The Countdown is On!Wednesday, Apr 18, 2012 in Sports Foundation
With just 100 days to go until the beginning of the London 2012 Olympic Games the Tony Blair Sports Foundation is not only looking forward to the Games, but is excited about the sporting legacy that will be left after the event.
The Tony Blair Sports Foundation was set up to ensure that the North East of England has enough sports coaches and officials to get more of the region’s young people involved in sport, to help to ensure that the region achieves a legacy of increased participation in sport well beyond the London 2012 Olympic Games. To help achieve this, funding from Sport England was awarded in 2011 to support the Foundation’s ‘Inspiring the North East’ campaign which aimed to recruit, train and place more coaches in sports clubs and schools across the North East.
Within the first six months of receiving this funding the Tony Blair Sports Foundation is delighted to announce that a staggering 729 individuals have gained sports coaching, leadership and officiating qualifications with the support of the Foundation. The addition of these hundreds of newly qualified individuals will make a great difference to the sporting opportunities that are available to the North East’s young people and will go a long way towards ensuring that active sports participation lives on in the region long after the Olympic Games are over. Speaking about the importance of these individuals in increasing sports participation Judith Rasmussen, Strategic Lead for Sport England, commented:
“Great coaches play a vital role in bringing more new participants into sport giving everyone a fun and fulfilling experience that will keep them coming back for more. The Tony Blair Sports Foundation’s project is fantastic news for sport in the North East and for the local communities who will benefit from more local sporting opportunities.”
This outstanding achievement during just six months demonstrates the North East’s passion for sport and for providing access to sport for the region’s young people. The Tony Blair Sports Foundation is equally passionate about this and its achievements to date. Chief Executive of the Foundation, Jeanette Pickard, said:
“The Sports Foundation was set up in 2007 to give something back to the North East by giving the region’s children the chance to take part in sport and to enjoy it. I am delighted that so many dedicated individuals have got involved in the work of the Sports Foundation and are now practicing as coaches and officials in sports clubs and schools across the region. The development of a legacy of sports participation was at the heart of London’s bid for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. But it is vital that this is achieved across the whole country, and not just in London where most of the events will be taking place. I am confident that the groundwork which the Foundation has put in place since 2007, and which will be continued long after 2012, will make sure that the North East achieves an exemplary sporting legacy.”
One local club that has benefitted from the funding support of the ‘Inspiring the North East’ campaign and is well on the way to contributing towards the region’s legacy of sports participation is the Tyne Bridge Harriers. The rapidly growing club now has a membership base of over 180, a huge increase from the 14 original members when the club was founded in 2011. This growth has been supported by an increase in the number of qualified coaches who can support the club’s members. Explaining why the club signed up to work with the Foundation, Tyne Bridge Harriers Secretary Kenny McPherson said:
“From the early days of the Tyne Bridge Harriers we have had unprecedented support from the Tony Blair Sports Foundation, enabling us as a club to manage and coach the array of varying abilities that have attended the club. Having more trained coaches means we can increase our membership knowing that new runners will get the best help and advice right from the start. Our rapid growth could not have been achieved without the support of TBSF - we will never forget this and will be eternally grateful.”
And the Tony Blair Sports Foundation’s partnership working has also been a key part of its success to date, and will continue to play a key role as these partnerships develop into the future to support the North East’s sport participation legacy. Tom Gibbins, Head of Education at the Tennis Foundation, spoke of the work that has been done in partnership with the Foundation to increase tennis participation and competition opportunities in the region:
“We are delighted to work in partnership with the Tony Blair Sports Foundation to develop tennis in the North East. The Foundation has helped train hundreds of coaches and volunteers, which have helped thousands of children and young people to pick up a racket in local schools and compete, many for the first time. We look forward to continuing our work with the Foundation over the years ahead, to help more people play tennis and secure a lasting legacy from the Games.”
If you would like to be a part of the Tony Blair Sports Foundation’s future work or would like more information about what the Foundation does, please email email@example.com or call us on 0191 276 0640.
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