By Claire West
Thirteen sports projects across the capital will be the first to benefit from a fund to transform community sports facilities and encourage more Londoners to be more active, the Mayor Boris Johnson has announced.
The Mayor wants to ensure Londoners benefit from a genuine grass roots sporting legacy from the 2012 Games and he set up the Playsport London Facilities Fund to invest in new and improved sports facilities.
In London there is a significant shortfall in the supply of sporting facilitates compared to demand. The city's sports halls are oversubscribed by more than 25% and artificial pitches by as much as 40%. By investing in local projects and increasing the capacity of these and other sports facilities, it is hoped that some of the imbalance could be addressed.
Projects to receive the funding cover a range of sports and activities, from athletics to tennis to climbing. They include the refurbishment of facilities at the QEII in Enfield - a stadium and playing field site where athletes Lord Coe, John Regis and Daley Thompson cut their teeth - and the development of a multi-use games area for TreeHouse, a specialist school in Haringey for autistic children and young people. In total the 13 awards will attract over 29,000 users per week, 10,000 of which will be new users.
The Mayor of London Boris Johnson said:
“We are fast approaching the final furlong in the build up to the 2012 Games and we want to harness this magnificent opportunity to improve sporting facilities throughout the capital and encourage many more people into sport for generations to come. By working with local organisations, we aim to get inert Londoners off their sofas and involved in a range of activity, and to achieve a true Olympic and Paralympic legacy.’
The Mayor’s Commissioner for Sport, Kate Hoey, said:
“These first awards from our facilities fund further demonstrate our determination to deliver a genuine grassroots sporting legacy from the 2012 Games for the people of London. The facilities we are investing in will provide sporting opportunities for people who are inspired by the Games to take up sport for many years to come".
Cllr Bambos Charalambous, Enfield Council cabinet member for young people, leisure, culture & Olympics said:
“I am delighted that the QE11 stadium has been recognised by the Mayor. It has served the local area well over many years and was a popular venue for race meetings where Seb Coe ran one of his early records. The QE11 can provide the inspiration for a new generation of athletes and footballers.”
More than half of London's adults do no sport or physical activity at all and the fund is being used to target local projects which have demonstrated how they will use their new facilities to engage this hard to reach demographic.