The UK's Olympic and Paralympic sporting legacy was given a huge boost today when Sainsbury's pledged a £10 million package to support the new School Games Competition over the next four years. A further £14 million from the Department of Health plus a further £8 million from Sport England will extend funding for School Games organisers from two years to four years, up to 2015. And sponsorship from adidas means that the 1,600 young athletes will be provided with sports kit. Sainsbury's recently announced David Beckham as the new ambassador for its Active Kids programme and future activity to encourage sport in schools.
The unprecedented funding package, which will ensure that the School Games have a lasting legacy beyond 2012, was announced today by Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport, Jeremy Hunt and Sainsbury's Chief Executive Justin King. To mark the announcement they were joined today at Sainsbury's Store Support Centre by Olympic Silver medallist Gail Emms, Paralympic hopeful Andy Lapthorne, Sport England Chair Richard Lewis, Youth Sport Trust Chief Executive Baroness Sue Campbell, British Paralympic Association Chief Executive Tim Hollingsworth and children from the City of London Academy in Southwark.
Mr Hunt said: "We are absolutely determined to leave a real and lasting legacy for young people fromLondon's Olympic and Paralympic Games, and the Sainsbury's School Games will help do just that. The fantastic funding package announced today - from Sainsbury's, adidas and the Department of Health - shows the commitment to completely transform competitive sport in schools. I want to thank Sainsbury's and adidas for their generosity in helping to secure the future of the School Games beyond 2012."
Sainsbury's was previously headline sponsor of the UK School Games and this new sponsorship sees the supermarket build on its involvement in school sport. Through its Active Kids programme, London 2012 Paralympic Games sponsorship and this new initiative, Sainsbury's aims to make sport accessible to children of all ages and abilities.
Justin King, Sainsbury's Chief Executive said: "We are thrilled to announce our support for the School Games over the next four years. It will complement our Paralympic Games sponsorship perfectly and will add extra weight to our hugely successful Active Kids Scheme which is now in its 8th year.
"We have promoted a healthier and more active lifestyle for all for many years now and this new sponsorship will see us continue to build on that in 2012 and beyond."
The Department of Health has also committed an additional £14 million to fund School Games Organisers for another two years, up to 2015. That comes on top of £22 million of funding from The Department of Health and Sport England to support those posts until 2013. The School Games Organisers are responsible for working with schools to deliver the Games and work with projects like the Change4Life Sports Clubs. The Youth Sport Trust has been commissioned by Sport England to deliver all levels of the School Games up to 2013, including the finals in 2012.
Adidas have also today signed up as officialkit supplier for the Sainsbury's 2012 School Games national finals. They will provide kit for the 1,600 young athletes who will compete in the finals in the Olympic Stadium and other Olympic venues in May.
Health Secretary, Andrew Lansley said: "The School Games is a great example of how we can use fun and engaging ways to get more children into the habit of being active. Not only is this vital for good health but it is a great way to build self-esteem and confidence.
"I'm delighted to be investing an additional £14 million in the School Games. This will help us achieve a real legacy for school sport and help make physical activity part of everyday life."
Adidas Head of Sports Marketing, Robin Money, said: "Adidas are delighted to be involved in equipping the 1,600 competitors for the 2012 School Games. Adidas has an unrivalled history with the Olympics and especially in Britain where we have supported Team GB and Paralympics GB for many years. By clothing the athletes of the 2012 School Games, adidas will be supporting the next generation of British Olympic talent. This will be a wonderful experience for them and will help to create a great legacy for British Sport"
Sport England Chair, Richard Lewis said: "The School Games is bringing the magic of a home Olympic and Paralympic Games to tens of thousands of young people and will inspire them to make sport part of their lives. Sainsbury's is leading the way in showing how the private sector can help us achieve our mission to get more young people enjoying sport."
British Paralympic Association Chief Executive, Tim Hollingsworth said: "This announcement is great news. Sainsbury's support for the London 2012 Paralympic Games has already shown how committed they are to driving interest and improvement in disability sport across the UK, and the School Games is notable for its inclusive approach. I expect it to provide a key moment in the sporting journey of young athletes as they strive to represent their country at future Paralympic Games."
Youth Sport Trust Chief Executive, Baroness Sue Campbell said: "Sainsbury's has a proud history of supporting school sport and we are delighted to have them on board for the School Games. 2012 promises to be a magnificent year for sport and the Youth Sport Trust is delighted to be delivering the School Games, which represent a fantastic opportunity to excite and inspire young people through sport."
Notes to editors