Mayor launches ‘one stop shop’ 2012 sports legacy scheme

May 3, 2011

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson today launched a ‘one stop shop’ initiative that aims to transform hundreds of sports groups, ensuring they are thriving for years after the 2012 Games.

London is home to many excellent local sports schemes, but some face closure due to a number of issues from financial hardship to problems with securing venues and increasing capacity.  Sport for Social Change Network (SSCN) is a global initiative that the Mayor has introduced to London to boost the Olympic and Paralympics legacy by working in partnership with hundreds of locals sports groups to equip them with everything they need to run successfully for years after the 2012 Games.

Everyone from pensioners to teenagers and expectant mums will benefit from SSCN London. Over the last few weeks it has started supporting groups providing exercise classes to isolated older people on council estates, targeting gangs with sports and employment programmes and helping football teams for kids with special needs.

The Mayor visited the headquarters of the new Sutton SSCN at the Life Centre today, accompanied by Olympic hopeful and British Women’s 100 metres record holder, Montell Douglas and Olympic swimming medallist Steve Parry. The SSCN is delivered in partnership with the Mayor of London, Nike, Active Communities Network, and the Community Action Zone.

The Mayor Boris Johnson said: “This amazing initiative will provide Londoners with the long legacy they truly deserve. There are thousands of excellent sports groups in the capital that struggle with a myriad of problems and sadly many of them will face closure if they don’t get help.  SSCN will provide the essential support needed to boost these schemes, keeping them in business and securing a long and fruitful future.

“I want everyone interested in supporting sport to sign up to the SSCN and help strengthen our sporting future. Let’s keep the memory of the greatest event on earth alive in the capital for as long as possible with a plethora of brilliant sports activity.”

Brian Dickens of SSCN London said: “I’ve been involved in sport in London for over 30 years and I know better than most the huge benefits that sport can bring to someone’s life. I am also in daily contact with all those people and groups out there doing amazing work to create sporting opportunities for Londoners. SSCN London gives us an opportunity to help – to bring these people and organisations together; to share knowledge and expertise; to generate more funding and to ensure that his funding is used as efficiently and as effectively as possible. ”

Marc van Pappelendam, VP & GM of Nike’s UK/Ireland territory said: “Nike believes in the power of sport to inspire change and make a difference in young people’s lives. Investing in community programs that create social change is a powerful way to help build life skills, develop social cohesion, and assist youth to fully participate in the social and economic opportunities in their communities. In collaboration with other organizations, we’ve created ‘Sport for Social Change Networks’ in global communities that make a real impact locally as well as building wider networks to advocate for access to sport.”

After a successful pilot in Lambeth the SSCN scheme is now running across six boroughs: Brent, Croydon, Hackney, Lambeth, Southwark and Sutton and also works on cross borough partnerships. The aim is to have one in every borough within the next few years.

The Sutton SSCN has already secured the future of two local football groups facing closure because of financial and venue problems. One team were given financial assistance to enable them to employ staff to co-ordinate players with learning disabilities. Another group gained access to a large venue and were helped to recruit teenage players from local estates.

Cllr Sean Brennan, Leader of Sutton Council said: “The Sutton Life Centre is world class facility which has a pioneering approach in guiding young people and is a very fitting location for the launch of Sport for Social Change Network. We welcome the opportunity to further transform sports activities in the borough and are very pleased to see that the initiative has already played a significant part in involving local people in constructive sports activities and helping with community integration.”

In Hackney the SSCN is working with the PACT programmes that were having problems expanding their work targeting gang culture. Together they are boosting young people’s employability and education over the next two years with sports development courses (e.g. Vocational Qualifications in sport tackling youth crime). The programme aims to help over 800 vulnerable young people in the next two years and also empower volunteers who run sport groups with local youngsters.

In Southwark the SSCN is helping the Sport Action Zone (SAZ) with their initiatives for older people not getting enough physical exercise. Together they have organised ‘chair-based exercise’ classes for the over 60’s on the Aylesbury Estate in Walworth which have been a tremendous success.

The Sport for Social Change Network is a global initiative also in operation in Brazil, South Africa and East Africa. In London it aims to coordinate efforts in community sport to accelerate the growth, quality and sustainability of the sport for social change movement. The scheme is funded in partnership with Nike as part of the Mayor’s £15.5 million sports legacy scheme.