Steve Grainger reflects on 2010 and looks forward to 2011

It's been an incredibly busy last 12-months and I will remember 2010 as a year which provided some incredible highs but equally some extreme challenges for school sport.
Steve Grainger reflects on 2010 and looks forward to 2011

It's been an incredibly busy last 12-months and I will remember 2010 as a year which provided some incredible highs but equally some extreme challenges for school sport.

The year began with much of the UK blanketed in heavy snow as the country faced its coldest winter in decades.

Despite the extreme weather, schools refused to be beaten and found innovative ways to continue providing pupils with high quality PE and school sport.

Inspiration through the power of sport continued to be the theme for the next few months as February saw us launch our Sports College Legacy Programme: 'Inspiring Future Generations'.

Excitement around the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics keeps growing as does our ongoing work with each of the 500 plus specialist sports colleges to ensure a genuine legacy follows the Games.

March welcomed a celebration event for Playground to Podium, the scheme we support and it enables youngsters dreaming of competing for Great Britain at a future Paralympic Games to demonstrate their talents.

As summer approached, our focus shifted to the annual Step into Sport Camp which sees the Youth Sport Trust empowering the next generation of sports leaders and volunteers.

Another landmark in the early part of 2010 included the 1,000th school signing up for Sky Sports Living For Sport, an initiative which uses the power of sport to encourage young people to be the best they can be.

Lloyds TSB National School Sport Week, in June, saw a record number of nearly 14,000 schools and five million children taking part across the home nations.

From cubs to Lions, rugby legend Sir Ian McGeechan joined the Youth Sport Trust in July as our national Coaching Ambassador to help tackle the shortage of coaches working in school sport.

Our efforts to support talented young athletes were witnessed first-hand by Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt in September when he was among the guests who were treated to four days of truly inspirational sport at the Sainsbury's UK School Games, in Gateshead, Newcastle and Sunderland.

Other highlights in 2010 included Olympic great Sir Steve Redgrave helping us launch Matalan Sporting Promise which aims to get more young people taking part in sport and our partnership with Adidas to launch adiStars as part of the hugely successful Young Ambassador Programme.

October saw the Youth Sport Trust and PE and school sport as a whole facing its most challenging period yet following the Comprehensive Spending Review.

I don't think any of us working in this industry expected school sport not to take a hit given the unprecedented turmoil surrounding the country's economy.

However, the announcement to totally cut Government investment into school sport threatened to destroy the phenomenal achievements made by school sport partnerships, clubs and national governing bodies in the last decade.

What followed was an unbelievable show of support from young people, parents, teachers, elite athletes, politicians and the media for those people who work tirelessly to transform the lives of young people through sport across the country.

This overwhelming wave of positivity from all sides led to the Government making an announcement in December that it would be reinvesting monies into school sport - less than was there before, however, a welcome confirmation that school sport really does matter. We were also delighted to be asked by the Government to lead the development of the nationwide School Games - further evidence of how the Government is committed to ensuring more young people, particularly at a primary school level, have access to competitive sport.

So with 2010 behind us we look forward to 2011 and what it may bring. As we creep ever closer to London 2012 efforts to ensure a genuine legacy from the staging of the world's greatest sporting event will provide us with a clear focus. We look forward to building on our successful corporate partnerships, strengthening our relationships with NGBs of sport, working with government to increase physical activity and transform competitive sport and to supporting schools the length and breadth of the country to put school sport where it really matters - right at the heart of the school!

Thanks to all the partners who supported us in 2010 - we wish you luck in 2011 and look forward to working with you to build a brighter future for young people through PE and sport.

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