Jennie Price, Sport England’s Chief Executive, has used the organisation’s annual conference to rally leading figures in grassroots sport around the shared mission of creating a lasting grassroots sporting legacy from London 2012.
The conference, Building partnerships that deliver, marked the beginning of a four-year cycle in which Sport England will invest £480 million of lottery and government funding in 46 national governing bodies of sport (NGBs) to deliver on the targets and outcomes set out in Sport England’s new strategy - including getting one million people doing more sport by 2013. Sport England is working to create a world-leading community sport system in England.
Reflecting on the challenges ahead, Jennie told conference delegates:
“We have to be brave enough to adjust as we go along and that’s where the judgement comes in. We have to be an organisation that genuinely rewards success and knows how to deal with failure. The funding we put into sport is an investment on which we expect a return. It is not a donation.”
Conference delegates also heard from Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, Andy Burnham MP, who described the next four years as a defining moment for English and British sport.
Referring to the progress made since the launch of Sport England’s new strategy, he said:
“Everyone has risen to the challenge…and a leaner, and more fit-for-purpose, Sport England has emerged. From here on, we can all have confidence that we are building on very solid foundations at every level.”
The conference was attended by Sport England’s key partners, including NGBs, national partners, county sports partnerships and local authorities.
Revealing for the first time British Cycling’s ambitious plans to use Sport England funding to develop grassroots cycling, Ian Drake, British Cycling’s CEO, said:
“Funding from Sport England has been fundamental to the transformation of British Cycling over the past decade. No matter how you dress it up, it’s all about quality coaches, events and facilities. Over the next four years, we are planning to get 125,000 more people cycling and create 120 podium potential athletes from our clubs and events.”