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London Sport To Distribute £5.7m To Help Schools Provide More Opportunities For Activity

group of school children run during physical education class at school gym

London Sport will deliver £5.7m of investment to schools in the capital, over the next three years.  

The funding is being distributed through London Sport as a result of the Department of Education renewing its Opening School Facilities Fund for 2023, providing an opportunity for schools to gain investment to broaden access to physical activity outside of school hours. 208 London schools have submitted applications for funding in the first year, with applications now closed and under review. 

The Opening School Facilities funding comes alongside a package of measures announced by the Government yesterday, to support equal access and enhance the provision of PE, school sport and physical activity opportunities.  

The funding enables facilities at schools to be opened during non-school hours, broadening the offer of extra-curricular and out-of-school physical activities available to pupils and the wider community. Funding has been made available to schools for up to three years, with year 1 providing up to £20,000 per school. 

London Sport will be working with primary, secondary and SEN schools that currently do not fully utilise their facilities outside of school hours.

The charity is prioritising schools in areas of higher social deprivation and those who aim to use sport and physical activity to engage women and girls, ethnically diverse communities, poorer backgrounds, and those with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND). 

The announcement follows a recent report from London Sport about the capital’s child inactivity crisis. Activity levels for children and young people in London currently remain below pre-pandemic levels, with only 45% of young Londoners meeting the recommended levels of sport and physical activity.  

This round of Opening School Facilities funding follows on from two successful funding cycles in 2021 and 2022. Previous funding rounds have supported schools in increasing access and participation in physical activity.

Funding has been used in a number of ways, including employing extra staff to keep facilities open and buying new equipment to meet the demand for more popular but niche sports such as trampolines and boxing bags.  

Gary Palmer, Strategic Lead for Children & Young People at London Sport, said: Following the success of previous Opening School Facilities rounds of funding, we’re delighted to see further investment to help tackle London’s child inactivity crisis.  

“We know the positive impact that being active can have for young Londoners. As well as improving physical health, an active lifestyle can improve mental health and wellbeing, reduce the risk of long-term health conditions and obesity, and even help children perform better at school. 

“While this fund will benefit thousands of pupils, schools will also be opening their doors for the wider community to come together and take part in sport and physical activity sessions.” 

One recipient from the previous cycle was Kingsbury High School in Brent. Chris Gibson, PE teacher at Kingsbury, said: The funding allowed the school to connect to the local community such as grassroots sports clubs and local feeder primary schools. The ability to extend and strengthen the links with local clubs has been amazing and creates a long-term healthy habit for the children to follow.  

“Opening School Facilities has also allowed primary schools to access local sports clubs on a school site meaning more children can get involved and now have a clear pathway to access physical activity.”