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5 BILLION INVESTED IN GRASSROOTS SPORT IN 20 YEARS

1st June 2015

  • Major funding milestone reached as projects celebrated
  • Look back at lives improved through sport
  • News comes as 149 sports facilities get Lottery funding go ahead

Sport England, the government agency responsible for grassroots sport, has today revealed that it has reached a major milestone – having invested £5 billion in grassroots sport in the last 20 years.

Since 1994, the year Tom Daley was born, Wet Wet Wet topped the charts with Love Is All Around and the Channel Tunnel opened, Sport England has made tens of thousands of investments – totalling £5 billion.

Many of the projects have been designed specifically to get people active for the first time, back into sports they gave up years ago or simply playing more sport. But some, for example the Kicks programme which uses football to improve young people’s lives, also achieve wider social benefits like getting people off the streets and giving disadvantaged young people a helping hand in life.

Among the tens of thousands of projects invested in with National Lottery and taxpayer funding are:

  • Horse riding for young people in Brixton, one of the most disadvantaged inner city neighbourhoods in the country. Ebony Horse Club was created in 2011, the first purpose built riding centre in inner London for more than 30 years. The club gives young people the chance to try something they might otherwise never experience, while also mentoring children who face significant challenges at school and at home.
  • The World Cup winning England Women’s Rugby Team, which received funding support to help prepare for their exceptional 2014 campaign. Funding helped pay for coaches, physiotherapy and training camps.
  • A boxing club in the Jamia Majid and Usmania mosque in Sheffield. Faced with antisocial behaviour in the Sharrow and Nether Edge area of the city, organisers converted a derelict building in the mosque into a boxing gym and offered local young people free sessions with qualified coaches. Over 600 young men have used the gym, and over 300 young women in female only sessions. The number of anti-social behaviour orders used has halved.
  • Wheels for Wellbeing – a project to help disabled people discover the benefits of cycling. Since it was set up, Wheels for Wellbeing has worked with thousands of disabled young people and adults who face barriers when taking part in sport. It offers regular, local and affordable opportunities to try cycling, to discover which adapted bikes work best and to continue cycling.

Launching the Five Billion Stories campaign, Sport England Chief Executive, Jennie Price, said:

“There is no doubt that £5 billion is an enormous amount of money and we’re exceptionally grateful to the people who’ve bought National Lottery tickets, and taxpayers, for making it possible for us to invest much needed funds in grassroots sport.

“Today we particularly want to thank the people behind the projects we have funded - without their vision, drive and commitment, they would simply not have happened. They have made an important contribution to their communities and to sport, and should take great pride in their achievements.”

Since official statistics started in October 2006, 1.5 million more people now play sport once a week, every week. The figure, which now stands at 15.5 million, includes the boost achieved following Britain hosting the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Since 1994:

  • Almost 15,000 playing fields have been protected from development.
  • More than 2000 schools, colleges and universities have received funding to get more young people active.
  • Over 100 sports funded to get more people playing and support talented athletes to progress – from football, rugby and tennis through to ultimate frisbee, rounders and water polo.
  • The smallest project funded was Lockswood Bowling Club in Southampton (£300 to repair the green after flood damage).

The announcement comes as Sport England unveiled 149 sports facilities and playing fields which have been awarded new funding. £16.5 million of National Lottery money will be invested to create new changing rooms, pavilions and artificial grass pitches to make people’s sporting experiences better.

Speaking about the new investments, Charles Johnson, Sport England’s Director of Property, said:

“We’re delighted to have invested £5 billion in community sport, and see on a daily basis the impact that it makes for local people.

“The latest round of facility funding continues to make a noticeable difference to community sports clubs across the country. By giving people top-class, sustainable facilities in which to play sport, and by improving and protecting our playing surfaces, we’re ensuring that more people can pay sport, more often.”

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