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MP praises sporting legacy boost for Whitlingham Boathouses Foundation and Thomas Cook Children’s Charity

Left to Right: Sport England's Adam Rigarlsford, Max Heron of Norwich Canoe and Rowing Club, Sally Cooke of Thomas Cook Childrens Charity and MP for South Norfolk Richard Bacon pictured with members at Whitlingham Boathouse in Norwich at the handover of a cheque from Sport England to the club.
Image: Sport England & The Press Association

SOUTH NORFOLK MP Richard Bacon has praised the award of £50,000 of Olympic legacy funding from Sport England’s Inspired Facilities Fund to Whitlingham Boathouses Foundation, and additional funding from the Thomas Cook Children’s Charity.

The Inspired Facilities fund is part of the £135 million Places People Play legacy programme that is bringing the magic of a home Olympic and Paralympic Games into communities across the country. Every sports facility that receives funding will carry the London 2012 Inspire mark – celebrating the link to the Games.

As part of this, the Thomas Cook Children’s Charity has awarded over £100,000 to sports clubs and organisations around the UK in the first round of grants from applications to the Inspired Facilities fund.  The Charity become Sport England’s corporate partner last year and today sees one of the first awards to be made.

Mr Bacon, said: “This welcome investment is great news for Whitlingham and a worthy way of marking the 2012 Olympics.

“The London Games will spark fresh enthusiasm for water-borne events where Britain traditionally does very well.  This grant means Whitlingham will be well placed to serve both Norfolk’s dedicated canoeists and rowers, and also a new generation who have been inspired to get into these sports. 

“I know the Boathouses will wear their ‘London 2012 Inspire’ mark with pride.  Well done Whitlingham.”

Pete Constanti, Chairman of the Thomas Cook Children’s Charity said: “We’re really pleased to award £5,000 to Whitlingham Boathouses Foundation to help them improve their facilities.  We’ve been overwhelmed with the number of applications for our grants and the Fund - it really does show that there is amazing work being done by volunteers in sports clubs up and down the country.”

The project will provide the essential infrastructure for the new community boathouse development including connection of the utilities and a disabled lift for access to the first floor.

Sport England’s Chair, Richard Lewis, said: “This investment will create will be a fantastic sporting legacy for Whitlingham Boathouses.

“This fund has really hit the mark with sports clubs in South Norfolk. It shows we’re offering the legacy that people want for their local community. For hundreds of clubs and tens of thousands of people, 2012 will be the year their local sports facilities got better.”

Max Heron, Trustee and Project Team Leader, said: “We are delighted to secure the first Inspired Facilities grant, which will enable us to make a major step forward in upgrading our community rowing and canoeing facilities at Whitlingham. It is the cornerstone of our strategy to deliver an outstanding new facility for everyone in Norfolk as part of the 2012 Olympics’ legacy.”

The project is one of 350 local community sports groups who have been offered a total of £17.4 million in Olympic legacy funding through the Inspired Facilities Fund.

The investments announced today will breathe new life into tired facilities that can be unattractive to sports participants, difficult to maintain and run. Grants have also been offered to convert existing buildings into venues that are suitable for grassroots sport and to allow local clubs to buy the facilities they use.

Minister for Sport and the Olympics, Hugh Robertson MP, said: “We want to use the Olympic and Paralympics this summer to inspire a generation to get involved in sport across the country. This is why as part of the £135 million Places People Play legacy programme we invited community sports clubs to apply for funding to upgrade their facilities.”

Inspired Facilities has been designed to be as simple and accessible as possible for potential applicants, with a shorter form and a catalogue of ready-made options to choose from. This is the first of five funding rounds of Inspired Facilities; the second round opened on 1 February 2012, offering hundreds more local groups the chance to bid for a further £10 million of funding.

Places People Play is being delivered by Sport England. We are working in partnership with the British Olympic Association (BOA) and the British Paralympic Association (BPA) with the backing of The London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) and the London 2012 Inspire mark.

LOCOG Chair, Seb Coe, said: “This is a fantastic funding project that will deliver a real legacy from the London 2012 Games. It will provide a whole range of sporting opportunities for young people through improved facilities and will I hope inspire them to take up sport.”

The announcement was welcomed by the Local Government Association. Cllr Chris White, Chair of its Culture, Tourism and Sport Board, said: “In spite of budget pressures, councils are striving to keep supporting local sports clubs and want to work with them in creating a lasting and meaningful Olympic and Paralympic legacy. This much-needed funding will hopefully act as a catalyst to further strengthen local partnerships between councils and sports clubs and get more people playing sport.”

2 March 2012

More Information

Inspired Facilities
Inspired Facilities is part of the Places People Play legacy programme. At least £52 million will be invested through Inspired Facilities. Responding to unprecedented demand, Sport England has made over £7 million of additional awards in the first round of investment decisions, taking the total to over £17 million. There will be four more funding rounds as part of Inspired Facilities, with the second round having been opened on 1 February 2012.

At least £35 million of the funding will go to community and voluntary organisations, through grants of between £20,000 and £50,000. The remaining funding will be open to a wider group of organisations, including councils and schools, with grants of up to £150,000 available.

To make sure the technical elements of the application process don’t put off groups with good projects, Sport England has created a catalogue of typical facilities developments and improvements, based on what sports clubs have told us they need.

About Thomas Cook Children’s Charity
Thomas Cook’s Children’s Charity, is an official partner for Inspired Facilities. The charity is offering a total of £500,000 in grants for sport as part of the Inspired Facilities fund. So far the charity has received 157 applications valued at £2.8 million.

Sport England
Sport England is focused on the delivery of a mass participation legacy from the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. We invest National Lottery and Exchequer funding in organisations and projects that will grow and sustain participation in grassroots sport and create opportunities for people to excel at their chosen sport.

Whitlingham Boathouses Foundation
Whitlingham Boathouses Foundation (Registered Charity 1133063) was formed in December 2009 with the object to develop and maintain rowing and canoeing facilities for the community in Norfolk.  Its 5 founding members include 2 Community Amateur Sports Clubs (Norwich Rowing Club and Norwich Canoe Club) along with a student union and 2 educational charities.  The Foundation has completed Phase 1 of a new boathouse in Whitlingham Country Park and is currently raising funds to fit-out the 1st floor communal areas including changing rooms; showers; aerobic and weight training areas; general training and educational area; and catering facilities.  It has established the first disabled rowing and canoeing facility in Norfolk and is about to launch recreational (as opposed to competitive) rowing and canoeing activities in order to make best use of the Broads river network.  In addition, a Bursary fund has been created for those who could not otherwise afford to take part in these sports.

See also:
LOCAL NEWS: MP welcomes Olympic boost for Woodton Playing Field