The Sainsbury’s 2014 School Games Finals, which will see almost 1,600 of Britain’s most talented young people, including 192 disabled athletes, compete across 12 different sports, is a stunning showcase of youth sport but it is just the tip of the iceberg.
The School Games Finals, which take place in Manchester, mark the culmination of a year of multi-sport events which have enabled students of all abilities from almost 18,000 schools to take part in a variety of sport at school, local and county level. The Games, which are delivered by the Youth Sport Trust, have also sparked a wave of volunteering as 26,000 young people have helped put on events across the country.
Sport England is investing £35.5m of National Lottery funding into the School Games between 2012 and 2015 but it is just one of many ways that we are helping more schools provide sporting opportunities for their students.
We know that school is a great opportunity for children and young people to develop an enthusiasm for sport which can become the foundation for a lifelong sporting habit. School sport is not just about PE lessons though and that is why, between 2012 and 2015, we are investing £92.2m into sport in schools to ensure that students have the best experience possible.
To ensure that children can get active as soon as they start school we are making a number of investments at primary school level to improve both the facilities and the practical support available to schools.
Our Primary Spaces programme has provided grants of up to £30,000 to create exciting outside spaces at 601 schools across England. This funding is helping those schools with the greatest need to turn their limited outdoor space into stimulating activity areas which will inspire their students to get active.
We are also contributing a further £5.2m to support primary schools with the use of their PE and Sport Premium which they receive from the Department for Education. This investment goes to the network of county sports partnerships and will allow them to support schools as they co-ordinate their approach to sport and continue to improve the opportunities available to students.
For all of these programmes to work, it is vital that the right people are delivering sport and that is why we are providing £2.1m to help train volunteer leaders and coaches. This investment will help to ensure that young people receive high-quality support from fully-trained volunteers.
These investments are underpinned by our continued investment into the Youth Sport Trust, which develops and delivers a range of initiatives in a number of different aspects including coaching, leadership and clubs.
All of this work is part of our wider £445m support for youth sport which aims to get more young people playing sport once a week every week. You can read about this work here or view the infographic above to discover more about our total investment in youth sport.