Sport England today announced a £36 million investment in ‘Sport Unlimited’ - a nationwide initiative to get more children and young people taking part in sports that interest them most outside of school.
The three-year programme will enable 900,000 more 11-19 year olds to choose from a vast range of sports including several in which Team GB has excelled at the 2008 Olympics such as sailing and cycling as well as less traditional sports like dodgeball, snowboarding and American football.
Sport Unlimited offers young people 10-week taster sessions in sports which they have requested and aims to get 300,000 participants to join clubs and continue with sport when the 10 weeks are up.
The programme, run by Sport England in partnership with the Youth Sport Trust and County Sports Partnerships across England, has already been successfully trailblazed in 12 areas and will now be fully rolled out across the country, resulting in 4,000 new sporting projects being set up.
Sport Unlimited will make a significant contribution to the Government’s target of giving children and young people the opportunity to do 5 hours of PE and sport a week at school and in the community. The funding is part of the additional £100 million investment in sport for young people announced by the Prime Minister in 2007.
Jennie Price, Sport England Chief Executive, said:
“Today’s announcement demonstrates our determination to do everything we can to get more young people regularly taking part in sport.
“I particularly welcome the extent to which the sports on offer through this initiative will be driven and determined by young people themselves. Having their input will help sustain their enthusiasm and commitment to the programme.”
Projects from the 12 trailblazer areas across the country have already shown strong results. ‘Sail of the Century’* in South London -- which encouraged 120 young people to get involved in kayaking and sailing -- led to local clubs running specific competitions and regattas for the young people and providing them with opportunities to gain qualifications in the sport.
In the east of England, Active Norfolk directly surveyed 25,000 young people to find out exactly what sports they really wanted to take part in. 44 projects were then delivered including ‘Skiing after school’ – a chance for young people from rural South Norfolk to try snowboarding and skiing at Norfolk Ski Club. 94% of the young people who took part in the project completed the course.
Steve Grainger, Chief Executive of the Youth Sport Trust, said:
“The Youth Sport Trust welcomes this new initiative which plays an extremely important role in encouraging more young people in to sport and builds on the vital work that is already taking place in school and community sport to get youngsters more active and engaged in a range of sporting activities."
Sport Unlimited will help Sport England to achieve its strategic goal of making a major contribution to the delivery of the five hour offer for children and young people.