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Tony Blair launches drive to get 30,000 North East kids involved in sport by 2012 Olympics

Tony Blair launches drive to get 30,000 North East kids involved in sport by 2012 Olympics

Tony Blair is in the North East today to launch his Sports Foundation’s drive to get 30,000 school children involved in sport, in the lead up to next year’s Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Inspired by 2012, the Tony Blair Sports Foundation (TBSF) is looking to get more people involved in its annual tennis and indoor rowing school competitions than ever before, as part of a campaign to ensure an Olympic legacy for the region.

During his latest visit to the North East, Tony Blair visited schools in Durham and Northumberland to meet students, teachers and local communities that are already benefitting from the Foundation’s work to partner sports clubs with schools in a bid to improve access to sport to thousands.

Speaking during his visit, TBSF Founder Tony Blair said:

"From the very beginning, the Sports Foundation has been about opening up grassroots sports to more people across the North East, by training volunteers and coaches and placing them where they’re needed most. Working with many schools, businesses and sports clubs, our tennis and indoor rowing competitions have already been a great success in recent years. They’ve given thousands of children access to sports they might not otherwise have had the chance to take part in and this year we want to use the inspiration of the Olympics to go further.

"In the year leading up to the greatest sporting event in the world, we’re calling on schools and clubs to work with the Foundation to get 30,000 North East schoolchildren involved in sport."

This announcement follows Tony Blair’s summer launch of the Foundation’s 2012 Inspire Mark ‘Coaches for Clubs’ campaign to get 365 North East residents trained as Level 1 sports coaches or officials by the start of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Speaking about the motivation behind the bid for the London Olympics when he was Prime Minister and the Foundation’s drive to improve access to sport today, Tony Blair said:

"I have always been passionate about sport and its capacity to change people’s lives for the better. The bid for the Olympic and Paralympic Games was always about creating a sporting legacy for the whole of the country for many years to come. It wasn't just going to change that bit of London in which it’s located, or for the weeks of the event itself, but actually was going to change our country, its attitude to sport and the sporting legacy for the nation. The work of the Tony Blair Sports Foundation is about ensuring that legacy for the North East by inspiring more young people to get into sport, so that it becomes the healthy habit of a lifetime."

The Tony Blair Sports Foundation School Sports Competitions

Tennis – The TBSF Challenge Cup Competition

• Over 10,000 children from 346 primary schools across the North East took part in the TBSF Year 3 Tennis Challenge Cup competitions last year;
• Working with students and teachers in secondary schools, colleges and universities, TBSF in partnership with the LTA and the Tennis Foundation, are committed to funding and training 160 new tennis leaders and competition organisers this year;
• These students will then work with primary schools coaching and organising tennis competitions that will enable more children to enter the Tony Blair Sports Foundation Tennis Challenge Cup competition.

Indoor Rowing – Get Going, Get Rowing Competition

• Over 18,000 students from 70 secondary schools across the North East took part in the TBSF Get Going, Get Rowing competitions last year;
• Working with schools across the North East, TBSF in partnership with British Rowing, will train over 40 Junior Rowing Leaders (aged 14+) to run clubs in their schools and help deliver competitions as part of the Get Going, Get Rowing pathway this year;
• TBSF, in partnership with British Rowing, will also deliver 10 Indoor Rowing for Young People courses meaning 180 new indoor rowing coaches (16+) will be trained to work with schools and rowing clubs across the region.

Tony Blair visited two schools today to meet some of the teachers, sports club officials and young people who are already working to get 30,000 North East schoolchildren involved in sport by next summer through the school sports competitions and other TBSF partnerships:

Framwellgate School, Durham

Framwellgate School is now working with the Sports Foundation to offer its own Year 11, 12 and 13 students the opportunity to train as TBSF coaches and officials. Today, Tony Blair met with a number of those students who are giving back to their schools and local communities by training to be the Sports Foundation coaches and volunteers, who will help run the tennis and indoor rowing competitions.

He met with Year 12 School students who have trained as TBSF Tennis Competition organisers who will now work with their feeder primary schools to deliver tennis events as part of this year’s TBSF Tennis Challenge Cup. The TBSF Founder also met Framwellgate Year 13 students who have just completed their Indoor Rowing for Young People course (IR4YP) with the Foundation and will now deliver indoor rowing sessions for young people at their own school and others in the local area.

Burnside Primary School’s partnership with Cramlington United Football Club

Tony Blair visited Burnside Primary School today, an example of a school that works closely with local football team Cramlington Football club and members of the local community to get more children and young people involved in sport. After the successful placement of TBSF coaches, Cramlington United now has the capacity to offer coaching sessions to pupils at Burnside Primary School, benefitting the school and the club.

The increase in the number of coaches brought about by the partnership between Cramlington United and the Sports Foundation has led to an increase in the number of club teams, up from 11 to 19 giving almost 100 more young people the opportunity to get into sport in the past six months.