Local projects to get more people playing sport are being invited to bid to a new £40 million Sport England fund.

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National Lottery funding will be invested through the Community Sport Activation Fund to support grassroots activity right across the country.

It is part of Sport England’s strategy to deliver a lasting sporting legacy from last year’s successful Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The fund will build on previous funding campaigns, which have shown that the key to success is finding out what people want from sport - and what’s stopping them from getting involved - before designing an offer that’s appealing, accessible and secures their long-term involvement.

Sport England’s Chief Executive, Jennie Price, launched the fund at a leisure centre in Leeds where she was joined by local women who’ve got back into sport thanks to a Sport England-funded project. She said: “We want to hear from sports groups across the country that have innovative ideas to get more people involved in sport. This fund will help us to build on the momentum of last year’s Games, by showing that sport has something for everyone, wherever you live and whatever interests you.”

Minister for Sport and Tourism Hugh Robertson said: “This £40 million fund will help further strengthen the sports legacy from London 2012. I encourage clubs, councils and sports groups across the country to put bids in and help increase the sporting opportunities for people in their local areas. We have already seen more people participating in sport since the Games and we want grassroots sport to continue to grow.”

Local activator Laura Smales led the sport session at Scott Hall Leisure centre. She said: “Lots of women have ended up pretty passionate about being active through this project. We’ve really concentrated on keeping the sport flexible, letting the women steer the sports we choose, and making sure the atmosphere’s always fun and social. This session runs mid-mornings, which works well as a fair number of the women are mums who come after dropping off the kids at school or nursery.”

Sport England will invest around £12.5 million in the first two rounds of the Community Sport Activation Fund, with more funding available in 2014 and 2015. First round bids will be accepted until February 4 and will support a small number of strong projects that can be up-and-running by the start of June.

Community groups, charities and councils are among those that can bid for funding for up to three years, with grants of between £50,000 and £250,000 on offer for a wide range of projects from family-friendly activities to multi-sport sessions.

The fund was welcomed by the Local Government Association. Cllr Flick Rea, Chair of the association’s Culture, Tourism and Sport Board, said: “In spite of the tough economic climate, councils are striving to keep supporting local sports projects and want to work with them in creating a lasting and meaningful Olympic and Paralympic legacy. This extra funding will hopefully act as a catalyst to further strengthen partnerships between councils, community groups, charities and sports clubs and seize the enthusiasm generated by the 2012 Games to get more people playing sport.”

Successful projects bidding to this fund will demonstrate: A focus on a defined geographical area and community; Understanding of what local people want from sport with ambitious but realistic plans to get more people involved; Strong local partnerships, including other funding sources.

You can find full details of the fund at: http://www.sportengland.org/funding

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