Mayor distributes 1,000 Paralympic tickets for athletics clubs
With just two days until Paralympic sporting action begins the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has announced a windfall of over a thousand Paralympics tickets, which are being shared by athletics clubs from all over the capital.
The Mayor has arranged for 1,100 tickets to be distributed free of charge to club members and volunteers by the London Athletics Council. They have distributed them to around 50 clubs who have agreed to make sure that around half of the tickets go to young people aged 16 or under.
The 2012 Games have triggered a huge surge of interest in sports clubs all over the capital; and it is hoped that the tickets will inspire those lucky club members and volunteers who are able to take advantage of them to work even harder to capture the enthusiasm and excitement that the Games are generating.
Over the past three years the Mayor of London’s sports legacy programme has overseen an investment of over £40m into community sport in the capital. Many of the projects that the Mayor has invested in are reporting that they have experienced a considerable increase in demand for their services since the 2012 Games began.
The ‘Run!’ community athletics project has reported that they have seen more than 6,800 people attend sessions and events they have organised since the start of the Games; and the Putney Town Rowing Club has been so deluged with enquiries that they are now putting on extra ‘welcome to rowing’ courses to keep pace with the demand.
The Tottenham Community Sports centre where Team GB’s gold medal winner Nicola Adams trains has seen a 10 per cent increase in the number of people boxing. And the Princes Park youth football club is reporting a huge increase in demand for women’s football.
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “Sports clubs all over the capital are heaving with Londoners of all ages who have been inspired by the tremendous feats of Team GB and want to experience the sweat, competition and sheer exhilaration of sport for themselves. That enthusiasm is a phenomenal legacy of the Games that we hope will continue to gather pace throughout the Paralympics. I’m delighted we have secured 1,100 tickets that will enable those people who spend time on the starting blocks or on sports fields around the capital to experience the joy of the Paralympics for themselves.”
Bob Smith, London development manager for England athletics, said: “Sports clubs across London are enjoying a quite incredible boost off the back of the Games and we’ve had an absolutely tremendous response from the clubs receiving this batch of Paralympic tickets. They are delighted that some of their members and volunteers will now have the opportunity to get to the Park and see the sport. It is really appreciated and we’re thrilled that it will give so many more young people the opportunity to be inspired by the efforts of our Paralympians.”
Kate Hoey, the Mayor of London’s commissioner for sport, said: “The Mayor is committed to delivering a real grassroots sports legacy in the capital and the 2012 Games are delivering a massive wave of enthusiasm in communities all over London. The investment we have put into facilities and coaching will help top provide vital support for the incredible interest we are seeing.”
Bob Densley Coaching co-ordinator of Ealing Southall & Middlesex A.C. said: “Through the clubs allocation we have 8 very excited young members and 4 parents now able to experience the London Paralympic Games. In the lead up to the Games enquiries to join the club increased and in the past month have rocketed showing just how sport can inspire ordinary people to get up and have a go for themselves.”
The Mayor’s sports legacy programme has operated at full strength across London over the last two years. An initial funding of £15.5 million attracted match funding of over £25 million, meaning an overall investment of over £40 million. A further £7 million has been committed by the Mayor to ensure projects continue to be supported by the Fund in future years.
Notes to editors
The London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games administered the national Get Set programme whereby 250,000 Olympic and Paralympic tickets were distributed to schools to enable children to attend the Games. The full allocation was not taken up and the Mayor of London therefore approached LOCOG to request that the remaining 1,100 free tickets be distributed instead to Athletic clubs across London. Over the past three years, the Mayor’s Sports Legacy Programme has led to an investment of over £40m (£15.5m Mayoral funding; £25m+ match funding) into community sport in London.
Since the start of the Olympic Games, many of these projects have started to see a significant upsurge in interest, particularly those that have had a high profile during the Games. Since the games have begun the Run! community athletics project have had an extra 6,800 participants attend sessions and events across London Putney Town Rowing Club, Richmond upon Thames has seen a "deluge" of enquiries. They normally receive 700 or so per year but had 444 during the Olympic period. Tottenham Community Sports Centre, Haringey has seen a 10% upsurge in Boxing. Nicola Adams (Team GB) trains there and is a member of the club. St Pancras Amateur Boxing Club in Camden has seen 25% more enquiries over past three weeks. Samuel Montagu Youth Centre in Greenwich has seen increases in Boxing and Beach Volleyball as well as a 50% increase in Boxing. Princes Park Youth Football Club is reporting a surge in demand for women’s football.
The Mayor’s Sports Legacy Fund has three main strands. Awards to date include: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 www.molpresents.com/freesport