'Sports Blast' Will Help Boost Local Grassroots Sport

New project receives £120,000 of vital funding

A new scheme called Sports Blast will be supporting grassroots sport in Merton.

It has been made possible by £120,000 of National Lottery funding from Sport England's Community Sport Activation Fund.

Merton Council's Sports Blast is among 88 projects to receive a share of £15 million of funding to support grassroots sport activity across the country.

The council has set up the project in partnership with Circle Housing Merton Priory, Fulham Football Club, Surrey Tennis, Tooting and Mitcham United, England Netball, Merton BMX, Moat and YMCA London South West to increase physical activity in 14-25 year olds in the east of the borough, through a number of year-round physical activity and wellbeing programmes.

The funding will allow Sports Blast to grow and offer more regular sessions over the next three years with participants recruited as coaches and offered qualification opportunities in the future.

Merton Council cabinet member for community and culture Councillor Nick Draper said: "We are delighted with the Sport England funding which will allow us to develop our sports provision for 14 to 25-year-olds and for families too.

"Although we have a strong sporting tradition in Merton, for a long time I've known that there's been a need to increase participation in sport and healthy exercise in the east of the borough. Sports Blast will help us do this through free courses and coaching for local residents across nine key wards. This is a significant investment in our young people today and for the future and has been achieved with partner investment of £180,000 over the three years, on top of the National Lottery funding. Thank you to all, and particularly to Sport England.”

Sport England director of community sport, Mike Diaper, added: "It's great to be working with innovative projects like Sports Blast to offer people the chance to get into sport in a way that best suits them.

"The investment being made through the Community Sport Activation Fund is making a real difference at a very local level. I’m particularly pleased that more than half the funding is going into projects in deprived areas, helping more people develop a lifelong sporting habit."

Visit the Sports Blast Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/sportsblastmerton.

June 15, 2014