LEGACY BOOST FOR YOUNG LONDONERS
The sporting legacy of London 2012 is set for a major boost in the every London borough following a decision by council leaders to support the Balfour Beatty London Youth Games over the next three years with over £0.75m worth of funding.
The London Youth Games is playing a major role in driving up sports participation among young Londoners by acting as a catalyst motivating young people to take part in competitive sport. Europe’s largest annual youth sports event, it is free-to-enter for abled bodied and disabled 7-18 year olds, all of whom represent their own London borough team.
Final participation numbers are yet to be confirmed for the 2012 London Youth Games, which concluded on 1 July. But it is expected that figures from the 80 competitions within the Games could exceed 80,000; an all-time record for the 35 year old event and enough to fill the Olympic Stadium.
The event is now in line for a legacy deal that will see £237,000 awarded to the London Youth Games Foundation over each of the next three years, if a decision by London Councils, the body representing the capital’s 33 local authorities, gets the backing of boroughs.
London Councils’ Leaders’ Committee supported a proposal that each council in the capital should pay £7,200 a year from 2013-2016 to support the Games.
Councils have supported the London Youth Games since they began, providing core funding and staff to organise and develop the borough teams that enter each year.
Former participants have gone on to international success.
As well as stars like Rio Ferdinand and Linford Christie, more than 40 representatives of Team GB at the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games have taken part in the London Youth Games, including athlete Mo Farah, cyclist Bradley Wiggins and wheelchair racer David Weir.
Mayor Jules Pipe, chair of London Councils, said:
“London’s councils are serious about long-term support for sports and opportunities for young people. The London Youth Games play an important part in promoting sport in London, and as we get ready to host the Olympic and Paralympic Games we must ensure that we help to secure a sporting legacy for future generations.”
Russell Findlay, London Youth Games Foundation chief executive, said: “I am delighted that all of London’s councils have made this pledge to support the Games and the opportunities it provides. The Games inspires over 3000 volunteers to provide sports coaching and competitions for young Londoners and this investment, along with the hard work of borough officers, provides a real boost community sport in London”
Council investment helps to boost private sponsorship for the Games too – every £1 that councils contribute attracts more than £3 from businesses.
London Councils’ decision is due to be voted on at the London Youth Games Annual General Meeting later this year.