100 Days to go to London 2012: Sport Wales to unveil Lottery boosted Community Strategy

As the nation celebrates 100 days to go to London 2012, Sport Wales has today published a strategy for community sport in Wales - designed to challenge the sports sector to up the ante in increasing the number of people across the nation playing sport.

Chair of Sport Wales, Professor Laura McAllister was joined at today's launch by Sports Minister, Huw Lewis to announce the news that Sport Wales is to invest a further £9million National Lottery funding into community sport over the next three years. In total this means that Sport Wales will be injecting a total of almost £30m a year into community sport in Wales.

News-Latest-CommunityStrategy"The Community Sport Strategy sets out clear priorities to enable a dramatic shift in the range and number of people involved in local sport.  It's about developing much wider offers, both formal and recreational, which are capable of appealing to a greater variety of children, young people and adults. To this end we are investing an additional £9million over the next three years from our National Lottery budget into community sport. The aim is simple - it's to get every child in Wales, without exception, hooked on sport for life," added Professor McAllister.

"We know that there are pockets of good work happening across Wales. But good work needs to become the norm everywhere. We need a shift in the number and range of children playing sport, particularly among groups that may have less opportunity to take part. We simply cannot be complacent and we need everybody in the sector to raise their game."

The Minister for Sport, Huw Lewis said, "Every young person should have the chance to shine and be given an opportunity to contribute positively to their community, irrespective of their circumstances.  Sport can play an important role in helping young people and families to deal with and overcome difficult situations and to strive for a better future.  I'm extremely hopeful that this strategy will play its part in helping to reduce and prevent poverty by reducing barriers and inequalities."

In the sector-wide strategy, Sport Wales has spelt out that it will be far more targeted with resources and incentivize and invest in:

  • Partners that have ambition to deliver more opportunities for more children and young people, particularly those hard to reach groups where we need to see higher participation rates. Recognising that every child has a right to the opportunity to play sport;
  • Sports that are prepared to introduce shorter, informal, social  versions of traditional sports to respond to the growing time pressures that people face;
  • Sports clubs that are thriving hubs of activity, looking to broaden and boost the numbers of people taking part;
  • Partners who can give children a broad range of general sport skills so that they have the confidence and ability to play a number of sports;
  • Partners who can build effective partnerships, particularly with schools as the connections between schools and community activity needs to be much stronger;
  • Partners who are market-led, seeking and listening to local views, and using this to shape local delivery;
  • Partners who can help us double the number of coaches and volunteers in Wales to an all-time high of nearly 250,000 by 2016.

Professor McAllister was also keen to highlight that the education agenda is absolutely crucial if Wales is to witness a significant increase in the numbers of young people playing sport:

"We want to see two hours of high quality PE for every child, every weekend this needs to be supported by a further three hours of extracurricular or community sport.

"Schools play a crucial role in developing and sustaining a child's love of sport so we have to ensure that these foundations are strong. We need the links between school sport, extracurricular and community activity to be much more robust. We want greater priority given to Initial Teacher Education and Training in terms of how teachers are upskilled in the delivery of physical education. 

"We also recognise the need to further maximise the available expertise and resources of FE and HE institutions, to continue the development of sporting opportunities beyond the school environment. If we can achieve this across the board in Wales, it would make a serious impact on our aspiration to get every child in Wales hooked on sport for life," added Professor McAllister.

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