Sport England investment to help schools open their sports facilities
Sport England is investing £10.1 million of government money to help more schools open their facilities to the public once the pandemic is over.
The funding is in addition to the £1.5m awarded as part of the School Sport and Activity Action Plan Sport England announced in July 2019. It is provided by the Department for Education, and will help schools deliver extra-curricular activities. They will be able to open their facilities outside of the school day during evenings, weekends and school holidays.
Sport England will work with the nationwide network of Active Partnerships to distribute the funding. These are locally-based organisations that specifically focus on getting people in their areas involved in sport and physical activity.
Investment brings hope for community sport
Tim Hollingsworth, Sport England’s Chief Executive, said the money would help more children and young people return to sport and physical activity once safe to do so.
He said: “Schools play a vital role in keeping young people active. The pandemic has had a huge impact on their ability to open up their facilities.
“Active Partnerships will provide support and funding for their local schools, with this new investment. Then they will be able to open after school and during the school holidays. This will provide more sports clubs and activity facilities to children and the wider community.”
This investment comes at an important time. Covid-19 has led to a significant decline in schools offering after-school clubs for pupils, or opening their facilities for community use. Children and young people’s activity levels have declined as a result.
A recent survey, conducted on Sport England’s behalf, shows that 91% of schools would be prepared to open their facilities for community use when restrictions are lifted. This is despite the fact only 52% have been able to at any point over the last year.