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Go! London funds young people's business ideas

We're partners in the community sport fund, which has invested more than £4.4 million in the capital since its launch a year ago.

28th February 2024

Go! London, the capital’s biggest ever community sport fund, has celebrated one year of success by launching a new programme to help even more Londoners get active and enjoy sport and physical activity.

The fund is a five-year, £19.5 million partnership between us, the Mayor of London and the London Marathon Foundation.

We committed £7.5m of National Lottery money to the partnership, as it aligns with one of the key issues in our Uniting the Movement strategy: to create positive experiences of sport and activity for children and young people

Its new Young Entrepreneurs programme is supporting young people to develop business ideas that aim to improve Londoners’ access to sport and physical activity.

To mark its first year the programme hosted a ‘Dragons' Den’-style competition at London Stadium, where 12 young entrepreneurs aged 16-24 presented ideas to a judging panel.

Winners and judges of the Go! London Young Entrepreneurs competition pose for a photo at London Stadium

Ten ideas were selected in principle for the year-long programme with support from the School for Social Entrepreneurs, receiving grants of £15,000 each.

Their ideas will be brought to life across communities, helping people from low-income families, ethnically diverse communities and disabled Londoners to access sport and physical activity across the capital.

"What a fantastic way to celebrate one year of success of Go! London," said Lisa Dodd-Mayne, our executive director of place.

"We’re so proud to support Go! London and play a part in changing the lives of underserved and vulnerable young Londoners through sport and physical activity.  

"We want every child and young person to experience the enjoyment and benefits that being active can bring.

"Together with our partners, we’ve invested, and will continue to invest, in the capital’s grassroots sport and physical activity sector to make sport, and the many benefits it brings, accessible to all so that the most disadvantaged young Londoners can fulfil their potential."

The focus of the successful projects include:

  • Tackling the issues Muslim and Black Asian minority ethnic women face in football and providing an accessible space for all women to play. They aim to make money through funding, sponsorship and clothing.
  • A sustainable activewear and printing brand, working with local young people and mentoring them in printing.
  • Positively impacting the community through planned community walks, particularly geared towards young Muslim women. These walks aren't only an opportunity for individuals to connect with nature but also serve as a platform for fostering good mental wellbeing.
  • Creating a safe space for women above the age of 12 to learn boxing and muay Thai as a way of self-defence.
  • Running football camps for those who can't afford to pay, raising money for the cost of pitch time through sponsorship.
  • Creating a safe space and teaching football and basketball sessions to 7-11-year-olds who are struggling with the pressure of the secondary school environment.
  • Removing barriers and tackling social isolation for young people through an app that helps connect those trying new activities or arranging matches.
  • Building a digital marketplace which allows young people facing financial barriers to list itemised requests for equipment or small pockets of financial aid, ranging from football boots or support to cover travel costs. Local organisations and small businesses can become sponsors through donating the items directly or providing small-scale sponsorships.
  • Creating sportswear that's sustainable, affordable and inclusive of different body sizes and is modest through upcycling.

"We’re so proud to support Go! London and play a part in changing the lives of underserved and vulnerable young Londoners through sport and physical activity."

Lisa Dodd-Mayne

Executive director of place, Sport England

Go! London aims to transform the lives of underserved children and young Londoners; strengthen, diversify and sustain the capital’s physical activity and sport provision; and reduce the barriers to sport and physical activity facing children and young Londoners to ensure they can fulfil their potential.

In its first year, the fund invested more than £4.4m into London’s community sport sector, awarding grants to 118 organisations including Loughborough Junction Action Group, Pedal Power, grassroots sport such as SwimUnity and community organisations such as Magpie Dance, to deliver inclusive and accessible sports provision and create safe spaces for young people.

Funded programmes this year will reach over 60,000* underserved young Londoners by December 2026, including young people from low-income families, ethnically diverse communities, disabled young people and young Londoners experiencing homelessness.

Young people’s physical, mental and social wellbeing will be supported through a range of activities such as swimming, basketball, mentoring and Afro-beat dance-based sessions.

Looking ahead to year two of the fund, Go! London will invest £250,000 into helping five schools to improve school halls and fields to enable these areas to benefit local community groups working on activities or projects for underserved children and young people – providing inclusive and easy access.

*Over 60,000 underserved young Londoners is a projected figure based on how many people the organisations thought they would reach with the help of the funding.

Find out more

Go! London

Further reaction

Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London

"I know the huge difference that sport can make to physical, mental and emotional wellbeing and it’s vital that all young people can take full advantage of these benefits, no matter their personal circumstances.

"That’s why Go! London and this brilliant new programme for young entrepreneurs is so important – giving talented young people the chance to see their ideas become a reality and helping more Londoners get active.

"City Hall will work closely with our Go! London partners to seek new opportunities to support London’s youth through sport, building a better, safer, fairer and more prosperous London for all."

Parent of a child involved in the Swimunity programme

"I wanted to take a moment to express my deepest gratitude for the incredible impact Swimunity CIC has had on my son's life. Since he started attending his confidence and focus have soared to new heights, and I couldn't be more thrilled.

"Every weekend, my son eagerly looks forward to attending his swimming sessions. He takes great pride in ensuring that his swimming kit, including his swimming hat, is ready and in his bag, all on his own. This newfound sense of organisation and responsibility is a testament to the valuable lessons he has learned through the programme.

"The joy and pride I feel as a parent witnessing my son's growth and accomplishments are immeasurable. The impact the programme has had will resonate with him for years to come."

Young Entrepreneur J'don, founder of Active Jays

"I started Active Jays seven years ago when I found there weren't many sports available for young people outside of school. I wanted to create a safe and fun environment that helps them channel their energy into something positive and allows them to connect with people from different backgrounds through sports.

"My next goal is to expand throughout London and offer sessions in every school across every borough. The Go! London programme has been amazing. I've never had an opportunity like this. From the start, it's helped me grow personally and professionally. The skills and network I've gained will help me grow my business."

Patricia Hamzahee, co-founder of Black Funding Network and Give BLACK, NFL Foundation UK trustee

"This is a great initiative. I love seeing young people be inspired, have their ambitions encouraged and get the support they need to turn their ideas into reality. I think the Go! London programme shows it can be done.

"The ideas I've seen are really innovative, creative and so inspiring. The sense of purpose, ambition and creativity is amazing. Social enterprises are integral to the economy and investing in the social fabric of communities is important. These organisations use their profits to continue to do good work in their communities.

"London, being so diverse ethnically, socially, and economically, needs this kind of investment. When you go to different boroughs of London, you hear communities and local authorities talk about community wealth building and social enterprises are essential to achieving that."

Catherine Anderson, executive director, London Marathon Foundation

"Our vision at the London Marathon Group is Inspiring Activity, and in just one year of the Go! London partnership, we've made strides so that thousands of undeserved young Londoners can have greater access to physical activity – and this is only the beginning.

"By working collaboratively, Go! London partners have designed a variety of funding initiatives aimed at changing the sport and physical activity landscape in London.

"From investing in the ideas of young people for social purpose businesses, to funding more than one hundred community sport and physical activity organisations, Go! London is using the power of sport and physical activity to improve the physical, mental and social wellbeing of undeserved young Londoners today and for years to come."

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