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Sport England invests almost £0.5 billion in grassroots sport

Sport England today announced a £493 million four-year investment to keep the inspiration of London 2012 alive and help fulfil Lord Coe’s pledge that the Games would get more people – young and old, women and men – playing sport, a feat that no other host nation has ever managed to achieve. 

Cycling, netball, wheelchair basketball and triathlon are among the sports being rewarded for their strong plans and excellent progress on grassroots sport, all receiving funding increases of over 30 per cent.

  • England Netball has shown that understanding what women want from sport is key to getting more women involved and plans to add to its success with a new I love Netball campaign to inspire more teenage girls to take part
  • British Cycling will build on the work that’s got hundreds of thousands more people on their bikes in recent years, including Sky Ride, a great way of getting families on their bikes
  • More and more women and men are getting involved in triathlon and to keep up the momentum Triathlon England will introduce a low-cost events programme for anyone who has felt priced out of this exciting sport
  • British Wheelchair Basketball will lead work on a new cross-sport programme to help more disabled people get involved by improving links with groups that already support disabled people such as Rehabilitation Services.

Recognising that more needs to be done to make sport a practical lifestyle choice for disabled people, 40 sports have now developed detailed plans to tackle this challenge. Each will have specific targets for increasing the number of disabled people taking part.

Sport England’s Chief Executive, Jennie Price, said: “This investment represents Years 5 to 8 of our long term plan to get more people playing sport. We've learned a lot over the last four years and with a record 15.5 million people already playing sport once a week, we are on track to deliver. We have worked very hard, with the governing bodies of sport, to make these decisions, and I believe they are right.”

Minister for Sport Hugh Robertson said:

“This public investment of almost half a billion pounds for grassroots sport will help us deliver a real legacy from the London 2012 Games. We want all sports governing bodies to help inspire a generation and create a culture where people have a sporting habit for life.”

Backing youth

 At least 60 per cent of the investment announced today will support young people aged between 14 and 25.

More than £83 million of this will be used to support the development of talented young athletes in 43 sports, ensuring those with podium dreams receive the best possible coaching and support in high-quality facilities. Canoeing and sailing are among the sports receiving increased investment to further improve their strong talent programmes.

Jennie Price added:

“Every young athlete begins their sporting journey in a community - in their local club, helped by local volunteers. Our £83 million investment is designed to build a strong spine of talent support in the community system, to get them off to the best possible start.”

Sport England has worked closely with UK Sport to ensure talent and elite funding for Olympic and Paralympic sports is aligned and will deliver maximum value.

Demanding results

Investments in the 46 sports will be made through each sport’s governing body following a robust and challenging process to assess the quality of their plans and their ability to deliver for community sport and talent development.

Each sport will be subject to tough performance management through a ‘payment for results’ approach that will see Sport England rewarding success and penalising failure.

£40 million of the total funding package has been set aside in a Reward and Incentive Fund, enabling Sport England to move swiftly to help high-performing sports achieve even more. And any governing body that fails to achieve its annual targets for increasing participation faces losing 20 per cent of its remaining investment, with the money immediately available to bids from the open market.

The track record of swimming, tennis and basketball has led Sport England’s Board to make only one-year investments for participation in those sports. This will give the governing bodies the chance to demonstrate that they can succeed. Table tennis, fencing and squash are also receiving one-year awards because further development is needed in some areas of their work before a longer term commitment can be made.

Further investment for each of these six sports has been ring-fenced for the remaining three years. This money could be invested through the governing bodies providing they succeed in the first year of funding, and if not will be made available to other organisations that can promote participation in those sports.

Jennie Price said:

“For the first time we have created a specific fund to reward success by NGBs who prove they can grow their sports. This is about backing winners. Investment in this scale from the public purse is a big responsibility for the sector as a whole, and we are committed to a tough but fair approach of payment for results. We are determined to get good value for every pound of this funding”

To compliment its direct investment into the sports, Sport England today also announced £15.1 million to a number of partner organisations. These include those which promote diversity in sport, such as the Women’s Sport and Fitness Foundation and the English Federation of Disability Sport, and those with particular expertise such as Sportscoach UK. The funding will ensure the sports have access to high quality advice and support to help them achieve the goal of getting more people playing sport regularly.

Ian Drake, Chief Executive of British Cycling, said:

"Today’s Sport England funding announcement is a recognition of the good work done by British Cycling members and volunteers in driving grassroots participation and a challenge for us to do even better in the next four years. Whether it is for winning medals or for getting people active, we are proud of our record of delivering value for Lottery funding and we take the responsibility very seriously. There is still a great deal of work to do in making cycling in this country better. We’re looking forward to getting stuck in.”

Charlie Bethel, Chief Executive of British Wheelchair Basketball, said:

"We are delighted with the announcement by Sport England that will see a big increase in investment in to wheelchair basketball over the next four years. With Sport England and our partners we aim to continue the hard work that has been put in to grow and strengthen existing clubs and further opportunities for them whilst reaching new markets.  Sport England has placed its faith in us and provided the platform for us to realise the ambitions of our sport and our members.  We will build on the platform that has been growing over the last four years and capitalise on the increased exposure and attention the Summer Paralympic Games in London provided.  Whilst we doubled participation over the last four years, our eyes are set on providing wheelchair basketball for everyone who would like to play, coach, volunteer or officiate. This investment clearly states that wheelchair basketball is for life, not just for 2012.”

Zara Hyde Peters Chief Executive of British Triathlon Federation, said:

"This award from Sport England demonstrates their willingness to support our fast growing sport and to work in partnership with us to accelerate that growth and get even more people doing triathlon. We always said our olympic legacy was the level of interest we created in the sport; this investment will help us to turn inspiration into participation."

The sports receiving investment are: angling; archery; athletics; badminton; baseball/softball; basketball; boccia; bowls; boxing; canoeing; cricket; cycling; equestrianism; fencing; football; goalball; golf; gymnastics; handball; hockey; judo; lacrosse; modern pentathlon; mountaineering; movement & dance; netball; orienteering; rounders; rowing; rugby league; rugby union; sailing; shooting; snowsport; squash; swimming; table tennis; taekwondo; tennis; triathlon; volleyball; waterskiing; weightlifting; wheelchair basketball; wheelchair rugby; wrestling.

For more information please contact Sport England's press office:

Peter Dickinson on 020 7273 1800; Amy Wright on 020 7273 1593 or Natasha Quinn on 020 7273 1889.