Sport England announces £493 million investment into grassroots sport

Monday, 17 December 2012
By Tom Degun at Westway Sports Centre in London

TriathlonDecember 17 - Sport England has today announced a major £493 million ($799 million/€607 million) four-year investment in grassroots sport here in a move to help build on the legacy of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The funding is set to be split across 46 able-bodied and disabled sports in a bid to get more people, particularly youngsters, involved in sport.

The big winners of the funding announcement are cycling, netball, triathlon and wheelchair basketball, with all four being rewarded for their strong plans and excellent progress on grassroots sport, with huge funding increases of over 30 per cent.

However, the losers are swimming, tennis and basketball as their track record has led Sport England's Board to make only one-year investments for participation in those sports, meaning that they must demonstrate that they can succeed quickly to get further funding.

Table tennis, fencing and squash are also receiving one-year awards because further development is needed in some areas of their work before a longer term commitment can be made.

Further investment for each of these six sports has been ring-fenced for the remaining three years and the money could be invested through the governing bodies providing they succeed in the first year of funding.

If not, it will be made available to other organisations that can promote participation in those sports.

Andy MurrayTennis is one of the sports that has been told by Sport England to improve participation rates or risk funding cuts

"This investment represents years five to eight of our long term plan to get more people playing sport," said Sport England chief executive Jennie Price.

"We've learned a lot over the last four years and with a record 15.5 million people already playing sport once a week, we are on track to deliver.

"We have worked very hard, with the governing bodies of sport, to make these decisions, and I believe they are right."

At least 60 per cent of the investment announced today will support young people aged between 14 and 25, with over £83 million ($135 million/€102 million) to be used to support the development of talented young athletes in 43 sports.

Canoeing and sailing are among the sports receiving increased investment to further improve their strong talent programmes.

"Every young athlete begins their sporting journey in a community – in their local club, helped by local volunteers," said Price.

"Our £83 million ($135 million/€102 million) investment is designed to build a strong spine of talent support in the community system, to get them off to the best possible start."

Investments in the 46 sports will be made through each sport's governing body following a process to assess the quality of their plans and their ability to deliver for community sport and talent development.

Each sport will be subject to performance management through a "payment for results" approach that will see Sport England rewarding success and penalising failure.

Around £40 million ($65 million/€49 million) of the total funding package has been set aside in a Reward and Incentive Fund, enabling Sport England to move swiftly to help high-performing sports achieve even more.

Any governing body that fails to achieve its annual targets for increasing participation faces losing 20 per cent of its remaining investment, with the money immediately available to bids from the open market.

"For the first time we have created a specific fund to reward success by NGBs (national governing bodies) who prove they can grow their sports," added Price.

"This is about backing winners.

"Investment in this scale from the public purse is a big responsibility for the sector as a whole, and we are committed to a tough but fair approach of payment for results.

"We are determined to get good value for every pound of this funding."

Wheelchair basketballWheelchair basketball has been rewarded for excellent progress on grassroots sport with a major funding boost from Sport England

To complement its direct investment into the sports, Sport England today also announced £15.1 million ($24.4 million/€18.6 million) to a number of partner organisations.

These include those which promote diversity in sport, such as the Women's Sport and Fitness Foundation and the English Federation of Disability Sport, and those with particular expertise, such as Sportscoach UK.

Meanwhile, in recognising that more needs to be done for disabled people to take part in sport, 40 sports have now developed detailed plans to tackle this challenge and each will have specific targets for increasing the number of disabled people taking part.

"This public investment of almost half a billion pounds for grassroots sport will help us deliver a real legacy from the London 2012 Games," said Sports Minister Hugh Robertson.

"We want all sports governing bodies to help inspire a generation and create a culture where people have a sporting habit for life."

Sport England has worked closely with UK Sport to ensure talent and elite funding for Olympic and Paralympic sports is aligned and will deliver maximum value.

UK Sport is set to announce its funding for elite Olympic and Paralympic sports for the 2013-2017 period tomorrow.

Contact the writer of this story at tom.degun@insidethegames.biz


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