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Olympic legacy: Looking forwards not backwards

Wednesday 22 March 2017

A charity is calling for an £11m investment in a social coaching programme to boost life chances of young people across the UK, when it presents an in-depth report on Britain’s legacy from the 2012 and 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games in the House of Commons tomorrow.

Geoff Thompson, founder and Executive Chair of charity Youth Charter, as well as development lead of the Sport Industry Collaboration Zone at the University of Salford, is unveiling the four-year report at an event hosted by the Rt. Hon John Bercow MP, Speaker of the House of Commons, on Thursday, March 23.

One of the key recommendations is the setting up of a social coach leadership programme to harness the skills of those who want to improve the lives of young people. The project aims to recruit and develop 10,000 social coaches by the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Their task is to inspire young people in arts, culture, sport and digital expertise across ten cities in the UK. These coaches would empower one million young people and equip them with the skills to be employable in the modern world, as well as increasing engagement and physical activity.

Geoff Thompson, a former world Karate champion, says: “If we want to increase participation and the life chances of our young people, we need to increase the number of coaches that can go into these communities and make a real lasting and sustainable impact. It is not just about sport.

“We are calling for an £11m investment to go into our young people and communities. Thanks to the apprenticeship levy, which comes into force in April, the money could be realised by the contributions from the 20 Premier League clubs alone.”

The Rt Hon John Bercow comments: “I have had the immense pleasure of chairing the Youth Charter 2012 and 2016 Legacy Debates with the young people of Manchester and am delighted to offer the State Rooms of Speaker’s House for the launch of the 2016 Games Legacy Impact Report.

“The recommendations that the Youth Charter have made must be taken forward and supported to give our young people a real and tangible opportunity whatever their background or status.”

Sam Grogan, Pro Vice-Chancellor Student Experience at the University of Salford, says: “This is a great opportunity for people to give something back to the community. We would be asking for just a few hours a week of people’s time and we’re especially keen for Salford students, staff and collaboration agencies to get involved.

“Getting young people involved in sport or any of the other cultural or arts activities helps to build their confidence and motivation. If we can enable young people to acquire current digital skills as well, then they will be better equipped for a career in the future. Projects like this are essential to help children who might otherwise get left behind.”

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Sam Wood

0161 295 5361