By Tom Degun at Festival Wakeboard Park in Essex

sportivate logoApril 10 - Sport England have announced a major £24 million ($37 million/€28 million) investment boost for their successful Sportivate programme which aims to get young people between 14 to 25-year-olds more involved in sport.

The announcement here comes two years after the London 2012 legacy programme was first launched, with new figures claiming to show that almost 190,000 teenagers and young adults have so far benefitted from free or discounted six-to-eight week sport courses through Sportivate.

Of these, 156,547 have successfully completed their coaching course, missing no more than one session.

The new funding means Sportivate will continue helping hundreds of thousands of young people get involved in sports from judo and tennis to wakeboarding and parkour until 2017.

The announcement here was attended by Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport Maria Miller, Sport England chief executive Jennie Price and London 2012 Olympic women's team pursuit champion Joanna Rowsell.

"The number of people playing sport is on the rise, which is really good news," said Miller.

"We are determined to leave a lasting legacy from London's Games and Sportivate is playing a key part in that.

"It's really important we keep the momentum going and help even more young people develop a sporting habit for life."

Sportivate is aimed primarily at young people who currently are not playing sport in their own time and gives them the chance to find a sport they like.

The young people are then helped to find a club or venue where they can keep taking part.

Research shows that most of the young people are sticking with sport three months after they have completed the Sportivate course.

"It's fantastic that Sportivate is helping so many young people to discover a new sport," said Rowsell.

"I only started cycling when I was 15 and it changed my life.

"Sport can be amazing if you find the one that's right for you.

"Whether you want to get serious about it or concentrate on the fun of taking part, Sportivate can help you to get involved."
Joanna RowsellLondon 2012 Olympic women’s team pursuit champion Joanna Rowsell (pictured right) has given her full backing to the Sportivate programme

Sportivate is being delivered by the network of 49 county sports partnerships, working with local clubs and providers while Festival Wakeboard Park here, where the announcement was made, is where a successful wakeboarding Sportivate project is based.

The initiative has already introduced more than 140 young people to the sport, with several youngsters so inspired that they've now qualified as instructors.

"Sportivate's success is built on listening to what young people want from sport and then giving them great opportunities to get involved," said Price.

"With dozens of traditional and non-traditional sports on offer, lots of young people are getting active and discovering a sport they really enjoy and want to keep playing."

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June 2011: Sport England launches £32 million project to get young people into sport as part of Olympic legacy push