The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has today announced that his Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) has invested £200,000 to deliver sports activities starting over the Easter holidays for up to 1,000 young people in areas experiencing higher levels of violence and deprivation.
The Mayor’s VRU, working alongside London Youth, has funded 100 grassroots community organisations that will be delivering positive sports activities across 13 London boroughs. Hundreds of young people will get access to a range of sport and physical activity from today and during the Easter holidays.
Rising costs in food, fuel and travel can often be barriers to young people being able to access positive opportunities. To break down these barriers and ensure children and young people have access to food and can travel to take part, the VRU is providing £1,500 ‘cost-of-living’ funding for community organisations to support young people.
Grassroots sports groups will deliver sessions during the week and at weekends for the holidays, and this offer will continue to expand out of school sports opportunities to August. The expansion of the programme after Easter will provide extensive support for young people in areas traditionally under-served with sports opportunities.
Over the holidays, some sports activities taking place include Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and self-defence sessions by Inspirational Youth Ltd in Lambeth, judo sessions through the Avenues Youth Project in Westminster, and community tennis delivering opportunities in Brent for young people to focus on rights and responsibility to leisure without discrimination.
The funding builds on holiday sports provision delivered through London Youth during the summer holidays, in which nearly 60 grassroots community organisations delivered sport and physical activity for more than 1,500 young people.
The VRU’s investment will sit alongside the Mayor’s Go! London community sports fund which will work to improve the lives of young Londoners facing barriers to physical, social, economic or educational opportunities.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “Tackling violence and building a safer city for all Londoners is my number one priority.
“My approach is to be tough on violence and tough on the complex causes of violence.
“I’m committed to providing positive opportunities for young people and investment from my VRU means there be will sports activities during the Easter holidays and support to ensure there are no barriers to children and young people’s involvement.
“I know from experience the vital role sport can play in physical, mental and emotional wellbeing and I’m determined to do everything I can to support young people so they can take full advantage of these benefits.”
Lib Peck, Director of London’s Violence Reduction Unit, said: “A key part of our prevention approach to violence is investing in positive opportunities for children and young people.
“Sports activities can play a leading role in a young person’s life and as a Violence Reduction Unit, our focus is not only funding those important interventions but also ensuring we’re supporting young people so they can fully access them. We know the cost-of-living is having an impact on our communities and that’s why we’re also investing in our grassroots community organisations, who play such a key role in the fabric of our neighbourhoods, so they can support young people to thrive both during the holidays and beyond.”