May 25 - The grass roots sports legacy initiative launched by London Mayor Boris Johnson and his Sports Commissioner Kate Hoey two years ago, which targeted matching its overall £15.5 million ($25.2 million) investment through the Sports Legacy Fund with equivalent outside funding, announced today that it expects to have generated £20 million ($33 million) of additional income from outside agencies by next month.
The scheme, entitled A Sporting Future for London, aims to stimulate new sporting activity throughout the capital with emphasis on involving those Londoners who have disabilities or who are among the 50 per cent of the capital's population classified as "inactive."
Having gained £15.7 million ($25.6 million) in equivalent funding from public and private sectors for initial awards totalling £5.4 million ($8.8 million), organisers now predict that those figures will rise to £8 million ($13 million) and £20 million ($33 million) respectively by June.
That leaves another £7.5 million ($12.2 million) of the ring-fenced money Johnson pledged would be devoted to improving the health and well being of Londoners while he was attending the 2008 Beijing Games.
Among those from the private sector who have already invested are Nike, which has put £450,000 ($734,000) into projects including a new basketball league, MWBEX Business Exchange, which is investing at least £75,000 ($122,000) in a project to teach 12,000 people to swim, Addison Lee, which has put £100,000 ($163,000) into a scheme aimed at getting shift workers to be more active, and Glaxo, which has invested £60,000 ($98,000) in pjojects involving running and BMX cycling.
In order to target a proportion of those who are officially "inactive" – that is, who do less than half an hour's exercise per month – the Sporting Future scheme seeks to ensure that this group should comprise at least 10 per cent of any projected user profile for any activity.
The balance of the investment fund will be allocated by the end of this financial year, in May 2012, but the hope is that measures such as the training of voluntary coaches, who will all be expected to give at least 25 hours of coaching back to the projects in which they become involved, will help to create an impetus that will see leagues and sporting initiatives become self-sustaining.
For example, the number of qualified judo coaches in Hillingdon Borough has more than tripled thanks to a grant from the Mayor's Sports Legacy Fund, which provided 75 per cent of the cost of training to add four volunteers in the Level 1 Certificate and seven in the Level 2.
"Money was definitely a barrier to getting more of our volunteers qualified as coaches," said Hillingdon Judo Club coach Vic Webber.
"The impact it's had on the coaches and the club is huge.
"It's renewed the motivation for our older coaches and ensured we have enough qualified new coaches coming through to sustain good quality judo teaching in Hillingdon.
"I feel confident at least one of the new coaches will open up their own judo club and allow more learners to enrol."
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April 2009: Mayor outlines bright future for sport in London