Marathon Trust funding targets 'inequality of access'

The London Marathon Charitable Trust has announced new funding aimed at challenging “the inequality of access to sport” for under-served groups and communities.

The Trust’s first ‘Strategic Partnership Grants’ will see £2.6million awarded to six large-scale projects across the UK to get more people active. This includes Access Sport, Swim England and Street League to support initiatives which will get an estimated 50,000 more people into swimming, cycling, football, running, outdoor exercise classes such as yoga, boxing, basketball and more.

To date, the Trust has primarily funded facilities grants within London and Surrey but reports that this new strategy will expand its impact “across the UK through proactive partnerships that challenge the inequality of access to sport for its target audiences of children, young people, women and girls, disadvantaged communities and those with disabilities”.

Sir Rodney Walker, Chair of The Trust, said: "The long-term health and wellbeing of the population is at serious risk due to the prevalence of sedentary lifestyles.

“Our new strategy enables us to reach all four corners of the country by partnering with organisations that are skilled at inspiring more people to reap the enormous physical and mental health benefits that activity provides."

The Trust’s Strategic Partnership Grants for 2018-19 are:

       £845,000 to Access Sport for a three-year programme that will deliver four new BMX tracks and clubs (two in Bristol and one each in Oxford and Manchester) and support a network of 50 clubs nationally to engage 6,000 young people in cycling activities.

       £750,000 to Swim England working in partnership with Activity Alliance, Sporta, GLL and others, to enhance access to swimming at 20 pools across the UK through the provision of PoolPods, training and accessible swimming programmes, set to benefit thousands. A PoolPod is a sliding, submersible platform designed to provide those with mobility limitations with a dignified access to swimming pools. PoolPods were created following a design competition organised by The Trust as part of the legacy of the London 2012 Olympic Games.

       £500,000 to Street League to get 5,000 young people aged 14 to 24 to be more active, targeting those living in areas of high deprivation in London and Surrey. The funding will enable young people to participate in team sports and nutrition programmes and to make a permanent shift towards living an active and healthy lifestyle.

       £244,000 to Sported to fund a two-year programme to get more women and girls into physical activity. Sported will work with 380 clubs and groups across the UK to reduce barriers to participation for 5,000 women and girls and also develop a network of 80 clubs across England committed to sharing learning about strategies for increasing the number of female participants.

       £200,000 to Our Parks to expand its free or low-cost outdoor exercise programme for beginners including boxing, dance classes, basketball and more into every London Borough to attract another 20,000 people into exercise each year, particularly those who are currently inactive.

       £100,000 to GoodGym to significantly expand its workplace-based initiatives across London, which will encourage more than 5,000 employees to get away from their desks and combine running or walking with volunteering in the local community.

The Trust selects Strategic Partnership projects on an invitation-only basis.