Outcomes from Major Sports Engagement Fund bring meaningful benefits for London's communities
With the end of the second covid-19 lockdown taking effect this week and London moving into Tier 2 restrictions, noises unheard in the capital since March will spring up again.
Chants, cheers, songs, groans, elation, disappointment – the sounds of crowds returning to the capital’s major stadia.
The wealth of elite sport that takes place across London has long been one of the city’s greatest sporting assets.
From its Premier League football and Superleague netball clubs to its global sporting megaevents, London has long been home to some of the greatest elite sporting assets of any major city in the world.
And those assets play an important role in London’s communities.
Whether it’s in the fan relationships that foster new senses of community, the outreach work of the numerous Foundations working across the city, or the inspiration provided to young Londoners, elite sport has played an important role in making London the city that it is today.
That level of influence offers real opportunities for people across the capital, and as it returns to the four corners of London this month, it is worth reflecting on the wider impact that returns alongside it.
Indeed, it plays a key part in helping to realise the Mayor of London’s vision of London as the world’s most active and socially integrated.
Through the Mayor’s Major Sports Engagement Fund, hundreds of Londoners have been supported by community projects linked to some of the biggest major sporting events held in the city.
And, through a partnership between the Mayor and London Sport, a greater level of coordination has helped to realise those very real impacts in the heart of numerous communities throughout the capital.
Alongside the economic benefits that hosting a major sporting event brings, these events have increasingly been driven to bring tangible social benefits for Londoners, to help them confront tough challenges around social isolation, social mixing, mental health, inactivity and serious youth violence.
The success of these projects comes in their ability to bring together Londoners of different ages and backgrounds, and increasing opportunities for people of every background to engage with sport and to build meaningful relationships within their communities.
Inevitably, the impacts of the covid-19 pandemic have been felt across the Major Sports Engagement Fund with some programme interruptions felt, particularly across the spring-summer period.
Nevertheless, the programme saw more than 2,500 people supported from a range of diverse communities across London, and more than £150,000 invested directly into community programmes for Londoners.
With outcomes including over 300 volunteering opportunities, community sport delivery training for 74 Londoners, and more than 800 young Londoners provided with money-can’t-buy experiences.
The latter point has included behind the scenes access to elite competition, stadia, and engagement with athletes and coaches.
Outcomes from the programme have shown that the return of elite sport to the capital will, in time, bring with it meaningful benefits for communities of Londoners in every part of the city.
The wider impacts of the Mayor’s Major Sports Engagement Fund have been captured in a new project review, available here.
For more information on the Mayor of London’s vision for sport click here.