- Mobile pools are deployed in six different locations each year, for a period of approx 3 months in each location

- Pools are staffed with teachers all day and evening, 7 days a week

- Pools are used by schools during the weekdays and by the community outside school hours

- Programme teaches over 6000 Londoners to swim each year

- A Sporting Future for London' sets out the Mayor's plans to increase physical activity and sporting participation across the capital as a long lasting legacy arising from the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. More information about the Mayor's priorities for sport can be found at:

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