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London Sport Together Fund Success

London Sport distributes £530,000 to tackle inequality in the capital.




The Together Fund will help address inequalities heightened by the pandemic and the cost of living

crisis.

Most deprived areas of London targeted to improve activity levels Projects across the capital to provide vital health and wellbeing boost to thousands LONDON, UK | More than half a million pounds is being distributed to grassroots clubs, sporting organisations, local authorities, and charities in London to help address deep- rooted health inequalities worsened by the pandemic and the cost of living crisis.

London Sport, a charity helping Londoners lead better lives through physical activity, is distributing £530,000 of grants through Sport England’s Together Fund. This funding will help more than 50 community organisations step up their efforts to encourage Londoners to be more active, with grants focusing on the most deprived areas of the capital. The fund also targets communities and people most adversely impacted by COVID and, more recently, the cost of living crisis.

As well as looking to improve activity levels amongst adults, the fund will also enable community groups to help tackle London’s child inactivity crisis. London Sport’s most recent report in December highlighted that more than 600,000 children are not doing enough physical activity for their health and wellbeing.

The report also concluded that London was lagging behind the rest of the country for 5–16-year-olds’ activity levels, with the capital ranking 36th out of 45 regions across England. The latest funding from London Sport follows £640,000 previously distributed in the capital through Sport England’s Tackling Inequalities Fund, which acted as an immediate critical response to the impact COVID-19 had on physical activity and sport at a community level. T

he Together Fund builds on that initial support and focuses on recovery, the longer term impact of COVID, the health inequality crisis, and supporting Londoners to remain active during the cost of living crisis. Among the projects funded by London Sport is “Free Your Instinct”, a charity based in Camden helping girls from diverse ethnic backgrounds get active via weekly after-school parkour sessions. The charity has seen demand for these types of session skyrocket amid escalating rates of anxiety and depression in young people post-pandemic.

Elderly residents of Lowry House in Tottenham are also benefitting, with funding granted to help continue their daily “health walks” in local gardens. These walks are combined with gentle indoor exercise sessions and are designed to help people not only improve their physical health, but also boost mental wellbeing and reduce isolation. Anita Yiannoullou, organiser of the Lowry House walks, said: “This funding is vital for small community groups like ours to support people coming together, staying active, and ultimately improving mental and physical health. Our garden walks are a lifeline for older residents with memory issues and people with mobility problems, and now more than ever we need to use activity to help people, young and old, deal with the challenges that they face.”

Other initiatives to help communities across London include the training of cancer rehabilitation specialists to help their patients in Southwark stay active, provision of youth club sessions for disabled children in Westminster, and the renovation of an empty unit in Lewisham to enable teenage girls to take part in fitness sessions in a safe and judgement- free environment.

Tim Copley, Director of Physical Activity and Sport Development at London Sport, said: “The pandemic and the current cost of living crisis has seen much of London take a step backwards in terms of the inequalities which exist around physical activity and access to community sport. “It is incredibly important that we do not let these inequalities become even more entrenched in our communities, otherwise we risk seeing generations of Londoners remain inactive throughout their lives. “The projects being supported by the Together Fund are all working hard to encourage more people to get back into sport, or just to be active for the first time in their lives and reap the incredible mental, physical and social benefits that an active life can bring. These kinds of projects will not only help improve the lives of thousands of Londoners, but also reduce pressure on the NHS and other services across the capital. Getting more people of all ages and backgrounds active is a big win for London.”

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