Sport England will Invest £10.1m from the government to help schools deliver extra -curricular activities and open their facilities outside of the school day during evenings, weekends and school holidays so that more children and young people have the opportunity to be active.
The new funding, from the Department for Education, is in addition to an original £1.5m awarded as part of the School Sport and Activity Action Plan in July 2019 to encourage schools to start opening up their facilities.
Sport England will work with the nationwide network of Active Partnerships - locally based organisations who specifically focus on getting people in their areas Involved In sport and physical activity - to distribute the funding.
This investment comes at an important time given the impact COVID-19 has had on the activity levels of children and young people and given the significant decline in the number of schools offering after-school clubs for pupils as well as opening their facilities for community use.
This new funding will help Active Partnerships to support their local schools to understand the challenges in opening their facilities in a COVID secure manner and could include helping them to buy new equipment for sports and activities, aswell as arranging additional cleaning and clear signage to help maintain social distancing.
A recent survey undertaken in December 2020 by EVERFI EdComms on behalf of Sport England, highlighted that of the schools surveyed, 91% would open for community use when there were no restrictions. This funding will be important to help schools re-open their facilities for local sports clubs as only 52% were able to do so during the past year as restrictions allowed.
Sport England’s recent Active Lives Children and Young People survey also showed the number of children who met the government’s guidance for an hour of activity a day dropped by more than 100,000 (2.3%) in the summer of 2020 compared to 2019.
Tim Hollingsworth, CEO, Sport England said: “We are delighted with this additional support to help children and young people return to sport and activity when it is safe to do so.
“Schools play a vital role in keeping young people active and the pandemic has had a huge impact on their ability to open up their facilities. With this new investment, Active Partnerships will provide support and funding for their local schools so they can open after school and during the school holidays, providing more sports clubs and activity facilities to children and the wider community.”