Press release

£2m Big Society Award launches Community Games across England

Millions of people will be able to come together to celebrate the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games in their local communities.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Millions of people will be able to come together to celebrate the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games in their local communities at one of over 2,000 games being held across the UK, thanks to a £2 million Big Society fund, Minister for Civil Society Nick Hurd said today.

The Community Games programme will provide support and resources for communities to organise their own local sporting and cultural events in celebration of the London 2012 Games. The events will be anything from a triathlon or a sponsored walk to a live concert, and will reflect the interests and needs of the local community.

Community Games was the brainchild of Legacy UK, a charity whose role is to create lasting impact from the Olympic and Paralympic Games by funding ideas and local talent to inspire creativity across the UK.  The Community Games programme will provide support and resources which includes a national accredited training and mentoring programme, designed to create a lasting legacy of community volunteers with the skills and confidence to activate social change.

Local people will have the opportunity to get involved in Community Games in a number of different ways. They could become a Community Games organiser responsible for developing and implementing a Community Games event, they could volunteer to help out at an event, they could participate in the events activities, or they could just simply come along, have fun and enjoy the event as a spectator with friends and family.

Minister for Civil Society, Nick Hurd, said:

We want everyone to get involved and celebrate the London 2012 Games coming to the UK and this is why we have awarded Community Games £2 million. Community Games will provide the help and support people need to organise a run, a triathlon or even a dance contest display in their local area this summer. This is all part of our drive to create a bigger stronger society where people are empowered to make a difference to their community.

Moira Swinbank, Chief Executive of Legacy Trust UK, said:

Legacy Trust UK is all about securing a legacy from London 2012 in communities’ right across the UK, and what better way to do this than through Community Games?  We’re delighted that the potential of this regional programme has been recognised, and look forward to working with the County Sports Partnership Network and the YMCA to bring a taste of the Olympic and Paralympic Games to millions of people throughout England.

The award also heralds the creation of a new partnership between the County Sports Partnership Network (CSPN) and the YMCA to run the England-wide Community Games programme.  The collaboration will benefit from the CSPN’s expertise in promoting physical activity participation at a local level, coupled with the YMCA’s 166 years of experience of helping to build positive futures for young people and communities.

Notes to Editors

1. The Social Action Fund is a £20milllion programme that aims to expand, at speed, social action (mostly volunteering) in identified Government priority areas. These areas are:

  • Social action related to the Olympics
  • Social action that galvanizes local communities to support each other
  • Social action targeted at difference life stages, such as the recently retired.

We aimed to grant fund well established national or regional organisations usually under large branded schemes. A strong preference was given to schemes that have agreed match funding.

2. The Community Games:

  • The Community Games programme was launched in the West Midlands in 2009 and was originally funded for three years by Legacy Trust UK, an independent charity set up to help build a lasting cultural and sporting legacy from the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
  • Since the launch of the Community Games in the West Midlands, over 220 games have taken place, with over 165,000 people taking part in activity.
  • The Community Games are inspired by the Wenlock Olympian Games founded by Dr William Penny Brookes in 1850 and still held annually in Much Wenlock, Shropshire. The Wenlock Olympian Games were the inspiration behind the modern Olympic and Paralympic Games when Baron Pierre du Coubertin, founder of the modern Olympic movement, visited the games in 1890. The Community Games programme pays homage to a community event that inspired a global event, and now uses that global event to inspire a new raft of community events.

3. Legacy Trust UK:

  • Legacy Trust UK is an independent charity set up to create a lasting cultural and sporting legacy from London 2012 in communities across the UK.
  • The Trust is funded by a £40 million endowment from the Big Lottery Fund (£29m), Department for Culture Media and Sport (£6m) and Arts Council England (£5m), and is a Principal Funder of the Cultural Olympiad and London 2012 Festival.

4. The YMCA:

  • Founded 166 years ago, the YMCA is the largest and oldest youth charity in the world, operating in over 250 communities in England with 135 local representations. 
  • In England, the YMCA offers accommodation and vital support that enables a young person to live independently, grow, achieve and contribute to their community.
  • Its work covers four key areas:
    o Offering a safe place to stay - every night, over 7,200 young people stay at a YMCA.
    o Giving young people a fresh start - the YMCA gives young people the support they need to get their lives back on track.
    o Vital support - the YMCA offers a variety of services that help to promote positive family relationships.
    o Helping communities to get active - the YMCA is also the leading provider of industry training in physical activity with over 67,000 people receiving YMCA fitness industry qualifications.

5. The County Sports Partnership Network (CSPN):

  • The County Sports Partnership Network brings together 49 County Sports Partnerships from across England, and is responsible for supporting the delivery of national sports policy at a local level by shaping it to the needs of local communities.
  • The CSPN contributes to the health of the nation by helping local people lead healthier, active lives.
  • The CSPN brings together the knowledge and expertise of a range of local delivery partners - including local authorities, clubs and schools - which enables it to use resources in the most efficient way possible to deliver sport in local communities.
Published 19 March 2012