Programme 1 – Disability Sport
2017 sees the end of our first London-wide programme, supporting the development of new sporting opportunities for disabled Londoners. We sought to make a real difference to the position where only about 10% of disabled Londoners take part in any regular physical activity. All too often, from school age and beyond, disabled people are dissuaded from joining in games or PE sessions and it is easy for them to develop a mind-set that sport is not for them. Even for many of those who do want to participate, the opportunities to do so are few and far between, with too many mainstream sports activities inaccessible. There may often be the will to run inclusive or adapted clubs or sessions, but either a lack of knowledge or suitable facilities prevents a disabled person from taking part.
We funded a limited of organisations with a strong track record of disability sports delivery, to help them develop new programmes of work, especially to provide competitive disabled sports opportunities where none previously existed.
Around £1m was invested over three years, enabling literally thousands of disabled Londoners to give sport a try, be that football, cricket, athletics or one of the many sports offered at multi-activity days. Projects included sessions for people of all ages with with different levels of physical disabilities, visual impairment, learning difficulties, mental ill health and Autisim. We have also ensured that the lessons learned from each project are shared with other organisations and have watched as much of the work has been replicated on a grand scale.
A full list of the grants awarded can be found here.
Programme 2 – TeamUp girls sports
These three National Governing Bodies (NGBs) are each hosting their respective women’s world cup tournament in England over the coming three years. The NGBs have therefor come together to use this unique opportunity to provide a major incentive to encourage thousands more girls to take up team sports.
The statistics on the drop-off in girls participation in sport as they get older is of real concern. By their mid-teens, many girls have become too body-conscious, or put off sport by peer pressure or a dispiriting experience of PE at school. And yet, in addition to all of the health and well-being benefits of playing sport, there are real advantages of participation in team sports – learning leadership, co-operation and strategic skills that serve us well in later life. Those girls who do maintain an interest in sport mostly do so in activities such as dance, gym or equestrianism, which are often very much individual pastimes.
TeamUp will bring together schools with their local networks of cricket, netball and hockey clubs to encourage more girls to take part – running after-school clubs, training especially primary school teachers to deliver better lessons and aiming to get the girls out of the schools and playing at the clubs. Schools will earn rewards and “money-can’t-buy” opportunities, the more they take part.
WNST is funding the London work of TeamUp, with a grant of £675,000 over three years, split between the three NGBs. We’ll keep you up to date with progress.
For more information or to sign up your school visit www.teamupengland.com
To complement this programme, we are also funding the London FA, as the lead partner in the Capital Women’s Football Partnership, to train and develop a cohort of at least 100 new female football coaches over the period 2017-20. When qualified, these women will be ideally placed to help deliver the massive investment from the Premier League, the FA and elsewhere in girls football. Many of the clubs recognise that there are far too few well-qualified female coaches, who can also act as role models for girls and young women looking to make their way in the game.
There is therefore considerable hope that this investment from WNST of £120,000 can make a real difference to the progress of girls football in London.