Schools receive up to £10,000 to increase access to sports facilities this summer
Children in 23 London boroughs will have increased access to physical activity and sport throughout this Olympic summer and into the new school year thanks to nearly £800,000 of London Sport investment.
The funding, which comes from the Department for Education via Sport England, will support 84 schools to open or re-open their facilities outside of school hours for the benefit of young people.
A heavily disrupted 2019-20 academic year saw just 41.9% of London’s children (years 1-11) hit the recommended average of 60 minutes or more of activity every day, 4.2% lower than the year before.
Data from Sport England has also demonstrated the significant impact of covid-19 on young people’s mental wellbeing with drops in confidence and competence when it comes to physical activity.
To combat these trends, schools will receive up to £10,000 to purchase equipment and start new clubs to engage the community and young people with physical activity.
Investment will also ensure facilities are covid-safe and cover out-of-hours staff costs to ensure facilities are well-managed during the evenings, weekends, and school holidays.
London Sport will also work with funded schools, as well as local providers and National Governing Bodies, to ensure a varied, high-quality physical activity offer.
London Sport’s Project Manager, Molly Adkin, said:
“Unfortunately, London’s children remain less active than the national average so we know there’s lots of work to be done to ensure young people are finding fun, safe and accessible opportunities.
“As such, this funding is pivotal in ensuring London’s young people are able to enjoy more physical activity which will have long-term physical, mental and social benefits.
“This funding has been specifically targeted to areas where we expect it to have the greatest impact and we look forward to hearing more from schools on their progress over the coming months.”
Head of PE at Thomas More Catholic School (Croydon), Laura Rowden, added:
“After lockdown, the PE department found many students’ fitness levels had decreased and many had become disinterested in sport. In particular, we found it difficult to engage our female students.
“The money will make a huge difference to the students. The project will fund two new trampolines as trampolining has been identified by disengaged students as an activity that they enjoy.”
School Business Manager at Heathcote School (Waltham Forest), Julie Vazquez, said:
“This grant has enabled the school to improve the opportunities for pupils to participate in a wide range of sporting activities. Having additional sporting equipment will also help us to build collaborative relationships with local sports clubs.”
Year 9 pupils at Heathcote, Abbie and Bernice, added:
“It will help to improve out skills and access to sports which we currently can’t play and improve our mental health as it allows us to connect more with the outside world and people within the area.”