Grassroots athletics clubs and community providers in some of the country’s areas most in need will benefit from £350,000 investment secured by England Athletics in a boost for Commonwealth Games sports.
Sport England has today [Thursday 12 May] announced £6.5milion new investment to be shared across 20 national governing bodies of sport to improve participation rates in areas where activity levels are lowest.
The injection of National Lottery funding is part of an overall investment plan to make the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games a success and create a lasting national impact through innovative, non-traditional, or digital opportunities.
The funding secured by England Athletics will be invested specifically into increasing the number of children and young people experiencing athletics in Birmingham, the West Midlands, and targeted cities across England.
The membership and development body for athletics and running in England will be working with its affiliated clubs and community partners including Birmingham Sport, Street Games, The Active Wellbeing Society, and Premier Education to ensure delivery is reaching all communities.
England Athletics will also bring its innovative funetics programme to thousands of children and young people aged 4 to 11 years at track and field clubs over the next 18 months as well as deliver an Activation Zone at the Commonwealth Games and host Holiday Camps all year round.
Chris Jones, England Athletics CEO, said:
“We are delighted to be part of this initiative to grow participation as a legacy of the Birmingham 2022 Games. Athletics is where it all begins. Learning to run, jump and throw is the foundation for a lifetime of activity. From playground to podium our sport offers everybody, irrespective of ability or cultural background, the opportunity to achieve great things and to live a healthier and happier life. We want to help children of all backgrounds and abilities to flourish and reach their full potential.
“This additional investment from Sport England will enable us to give more children the opportunity to experience and enjoy athletics for the first time through our innovative funetics programme. By placing our clubs and facilities at the heart of delivery it will hopefully grow capacity, extend their reach into the community, and inspire new athletes for the future.”
Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries said:
“We want Birmingham 2022 to be the Games for everyone and this fund will help make that a reality across the country. By reaching into new communities with fun, creative and accessible introductions to Commonwealth sports, this investment will help increase participation and secure a strong legacy from Birmingham 2022.”
Tim Hollingsworth, CEO of Sport England, said: “One mission for the Commonwealth Games is creating new ways to include those who face the most barriers to playing sport and getting active. So to deliver long-term community impact, we have to listen to what people need, try out new and different ideas, and support partners who know what works at a grassroots level for their community.
“Lasting impact from the Games will depend on the creation of long-term, inclusive and local opportunities for people to get active, and tackling the inequalities that make it harder for some groups now. Today’s funding is an opportunity for us to work innovatively with sports to target the people and areas who need support the most.”
Affluence and activity levels are closely linked, as evidenced by Sport England’s latest Active Lives Survey.
The survey also revealed that where you live has a huge impact on how active you are, demonstrating why investment into targeted areas is vital for breaking down barriers to getting active.