A new £140 million fund to boost sport and fitness through free swimming for the over-60s was announced today by the Labour Government.
The initiative is part of the Legacy Action Plan - a package of measures to ensure the lasting sporting legacy from the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
It is also hoped that by 2012 there will be free swimming not just for the over-60s and under-16s, but for everyone.
The key announcements are:
• Encouraging Local Authorities to open up nearly 1,600 publicly owned swimming pools free to over 60s in England through a new £140 million fund; using the fund as a “challenge fund” to encourage Local Authorities to offer free swimming to under-16s and to rejuvenate and maintain pools.
• Committing to meeting a target of getting two million people more active by 2012 - to be achieved through the new Sport England strategy to get 1 million people more active through sport and supported by programmes coordinated by Department of Health and other departments.
• Overhauling the way Sport England invests in sport through new, more effective relationships with national governing bodies and working through county sports partnerships will deliver a substantial increase in sports participation.
• Unveiling the `Inspire Mark’, part of the 2012 brand family. This is the first time the International Olympic Committee have approved a non-commercial brand which will be awarded to non-commercial projects and programmes that help to deliver our legacy ambitions for 2012 and beyond.
• Working with the fitness industry to offer a “Fit for the Future” incentive scheme for 16-22 year olds to address the drop off in sport and physical activity in school leavers. A £1 million commitment will enable this pilot programme to offer subsidised gym and fitness club membership based on frequency of use.
• Introducing a £7 million programme of campaigns to encourage people to walk more each day – including a Schools Walking Challenge to encourage more children to walk to and outside school – and investing £75 million in a targeted social marketing programme to support parents in changing children’s diet and increasing levels of physical activity.
• Inspiring young people through comprehensive education and culture programmes to be launched by London Organising Committee in the autumn.
• Working with the construction industry, through ConstructionSkills, who will be investing £50 million in construction training up to 2012.
• Supporting every business that wins a 2012 contract and every business in its supply chain, through a new initiative called Train to Gain for 2012. Every business will be contacted by train to gain and offered an assessment of their skills needs by a skills broker and hooked up with an appropriate skills provider - potentially benefiting thousands of UK businesses and hundreds of thousands of employees.