Schools, universities, sports clubs and leisure centres in London and throughout the UK can benefit from a major legacy investment opportunity after being designated as Games-time training venues.
At least £10 million is available to invest in facilities which will bring the venues up to world-class standards for use by athletes during the London 2012 Games. The facilities will then be available for use by the local community after the Games.
A network of Games-time training venues was today announced by the London 2012 Organising Committee (LOCOG) and the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) who are, respectively, managing the project and funding the majority of the capital works needed.
The first group of 16 venues have now signed agreements with a further 12 due to commit by the end of the year. Those remaining are mainly football training facilities outside London.
The training venues, unlike the pre-Games training camps being set up across the UK for exclusive use by national squads, will be used by athletes from more than 200 countries to help them train and make final preparations immediately prior to and during the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Athletes will use the sport-specific facilities from mid-July 2012 when they move into the Athletes’ Village. The training venues all meet the requirement to be no more than 30 minutes’ drive from the Village and will also offer medical facilities, changing rooms and catering.
Speaking today at Redbridge Sports & Leisure Centre in east London – the first venue to be signed up – LOCOG Chair Seb Coe said: ‘These are first-rate venues that will provide excellent training facilities for athletes getting ready for the biggest sporting competition in their careers. It is important that they have high-quality training areas for their final preparations. Funding from the ODA has helped upgrade these facilities. This is a tangible benefit of the Games because these upgrades will be available for use afterwards, ensuring that local communities have access to the facilities as well.’
ODA Chairman John Armitt said: ‘A strong part of our bid to stage the Games was about leaving a lasting legacy in London. By investing in existing facilities where possible, the best value for the taxpayer has been secured in addition to sports provision being significantly improved across the area. Venues will be left with world-class courts and surfaces which will serve the community for years to come.’
Redbridge Sports & Leisure Centre will provide training for Badminton, Judo and Wrestling during the Olympic Games and for Goalball during the Paralympic Games. The ODA grant will go towards building new £6.4 million badminton and netball centre, with about half the amount coming from the Trust which runs the centre, in addition to external funding from organisations such as Sport England, Badminton England, the London Marathon Trust and England Netball.
Redbridge Sport & Leisure was also awarded a further £200,000 towards the cost of the new badminton hall after becoming the first successful applicant of Mayor Boris Johnson’s new community sports funding scheme – the PlaySport London Facilities Fund. The programme is aimed at improving Londoners access to good quality and affordable facilities and is part of the Mayor’s overall sports legacy plan, which will see over £30 million being invested in community sport in London over the next two years.
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: ‘Increasing sporting participation in the capital and creating a physical legacy from the 2012 Games has always been a key priority. Today’s announcement puts some very important wheels in motion with a host of local venues across the capital being upgraded. More importantly this funding ensures that the local community will be able to benefit from state of the art facilities post 2012.’
‘I am equally delighted to announce today that funding from my PlaySport London Facility Fund is beginning to be distributed with Redbridge Sport & Leisure being the first beneficiaries. This continued and committed investment will ensure we meet our long-term target of London having significantly improved facilities as part of the sport and health legacy post 2012.’
Hugh Robertson, Minister for Sport and the Olympics, said: ‘As well as ensuring excellent training conditions for athletes in Games time, this investment will benefit grassroots sport for years to come. Such a legacy would not have happened without the catalyst of hosting the Olympic Games. Good facilities are essential to help encourage people to play sport and will be a fantastic legacy for local communities.’