Mayor launches £3 million sports programme for young people

Mayor launches £3 million sports programme for young people

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has launched 'Sport Unites', an innovative new programme that uses the power of sport to boost social integration, increase participation and improve the physical and mental health of Londoners.

Sadiq has invested £8.8 million into the new three-year sports programme which will include funding projects that use sport to bring together people from different backgrounds and strengthen local communities.

The Mayor believes sport is a powerful tool for social change, and can be used to address a range of issues facing communities.

It can support the development of essential life skills, develop confidence and improve self-esteem. It’s a great way to strengthen social integration, helping Londoners from all backgrounds to build relationships.

Sadiq – who last week launched London’s first social integration strategy - will do this by working with organisations such as Comic Relief and London Sport to promote respect and justice, and engage people at risk of loneliness or marginalisation.

As part of the investment, the Mayor announced the ‘London Together Fund‘ - a new partnership with Comic Relief investing £3.3 million in projects run by Londoners.

There will be grants of between £25,000 and £150,000 for sports projects that increase trust between people in communities, reduce isolation and loneliness, support people into work and training, and increase opportunities for people from all backgrounds to volunteer in their communities.

Sadiq announced the new fund at Netball 4 Change, a project funded by money raised through Sport Relief, Comic Relief’s biennial fundraising campaign. Visiting a session at the Harris Academy in Peckham, he saw first-hand how sport is being used to help change lives.

The Mayor met young women and girls who are being helped to stay safe on social media, and talked to them about how netball can help them take control of their virtual lives. It is one of the first sports programmes to address social media use.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “I am passionate about grassroots sport and we must harness its unique power to bring people together and to break down barriers. Sport can help strengthen social ties and has a long history of tackling discrimination and promoting equality, respect and justice.

“Sport Unites will use sport to improve social integration in our great city and I’m delighted to be working closely with Comic Relief on the London Together Fund to help increase cohesion in our communities and increase opportunities for all.

“As Mayor, one of my biggest priorities is creating a more socially integrated London where people from our city’s many different communities don’t just live side by side but come together and interact meaningfully with one another.

“I am proud that London’s diversity is one of its greatest assets. I want the differences between people and communities in London to be celebrated, rather than merely tolerated. Sport has an important role to play in realising this vision.”

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