Hundreds of thousands of young athletes will have the chance to come together and take part in festivals of sport after Sport England invested £4 million of National Lottery funding into the organising of the multi-sport events.
Part of the School Games, a new approach to competitive school sport, these annual county festivals of sport are the third level of the School Games structure and are a culmination of the ongoing programme of intra-school and inter-school competition.
The funding will be invested in 46 Local Organising Committees, who will be responsible for organising and delivering the festivals, with each committee made up of representatives from local schools, County Sports Partnerships, young people, and national and local sports providers. The Committees will also be supported by the Youth Sport Trust who has been commissioned by Sport England to develop and deliver elements of the School Games until 2013.
Sport England’s Youth and Communities Director, Mike Diaper, said:
“The School Games will help inspire a generation of young people to take part in sport. The Local Organising Committees will showcase and deliver the finals of the all-year-round inter school competition across 30 sports.
“Alongside our Olympic legacy programme, Places People Play, this will ensure we build a lasting sporting legacy beyond next year’s Olympic and Paralympic Games.”
Last July, Greater Manchester School Games was one of nine regions chosen to pilot these events. More than 1,500 young people from 200 primary, secondary and special schools competed in 11 different sports at some of Manchester’s most prestigious 2002 Commonwealth Games venues. The event was supported by more than 250 student volunteers, who formed the School Games crew helping run and promote the event.
With at least 60 festivals taking place, involving more than 100,000 competitors and nearly 14,000 young volunteers, the county festivals of sport are a key part of the School Games and will help ensure a lasting sporting legacy for young people beyond London 2012.