Half a Million Children Inspired to Play Sport by London 2012

Half a million young people who don’t normally play sport outside of school lessons have made a change and completed 10-week sports courses in their own time, new figures from Sport England reveal.

Encouragingly, researchers found that two in five youngsters are continuing to play sport afterwards – in clubs and with their friends.

The courses, which are part of Sport England’s Sport Unlimited programme, have been completed by 498,889 young people in only two years – demonstrating how Sport England is helping youngsters to make a positive change in their lives.

With London 2012 now just two years away, Sport England is urging more youngsters not to miss out and to sign up for the next round of courses starting in September. Anyone interested can visit the Sport England website to find their local county sports partnership for more details.

The Minister for Sport and the Olympics, Hugh Robertson MP, said:

“Sport Unlimited is going from strength to strength, encouraging hundreds of thousands of young people to try sport.

“One of my top priorities is to ensure that we deliver a sporting legacy from the Olympic and Paralympic Games. This scheme is part of that, inspiring a new generation of children to get out there and take part, no matter what their age or ability.”

Sport Unlimited is aimed at youngsters who are not yet playing regular sport in the community and is boosting participation by giving them the freedom to choose the sports on offer. The most popular sports for boys include boxing, midnight basketball and free running. For girls, it’s fencing, gymnastics and badminton.

Thanks to this approach being taken by Sport England, the programme is proving a success in tackling the gender divide in sport. Fewer than two in five adults playing sport are women, but with Sport Unlimited, the split is almost 50/50.

Sport Unlimited is playing a key role in delivering a lasting participation legacy from the Games. The Sport Unlimited programme has been awarded the Inspire Mark by London 2012 – recognising the impact it is having on young people.

Richard Lewis, Sport England’s Chair, said:

“Finding your sport and developing a love for it at a young age is an important step towards continuing participation when you’re older. Through Sport Unlimited, Sport England is making sport appeal to more young people by giving them the freedom to choose the sports they play. London 2012 is just around the corner so there has never been a better time to get out and get active.”

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