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Tony Blair celebrates Sports Foundation’s seventh anniversary

Tony Blair celebrates Sports Foundation’s seventh anniversary

Tony Blair was today in the North East of England to celebrate the achievements of young people who have been part of the Tony Blair Sports Foundation (TBSF), which is celebrating its seventh anniversary. 

As part of the visit, Mr. Blair met with some of the 4,400 coaches the foundation has recruited and trained, as well as volunteers, school teachers and the students who have participated in sports as a result of the foundation’s work. He also formally launched new partnerships between the TBSF and Tyneside Gymnastics Club, Bike4Health, Woodham Sports Academy and SMILE through Sport.
Tony Blair said:
“I'm proud of what the people in the foundation have built over the last seven years. I did not expect such a demand for coaches, but more than 4,400 coaches and officials have come through the programme. 
“This is hugely important, because in the North East we have the facilities, but we need coaches to give kids better access to sports. 
“"I've been amazed by the numbers of people going through the programme. It's a tribute to the great people who work for the foundation."
Jeanette Pickard, Chief Executive of the Tony Blair Sports Foundation, said:
“The success of grassroots sports depends on the volunteers, who turn up week after week to coach and play their part in keeping the community sport clubs going. 
“We are so proud of each and every one of our members who give up their free time to get more young people playing and succeeding in sports in the North East. 
“We call on sports clubs and schools that don’t have enough qualified coaches to get in touch with the Sports Foundation to find out how we can help you boost access to sport for young people.”
During the visit, Mr. Blair:
Met with gymnasts and volunteer coaches at Tyneside Gymnastics Club. The club started as a class of just five students in 2010, but today has over 100 members, in part thanks to the support of TBSF. Tony Blair also awarded certificates to the TBSF Young Helpers and coaches who have recently qualified.
Formally launched the Sports Foundation’s partnership with Bike4Health at Morpeth Road Primary School in Blyth, which will widen participation and promote cycling in the community. Working with the TBSF, a Cycling Award for Young Volunteers course will give students the opportunity to set up afterschool and holiday cycling clubs. 
Spoke with students about the importance of education and raising aspirations at the formal launch of the Woodham Academy’s leadership programme. This is the only programme of its kind in the UK, giving students the opportunity to gain nationally recognised sports leadership qualifications in tennis, basketball, boccia, cricket, cycling and athletics. 
Presented Paralympian Stephen Miller and his wife Rachel with a TBSF certificate to mark the partnership between their Community Interest group SMILE through Sport and the TBSF. 
About the Tony Blair Sports Foundation
The Tony Blair Sports Foundation, launched in the North East by the former Prime Minister, aim to get more young people involved in sport by recruiting, training and placing more sports coaches and officials into grassroots sport for the benefit of children in our communities, whatever their sporting ability. 
Since 2007 TBSF has recruited and qualified over 4,400 volunteer coaches and leaders in athletics, basketball, cricket, cycling, rowing, tennis, football and gymnastics.
For further information about the Tony Blair Sports Foundation please visit www.tonyblairsportsfoundation.org

As part of the visit, Mr. Blair met with some of the 4,400 coaches the foundation has recruited and trained, as well as volunteers, school teachers and the students who have participated in sports as a result of the foundation’s work. He also formally launched new partnerships between the TBSF and Tyneside Gymnastics Club, Bike4Health, Woodham Sports Academy and SMILE through Sport.

Tony Blair said:

“I'm proud of what the people in the foundation have built over the last seven years. I did not expect such a demand for coaches, but more than 4,400 coaches and officials have come through the programme. 

“This is hugely important, because in the North East we have the facilities, but we need coaches to give kids better access to sports. 

“I've been amazed by the numbers of people going through the programme. It's a tribute to the great people who work for the foundation."

Jeanette Pickard, Chief Executive of the Tony Blair Sports Foundation, said:

“The success of grassroots sports depends on the volunteers, who turn up week after week to coach and play their part in keeping the community sport clubs going. 

“We are so proud of each and every one of our members who give up their free time to get more young people playing and succeeding in sports in the North East. 

“We call on sports clubs and schools that don’t have enough qualified coaches to get in touch with the Sports Foundation to find out how we can help you boost access to sport for young people.”

During the visit, Mr. Blair:

  • Met with gymnasts and volunteer coaches at Tyneside Gymnastics Club. The club started as a class of just five students in 2010, but today has over 100 members, in part thanks to the support of TBSF. Tony Blair also awarded certificates to the TBSF Young Helpers and coaches who have recently qualified.
  • Formally launched the Sports Foundation’s partnership with Bike4Health at Morpeth Road Primary School in Blyth, which will widen participation and promote cycling in the community. Working with the TBSF, a Cycling Award for Young Volunteers course will give students the opportunity to set up afterschool and holiday cycling clubs. 
  • Spoke with students about the importance of education and raising aspirations at the formal launch of the Woodham Academy’s leadership programme. This is the only programme of its kind in the UK, giving students the opportunity to gain nationally recognised sports leadership qualifications in tennis, basketball, boccia, cricket, cycling and athletics. 
  • Presented Paralympian Stephen Miller and his wife Rachel with a TBSF certificate to mark the partnership between their Community Interest group SMILE through Sport and the TBSF. 

About the Tony Blair Sports Foundation

The Tony Blair Sports Foundation, launched in the North East by the former Prime Minister, aim to get more young people involved in sport by recruiting, training and placing more sports coaches and officials into grassroots sport for the benefit of children in our communities, whatever their sporting ability. 

Since 2007 TBSF has recruited and qualified over 4,400 volunteer coaches and leaders in athletics, basketball, cricket, cycling, rowing, tennis, football and gymnastics.

For further information about the Tony Blair Sports Foundation please visit www.tonyblairsportsfoundation.org