Four thousand new sports clubs and £10 million Sainsbury’s investment to inspire a new sporting generation

Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt unveils £1 billion strategy to deliver on 2012 Games promise to inspire a generation to get involved in sport

Every secondary school in England is set to host a community sports club, as part of a new strategy to encourage young people to play sport for life, Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt announced today.

The move is a key part of a £1 billion, five-year youth and community sport strategy published today that will deliver on Lord Coe’s 2012 Games bid promise to inspire a generation to get involved in sport.

The strategy, to be delivered by Sport England, will see new school-based sports clubs established with links to one or more sports’ national governing bodies. Expert coaches will run sessions to help create strong ties between schools and local sports clubs already in existence in their area. Football has pledged that 2,000 of their clubs will be linked to secondary schools by 2017, rugby union 1,300 clubs, cricket, 1,250 clubs and rugby league and tennis 1,000 clubs each.

Also, for the first time, funding will be made available to open up school sport facilities for wider public use.  Three-quarters of sports halls and artificial pitches and a third of swimming pools in England are located on school sites and £10 million of funding will enable communities to make the most of these local sporting assets.

£100 million will be invested in creating the clubs and tackling the drop-off in sports participation that can happen when young people leave school. Of this, £50 million will be invested to boost sport provision at further education colleges and universities.

The funding will also provide a full-time sports professional for at least 150 further education colleges, to drive forward innovative sports provision.

Around £450 million will go to sports governing bodies between 2013 and 2017 for their ‘whole sport plans.’ Around 60 per cent will benefit young people aged 14 – 25 so that sports are completely focussed on helping to drive a sporting habit for life. The remaining 40 per cent will be aimed at the rest of the population. Funding to governing bodies will be on a payments-by-results basis with sports that fail to deliver putting their public funding at risk.

Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport Jeremy Hunt said:

“Despite huge investment of public funds since we won the right to host the Games, participation by young people in sport has been falling. We need a radical change in policy to address the deep-seated problem of people dropping out of sport when they leave school. Our bold approach will see money going to organisations that deliver on youth participation, but also withdrawn quickly from those which fail to meet agreed objectives.”

Sport England Chief Executive Jennie Price said:

“Changing the sporting behaviour of a generation is a major challenge, which has not been achieved by any other Olympic host nation. With a new focus on young people and an even tougher, Government backed, regime of payment by results, Sport England and its partners are determined to deliver.”

Alex Horne, General Secretary of the FA, said:

“Football welcomes the Sport England strategy and the increased focus on youth participation. A priority will be taking 2,000 local football clubs into secondary schools across the country, offering expert coaching and creating the strong ties that will help young people make the move from school sport to community sport.”

Ian Drake, Chief Executive of British Cycling, said:

“Looking ahead to the next funding cycle, we have ambitious plans to build further on the success we’ve achieved over the past few years, and to capitalise on the inspirational impact of London 2012 to increase participation. We look forward to continuing to work closely with Sport England on turning these plans into reality under the new strategy outlined today. We take our responsibilities seriously in terms of maximising the impact of the public money we receive. We fully appreciate the fact this funding is a privilege and not a right, and with that in mind it makes sense to tie-in continued funding to the achievement of agreed goals and objectives to help ensure the best return on investment across all sports.”

David Collier, Chief Executive of the ECB, said:

“The ECB welcomes the new Sport England strategy and the reach down to 14 year olds.
This very much mirrors crickets own strategy to get more young people playing at school and in clubs and keep them involved in the game throughout their lives.”

Paul Clark, Chief Executive of England Netball, said:

“The success we’ve had in growing adult netball participation through our Back2Netball programme has clearly demonstrated that the participant-focused approach we take at England Netball is the right one. Our key challenge over the next four years will be to apply that approach and learning to drive increased participation in netball amongst young people aged between 14 and 25 years of age. This age group is critical to our ambition of encouraging and enabling engagement in Netball for Life.”

There is also an additional £160 million to improve the nation’s sports facility stock between 2012 and 2017, building on Sport England’s existing £90 million ‘Places, People, Play’ legacy facilities investment, while a new £40 million local sport fund will also be set up to help local authorities improve sport provision.

The Youth Sport strategy will build on the success of, and complement, the £150 million ‘School Games’ that is rejuvenating competitive sport for young people with over 11,000 schools signed up.


  • FEMALE, AGED 16 – 20?

British Handball Association will hold trials at Crystal Palace on Friday 13th January 2012 to create a women’s training squad in preparation for selecting a team to compete in the U20 World Handball Championships.  Athletes need not have previous experience as British Handball will operate an accelerated programme to prepare the athletes.

Attend the trials 7.00pm – 9.00pm at Crystal Palace National Sports Centre, Ledrington Road, London. SE19 2BB. Pre-register and further details email


First Cabinet meeting of the year on Olympic Handball court 200 days before Games begin

Today the Prime Minister hosted the first Cabinet meeting of the year at the Olympic Park, reflecting the huge importance the Government places on making the most of the Games and its legacy for Britain.

Ministers will then travel to visit businesses, sports facilities, schools and organisations all around the UK to see first hand how the Games will benefit the whole country.

With 200 days to go until the start of Olympics, the Prime Minister wants the Cabinet to focus on making 2012 the best Games ever and securing the maximum benefit from this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

The meeting comes on the day that three more Olympic venues have their future ownership confirmed, creating hundreds of future jobs and opportunities at the Park.

Securing the future of the Aquatics Centre and Multi-Use Arena (Handball Arena), AccelorMittal Orbit and the management of the Park estate creates more than 250 jobs and provides much-needed training and opportunities for small businesses.

This means that, thanks to the work of the Olympic Park Legacy Company, even at this stage, six out of eight permanent Olympic venues have secured a great future and we are well on track to ensuring a brilliant legacy for all of the sites before the Games even start – a first for any Olympic city in history.

Sisters of evolution: how a handball team was born

From nothing to the 2012 Olympics, Robin Scott-Elliot charts the amazing rise of Britain’s side

This is a story of cash crises, job losses and the familiar struggle to makes ends meet, but what bars it from becoming a morose inclusion in the zeitgeist is that those involved could not be happier with their lot.

Yesterday afternoon when a former winner of Scandinavian Big Brother flung home a penalty to seal victory for Britain’s fledgling handball side over opponents preparing for the world championship, it cued abundant celebrations for her and her team-mates. It was one up for the optimists.

“Today makes it all seem worthwhile,” said Kathryn Fudge, scorer of four goals against Angola in a warm-up event for the 2012 Olympics designed to test team and venue, and barer of a name that will not take much remembering for next year. Fudge, a tall left-back from Bury, scored her first inside the opening minute and only a post denied her a four-minute hat-trick.

If an audience consisting for the large part of noisy schoolchildren did not need persuading that an afternoon off was something to shout about, a ferocious performance by a British team in a sport that is fast and physical – players departed the arena sporting bruises and black eyes – suggested that a wider audience will be easily won over come 2012.

In Sydney, handball became the cult hit of the 2000 Games, attracting large audiences and in Beijing three years ago it was one of the best attended events. “The Copper Box”, as the 6,500-arena has been branded – its outside is clad in copper – is not one of the Olympic Park’s more striking venues but, intimate and noisy, it will challenge any for atmosphere. Those with tickets – it is sold out – for a sport that registers with few Britons, are sitting on an improbable winner if yesterday’s contest, a 22-20 victory for Britain over Africa’s best side is anything to go by.

That Britain will have a team involved is perhaps even more improbable. As hosts they are entitled to a place but when London was awarded the Olympics in 2005 there was no such thing as a British handball team.

An early attempt, in 2007, to raise the 16 women needed to make up the squad gleaned a total of three players. Through talent searches – Fudge is one of three to have come through a UK Sport campaign fronted by Sir Steve Redgrave – and a Jack Charlton-esque ancestorial trawl around Europe’s leagues, they now have a playing group that has made remarkable progress. As yesterday’s result – part of the six-team London Handball Cup – demonstrated, they are fast closing the gap. “We have progressed so much,” said Britt Goodwin.

It was Goodwin who scored the last-minute penalty. She is one of the team’s most experienced players and, having grown up in Norway ,one of those who has a true grounding in the sport.

Her father, Steve, was a footballer for Norwich and Southend before moving to Norway, where the family settled. In 2005, the year London won the Games, Goodwin won the first Sweden/Norway Big Brother and a prize of £100,000 that has helped fund her journey back to her father’s home.

It has not been a smooth ride. When she first joined the squad there were moments of genuine despair. “The lowest of the low,” was how she recently described the standard of the early days. “We have been working so hard and to finally be here we can see the light at the end of the tunnel,” she said yesterday. “We’ve had a lot of ups and downs and we’re very proud to be here.”

In the crowd, Jan Jukes was proudly wearing a British handball T-shirt. “No 1 fan” it said on the sleeve. Her daughter Louise was a junior England hockey player when she caught Redgrave’s appeal on the BBC News channel. Soon she was leaving her job, her boyfriend and her family to move to Denmark to try and make it at a sport she had never heard of. “I was happy for her to chase her dream,” said Jan.

It has not come easily. The T-shirt was designed by her daughter who also sorted the printing and manufacture and she and the rest of her team-mates sell them to try and raise much-needed funds.

The women’s squad are now based at Crystal Palace and share flats and houses around the area. They train twice a day, six times a week ,and regularity has led to dramatic improvement.

At full-time, having come from three goals down midway through the second half, the British players leapt and hugged each other and danced around the court.

“If you look back four, five years you would never have imagined that at all,” said Fudge. “There were a few of us that choked up during the anthems… but it’s the Olympic dream, isn’t it?”

Know the sport: Handball

Britain will be entering handball teams in the Olympics for the first time, but the men’s sport has been a fixture since Munich in 1972 and women were included four years later in Montreal. France (men) and Norway (women) are the current champions. The sport’s heartland is Scandinavia and eastern Europe, although China is a rising force.

The seven-a-side matches, on a 40m x 20m court, are played with what looks like a shrunken football – big hands are an advantage. Players dribble and pass while shots reach 100kmh. Games comprise two 30-minute halves and usually see 40 to 50 goals. “It’s very physical,” said Louise Jukes, one of the British squad. “That’s what I love about it, a bit rough and tumble yet still elegant and skilful.”

Watch, learn and play with “The Games and Beyond”

The Games and Beyond, a Sport-England-led initiative which aims to turn Olympic and Paralympic spectators into sporting participants, launched last week.

Next summer hundreds of the world’s best athletes will descend on London for the greatest sporting show on earth, and The Games and Beyond will help ticketholders prepare for this marvellous spectacle.

Over one million Olympic and Paralympic ticketholders are being given the opportunity to discover the stories behind the sports on show and also find out how they can play the sports themselves.

Anyone who has purchased a ticket for London 2012 will receive a series of newsletters signposting them to www.thegamesandbeyond.coma website that is open to everyone and packed full of need-to-know information, exciting Games news and guides to help people take part in each sport.

The Games and Beyond is part of Sport England’s London 2012 legacy programme which aims to build on the excitement of a home Olympic and Paralympic Games to increase sporting participation across the country.

Jennie Price, Sport England’s Chief Executive, said: “London 2012 will offer over a million people the opportunity to enjoy the drama of watching live competition, learn more about the events and be inspired to go out and play sport. 

“With the help of The Games and Beyond, every Olympic and Paralympic spectator will be able to become a participant and discover a sport that they enjoy playing, ensuring that the excitement of London 2012 is sustained to create a lasting legacy.”

The Games and Beyond has been developed by Sport England in partnership with all of the national governing bodies of Olympic and Paralympic sports and is supported by the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG).

Chris Townsend, Commercial Director at LOCOG, said: “We have had an unprecedented level of interest in tickets for the Olympic and Paralympic Games, it shows that the British public want to be part of London 2012. We hope that The Games and Beyond will not only help people understand the sports that they are going to watch but also try out the sports for themselves.”

Even if you do not have tickets to the Games you can still view the website and find out how you can take up an Olympic or Paralympic sport, just visit

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