The benefits of regular participation in sports and other physical activities are well documented. The Charity is actively seeking to promote opportunities for all children and young people to take part in a variety of sporting activities. It is also important to take measures to help groups that do not traditionally take part in sport find ways in which they can get involved.
London Academy table tennis initiative
Table tennis is a very popular activity within secondary schools and can be an effective way of engaging with students who are at risk of being excluded. Students generally participate on a social level but can train to elite standards and be trained as coaches to deliver table tennis sessions to younger players.
In recent years, we have supported successful table tennis projects at Wembley High, Capital City Academy and most recently at London Academy in Barnet.
London Academy (formerly Edgware School) was one of the first academies, established in 2006 and it now has specialisms in business, enterprise, ICT and applied learning.The school has been running table tennis for the past 10 years and the current coach was a student at the then Edgware School. With the Charity’s grant of £75,000 over three years, the school has expanded the table tennis programme, which now boasts one full-time coach and two part-time coaches, including the Estonian number one female player. She has been working hard to increase the number of girls playing table tennis and in 2013, the first London Academy girls’ team attended the national England finals.
Table tennis has become huge at London Academy, with sessions held every day before, during and after school. Open access lunchtime clubs regularly attract more than 40 students to each session and elite sessions attract 30 students at each age level. 50 students attend sessions during half-term holidays. As a result, there are 10 London Academy students with top 20 national rankings in their individual age groups.
London Academy also supports other local schools to participate in table tennis sessions: students from St James’ Catholic School and Whitefield School (both secondary) regularly attend afterschool sessions and the coaches regularly deliver outreach sessions to Edgware Junior, Broadfields and Goldbeaters primary schools.
In 2014, London Academy became the under 13s, 16s and 19s National Schools Champion and were selected by English Schools Association to represent England at the World Schools Championships. They were crowned the 7th best school table tennis team in the world!
Greenhouse works to empower disadvantaged young people through sports and performing arts. John Lyon’s Charity supports the Greenhouse swimming club on Saturday mornings for young people with learning disabilities in Hammersmith & Fulham. The club, based at St Paul’s Girls’ School, provides an opportunity for children with special educational needs to learn to swim under the supervision of specialist coaches, supported by volunteers. It is attended by 40 young people each week.
There are sessions for beginners to build confidence in the water, followed by sessions for those keen to master more swimming strokes and pool skills. The club holds regular events over the year including Summer and Winter Festival Galas.
The club won the Inclusive and Active Sports Award at Hammersmith and Fulham’s Community Sports Awards in 2013.
The London Tigers was established over 20 years ago in Westminster to increase opportunities for disadvantaged young Asian people to participate in sport, recreation and youth development activities and to promote inclusion and social integration at a local level. Activities include linked sports and learning opportunities, youth work, mentoring, leadership skills, employment support and volunteering opportunities.
Funding from John Lyon’s Charity in 2008 enabled them to extend and embed their work into Ealing, a borough in which they had not previously worked. Since that time, the Tigers have emerged as a leader of community sports in that borough and they have a reputation for delivering high quality, community sports activities for young people. The partnerships they built with schools and other voluntary groups led to LB Ealing awarding them a contract to build and run a new sport facility at Spikes Bridge Park in Southall.Together with Southall Community Alliance (also funded by John Lyon’s Charity) London Tigers has successfully raised over £800,000 to construct the sports pavilion at the park. This partnership approach has already been adopted by Sport England as a model of good practice on how community groups, working in partnership with the local authority, can create positive use of unused facilities through asset transfers.
This opportunity came as a direct result of the Charity’s initial grant to London Tigers, enabling them to be in a position to bid for this contract. We are currently supporting the salary costs of a Children & Young People Development Manager who is responsible for delivering a sports programme for young people in both term time and school holidays. This new facility is establishing regular sporting activities right at the heart of a community which is traditionally reluctant to become involved in organised sport.
Stonebridge Boxing Club
Stonebridge Boxing Club grew out of the determination of two friends to provide positive activities for young men in the Stonebridge area of South Brent. The Club provides a real alternative to street gang culture and instils discipline and structure to young people who often live chaotic lives. From inauspicious beginnings, operating out of spare rooms, they now have a permanent venue and are consistently over-subscribed by both boys and girls. The Club is run exclusively by local volunteers.
John Lyon’s Charity is contributing towards the Club’s core running costs, without which this crucial community resource would struggle to remain open.