Sainsbury's is to be headline sponsor of the School Games, a great new opportunity for more young people to enjoy the benefits of competitive sport.
The Youth Sport Trust, which was given responsibility for securing commercial partners by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and commissioned by Sport England to deliver the programme, can reveal that Sainsbury's has pledged a £10 million package to support the new School Games competition over the next four years.
From 6-9th May 2012, hundreds of young athletes will have the opportunity to compete in 2012 Olympic venues, just two months before the world's elite athletes, at a national multi-sport event, part of the School Games competition. Around 1,600 of the nation's finest able-bodied and disabled young sports stars will compete in 12 Olympic and Paralympic sports, across five Olympic venues including, the Olympic Stadium, Aquatic Centre, Velodrome, Basketball Arena and Excel Centre.
Sainsbury's was previously headline sponsor of the UK School Games and this new sponsorship will see the supermarket build on its involvement in school sport. Through its Active Kids programme, London 2012 Paralympic Games sponsorship and this new initiative, Sainsbury's aims to make sport accessible to children of all ages and abilities.
Justin King, Sainsbury's Chief Executive said: "We are thrilled to announce our support for the School Games over the next four years. It will complement our Paralympic Games sponsorship perfectly and will add extra weight to our hugely successful Active Kids Scheme which is now in its 8th year. We have promoted a healthier and more active lifestyle for all for many years now and this new sponsorship will see us continue to build on that in 2012 and beyond."
The Sainsbury's School Games is open to all schools, and includes three levels of competition (class versus class, school versus school and then county or city wide sports festivals) leading up to the showcase final at the Olympic Park. The Sainsbury's School Games will continue after 2012 and the ambition is for the finals to be held in the Olympic Park at regular intervals. Schools have until the end of February to sign up.
The Department of Health has also committed an additional £14 million to fund School Games Organisers for another two years, up to 2015. That comes on top of £22 million of funding from The Department of Health and Sport England to support those posts until 2013. The School Games Organisers are responsible for working with schools to deliver the School Games in schools and between schools and will also work with projects like the Change4Life Sports Clubs.
Youth Sport Trust Chief Executive, Baroness Sue Campbell said: "Sainsbury's has a proud history of supporting school sport and we are delighted to have them on board for the School Games. 2012 promises to be a magnificent year for sport and the Youth Sport Trust is delighted to be delivering the School Games, which represent a fantastic opportunity to excite and inspire young people through sport."
Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport, Jeremy Hunt said: "We are absolutely determined to leave a real and lasting legacy for young people from London's Olympic and Paralympic Games, and the Sainsbury's School Games will help do just that. The fantastic funding package announced today - from Sainsbury's, adidas and the Department of Health - shows the commitment to completely transform competitive sport in schools. I want to thank Sainsbury's and adidas for their generosity in helping to secure the future of the School Games beyond 2012."