Mayor urges Londoners to try a sport for free

22 July 2012

With just days to go until the start of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, the Mayor of London has pledged a further £800,000 for grassroots sport and urged Londoners to try out a sport for free.

The Mayor has pledged £800,000 worth of investment to improve 16 sports facilities across the capital as part of his £15.5m 2012 Sports Legacy Fund. The Mayor will award grants ranging from £6,000 to £160,000 to improve buildings, upgrade equipment and improve access to sports clubs and local sports facilities across the capital.

The Mayor has also called on people 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 and Londoners can find out more by simply logging on to www.molpresents.com/freesport

Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: “The 2012 Games will be the greatest sporting event ever held and I am determined that Londoners are inspired by the feats of endurance we are set to witness, to get fit and active. My sports legacy fund was set up to help get more people a chance to try out a range of activities, which is why we are boosting community sport facilities and encouraging people to check out our fantastic Freesport projects. There really is a huge range of free activities to try and so I urge Londoners to visit the website and check out what’s on offer.”

Kate Hoey, the Mayor's Commissioner for Sport, said: “The Mayor wants to ensure that once the last Olympic and Paralympic medal has been handed out, our city is remains gripped by sporting fervour. We want to drive up sports participation ensuring people, of all ages and abilities, have access to the very best facilities. No host city has ever delivered a sustained increase in improving facilities and participation off the back of the Games. We want to ensure that London becomes the first.”

With match funding the total investment into community sport through the Mayor’s Sports Legacy Fund now stands at over £40m. It has helped to train over 12,000 sports coaches, helped over 6,000 people to learn to swim and given over 15,000 people each year the chance to try a sport for free.

Facilities to benefit from the latest round of funding from the Mayor of London include the Masbro Centre and the Bromley and Downham Youth Club. The Masbro Centre will benefit from £75,000 of funding which will be used to replace the sports hall’s roof and renovate its facilities. The hall’s pitch is used for a variety of sports and leisure activities, ranging from football to archery and from toddler play to bowls, and money will ensure that the leaky roof is replaced so local community can continue to benefit from the many facilities it offers.

Andy Sharpe, Chief Executive of the Urban Partnership Group which runs the Centre, said: “This funding is fantastic news and will regenerate the Masbro Centre, a facility which is used and enjoyed by people from all parts of the community. It will ensure that the Centre will be fit to serve future generations, and means that we can continue to provide a free sporting venue to local children’s and youth groups. Over 2000 people a week use the Masbro Centre and they will doubtlessly be over the moon that we have secured this much-needed funding.”

The Bromley and Downham Youth Club has been completely renovated and a new floor added to the 1971 building housing a boxing ring, new keep-fit equipment, a purpose-built stair-lift, new toilets and a kitchen for its young members. Old windows and gas boilers have been replaced and final work will be done to install air-conditioning and complete the decorations.

Philip Cheverton, Chairman of the Bromley and Downham Youth Club, said: “The £50,000 of funding from the Mayor of London has helped change what was a traditional youth club into a modern community hub that will be used and enjoyed for generations to come. This will benefit the lives of local young people, and give them opportunities to box, keep fit, and socialise in a safe and friendly environment, opportunities that many of them will never have had before”.

Notes to editors

Mayor’s Sports Legacy Fund Working with his Commissioner for Sport Kate Hoey, the Mayor set aside £15.5 million for investment in community sport in London, in order to help ensure a legacy of increased participation in sport and physical activity amongst Londoners.The initial £15.5 million has now all been allocated, with over £25m of match funding pulled in - making a total investment of over £40 million into community sport.In summary, the impact of the investment to date is as follows: Facility Investment Programme - 74 projects funded; created capacity for an additional 50,000 users per week - largely small, local or estate based projects; some contributions to larger buildsSkills Investment Programme – Trained up over 12, 000 individuals as coaches, volunteers or officials, resulting in 50,000+ volunteer hours pledged to community sports in LondonParticipation Programme – 33 projects funded in a range of sports; number of beneficiaries to exceed 200,000; with over 10% of these previously having been ‘inactive’‘Make a Splash’ Mobile Pools – temporary swimming pools deployed in schools for 3 moth periods to teach people to swim. 6 locations last year; used by over 6000 different people to learn to swim•Freesport – small grants of up to £1500 given to around 250 sports clubs each year to allow them to open their doors and offer free coaching to Londoners; over 15,000 people each year receive free sustained coaching in a range of sport

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