Sporting legacy from 2012 Games steers youngsters out of poverty

29 November 2012

Millions of disadvantaged children in London and across the world are already benefiting from the sporting legacy of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, Mayor of London Boris Johnson has said today, as he met Indian youngsters who are being helped out of a life of poverty through a pioneering charity in Mumbai.

As part of his five-day trip to India, the Mayor visited the Magic Bus project, which uses trained mentors and sports to nurture young people with education and training. The project, which plays a direct role in delivering a legacy for Indian youngsters following the 2012 Games, hosted the Mayor for a sports session with children taking part in the programme.

During his visit the Mayor was joined by England batsman Kevin Pietersen, fresh from the team's Test victory in Mumbai, and rugby star Lawrence Dallaglio, who both helped him hand over sets of cricketing equipment including balls, bats and pads. The kit was donated by the Lord’s Taverners, a charity which focuses on bringing youth cricket to disadvantaged areas in London.

Through the Mayor’s multi-million pound sports legacy programme, investment in cricket in London has already benefited thousands of young people across thecapital. The Legacy Fund has trained more than 1,000 people to become cricket coaches to support the development of tomorrow’s star players, while funding worth more than £150,000 has been dedicated to improve facilities at six sports clubs and colleges in London. More than £180,000 has been awarded to the Hit the Top programme, which has established 32 new cricket clubs for young people with disabilities.

The Magic Bus project has played an integral role in building a lasting sporting legacy from the 2012 Games in India. The project was chosen to help deliver LOCOG’s International Inspiration programme, which aims to ensure all children in India have the chance to play sport in their schools and communities. The International Inspiration programme has so far reached more than 2.7 million Indian children.

The Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: “Sports legacy was always at the heart of London 2012, and it’s amazing to see the transformative effect the Games are already having on children’s lives, not just in London but across the world.

“Simply by increasing young people’s access to something as basic and instinctive as a game of cricket, we can put them on a path towards a healthier lifestyle and better education and training.

"Cricket is a hugely popular sport in India and England of course, and so it is particularly fitting that we are celebrating the Magic Bus right in the middle of the current Test series between our two countries.

“The Magic Bus project is doing a fantastic job in steering India’s youngsters out of poverty, while my Legacy Fund is helping increase access to sport right across the capital.”

Magic Bus CEO Matthew Spacie MBE said: “The Mayor's visit has highlighted Magic Bus' work with children living in poverty in India.

“Through our mentoring and sports programme we are enabling children, young people and their communities to change their lives, improve their health and education and move beyond poverty.”

Notes to editors

1. The Mayor has already invested £15.5 million into his Sports Legacy Fund and, with match funding, the total invested in grass roots sports across the capital is now more than £40 million . The Mayor has pledged a further £7 million to improve the capital's sports facilities, help its clubs to train more coaches and offer more sports sessions to increase sports participation in London. The fund has three main strands: 

Facilities: £5 million awarded to 76 sports facilities across London to date, doubling user capacity.Skills: Over 15,000 coaches trained in a range of sports. Each coach will undertake a minimum of 20 volunteer hours as part of their training commitment. Sporting activities: £4 million has been allocated to 34 sporting projects across London ranging from athletics to zumba.Mobile pools programme is helping 12,000 people learn to swim.Projects are increasing sports participation and addressing wider social issues, such as improving health, education rates, helping people into training and work; and tackling crime.

Freesport: The Mayor is calling on Londoners to try their hand at a sport they may not have tried before for free as part of his Freesport programme, which is aimed at boosting interest and participation in sport before, during and after the Games. Around 130 locations across the capital will be open to the public for the initiative. Each year Freesport gives around 250 of the capital's sports clubs grants of up to £1500 to allow them to open their doors and offer six hours of free coaching 'taster' sessions to Londoners of all ages. Over 15,000 Londoners receive free sustained coaching in a range of sports - more details can be found at


2. About Magic Bus. Magic Bus steers children towards a better life with better awareness, better life skills, and better opportunities, in the journey from childhood to livelihood. Our Activitiy Based Curriculum (ABC) is a unique model that uses games to make change. 40 sessions per year – each with a lesson, teach children about education, gender, health, and key issues affecting them. The games excel in building physical, social, and personal skills. Local youth volunteers are trained to be mentors and role models to other children. They conduct ABC sessions and act as catalysts for community change. The children and youth grow up becoming confident, respected and responsible. Our Connect Program bridges the gap between possibility and opportunity through access to training and courses. Nearly all the youths end up pursuing higher studies and/or enrolling in our employability program. Today the Magic Bus program is run in 10 states, reaching out to 250,000 children in India. Our aim is to reach a million by 2015.


3. LOCOG’s International Inspiration is working hand-in-hand with the Indian Government to make sure all children have the chance to play sport in their schools and communities. International Inspiration is active in six states, building strong links between practitioners and policy makers in the UK and India. The programme is providing opportunities for some of the country’s most disadvantaged young people. These include girls, children with disabilities and children from lower castes. Through LOCOG’s partnership with the Indian Government, over the next decade safe spaces for children to play will be created. In addition, coaches are being trained, equipment is being provided and sports competitions are being organised in India’s 250,000 rural villages.


4. The Mayor is on a five day visit to India, accompanied by a delegation of top London business people, to promote London as the destination of choice for investors and international trade. He will be taking part in a series of high-level meetings with Indian business leaders, senior politicians and investors in the key business hubs of Delhi, Hyderabad and Mumbai.

The visit is part of a wider series of trips Boris Johnson is planning to key overseas markets in the next 18 months, including China, Brazil and the Middle East. The aim is to attract foreign investment, promote export, create jobs in the capital and build on the huge exposure London received as a result of hosting the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

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