£2 million Lottery funding for Sainsbury’s 2013 School Games

Sport England today announced £2 million of National Lottery funding to bring the Sainsbury’s School Games finals to the city of Sheffield in September 2013.

Building on the success of the inaugural finals held in the Olympic Park this year in May, the 2013 competition will see over 1,500 of the most talented school-age non-disabled and disabled athletes competing in 12 sports.

The four-day multi-sport spectacular will take place between 12 and 15 September in Sheffield – a city famed for its sporting pedigree and for being the home time of Olympic gold medallist, Jess Ennis. Around 400 volunteers – most of them under 25 - will help to bring the event to life for the athletes and thousands of spectators.

The finals will be organised by the Youth Sport Trust, which Sport England has commissioned to provide development support across all elements of the Sainsbury’s School Games – which aims to transform competitive sport in schools and get more young people playing sport through class versus class and school versus school competitions along with county wide sports festivals.

Richard Lewis, Chair of Sport England, said: “The Sainsbury’s School Games programme is helping tens of thousands of young people to develop a sporting habit for life, while the finals event is giving the most talented young people a chance to test their skills against the very best from around the UK in a major multi-sports event.

“The lottery funding we are announcing today will help to build on the enormous success of the 2012 competition of which all those involved – the competitors, the volunteers and all the organisers – should feel enormously proud.

“We have absolute confidence that next years finals will be another superb milestone in Sheffield’s enviable sporting history.”

Speaking on the importance of school sport Maria Miller, Secretary of State for the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, said: “Sport is a really positive influence in children’s health and development, and a lifelong love of sport begins at an early age. That is why it is so important that we get young people playing sport in their early years – and great school sport is a key part of this. Michael Gove and I are working together to ensure that school sport thrives.

“It is fantastic news that Sheffield – a city rich in sporting heritage and pedigree - has been chosen to host the 2013 School Games.  I know that the second year of the competition it will be a huge success, and a great part of the sporting legacy of London 2012.”

Jat Sahota, Head of Sponsorship at Sainsbury’s, said: “Our pledge to support the Sainsbury’s School Games for the next four years is testament to our investment in encouraging young people to lead healthier and more active lifestyles, as part of our commitment to get 20 million kids active by 2020.  These games are the most inclusive of their kind, which helps to reinforce Sainsbury’s Paralympics legacy.

“After a triumphant 2012 games, with a show stopping final at the Olympic Park, Sainsbury’s is excited to be taking the finals back to Sheffield, after the 2011 success there. We believe that all children should be able to take part in sport, regardless of age or ability and our involvement in the Sainsbury’s School Games goes towards encouraging and celebrating sporting talent, as well as inspiring others to get involved.”

John Steele, Chief Executive of the Youth Sport Trust, said: “We are delighted to be delivering the Sainsbury’s 2013 School Games and are proud of our history of supporting the event. After what has been a truly momentous year for sport, the Youth Sport Trust is committed to developing the Sainsbury’s School Games as a major part of building on the inspiration created by the Olympics and Paralympics.”

The finals will have an opening and closing ceremony, medal presentations, simulated drug testing and an athlete’s village to create the look and feel of a major multi-sports event. There will also be a strong cultural event and schools engagement programme.

In an innovation for 2013, 250 of the young people who’ve competed in the county-wide sport festivals will be able to share in the experience of the finals, from the opening and closing ceremonies to life in the athletes’ village and meeting athlete ambassadors. This Talent Inspiration Programme will include educational workshops, physical tests and competitions.

The School Games Finals are sponsored by Sainsbury’s and supported by a range of partners including the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, the Department of Health, the Department for Education, Sport Wales, Sport Scotland and Sport Northern Ireland.