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Free swimming hailed as vision for the future as 2012 legacy action plan is launched

Free swimming hailed as vision for the future as 2012 legacy action plan is launched

DEPARTMENT FOR CULTURE, MEDIA AND SPORT News Release (050\08) issued by The Government News Network on 6 June 2008

A new £140 million fund to boost sport and fitness through free swimming for over 60s was announced today as the centre-piece of the Government's plan to ensure a lasting sporting legacy from the London 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games.

The initiative was part of a package of measures in the Legacy Action Plan: Before, During and After: Making the most of the London 2012 Games, which was unveiled today by Olympics Minister Tessa Jowell, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, Andy Burnham and Secretary of State for Health, Alan Johnson.

The plan, which builds on the five legacy promises made last year, includes new programmes and builds on existing ones which have been enhanced and inspired by the UK's hosting of the Games.

Key announcements include:
- Encouraging Local Authorities to open up nearly 1,600 publicly owned swimming pools free to over 60s in England through a new £140 million fund; using the fund as a "challenge fund" to encourage Local Authorities to offer free swimming to under-16s and to rejuvenate and maintain pools.
- Committing to meeting a target of getting two million people more active by 2012 - to be achieved through the new Sport England strategy to get 1 million people more active through sport and supported by programmes coordinated by Department of Health and other departments.
- Overhauling the way Sport England invests in sport through new, more effective relationships with national governing bodies and working through county sports partnerships will deliver a substantial increase in sports participation.
- Unveiling the `Inspire Mark', part of the 2012 brand family. This is the first time the International Olympic Committee have approved a
non-commercial brand which will be awarded to non-commercial projects and programmes that help to deliver our legacy ambitions for 2012 and beyond.
- Working with the fitness industry to offer a "Fit for the Future" incentive scheme for 16-22 year olds to address the drop off in sport and physical activity in school leavers. A £1 million commitment will enable this pilot programme to offer subsidised gym and fitness club membership based on frequency of use.
- Introducing a £7 million programme of campaigns to encourage people to walk more each day - including a Schools Walking Challenge to encourage more children to walk to and outside school - and investing £75 million in a targeted social marketing programme to support parents in changing children's diet and increasing levels of physical activity.
- Inspiring young people through comprehensive education and culture programmes to be launched by London Organising Committee in the autumn.
- Working with the construction industry, through ConstructionSkills, who will be investing £50 million in construction training up to 2012.
- Supporting every business that wins a 2012 contract and every business in its supply chain, through a new initiative called Train to Gain for 2012. Every business will be contacted by train to gain and offered an assessment of their skills needs by a skills broker and hooked up with an appropriate skills provider - potentially benefiting thousands of UK businesses and hundreds of thousands of employees.

Olympics Minister, Tessa Jowell said:
"My ambition has always been that the Games will offer not just a great summer of sport, but the prize of changing people's lives for the better for generations to come.

Today we are demonstrating how we will turn the rhetoric of the 2012 legacy into fact. There is something for everyone in our plans - every part of the country, every section of the population. Ten million people stand to benefit from our exciting free swimming plan alone. I hope that this is just the beginning and that by 2012 we can offer free swimming to all.

For the first time we have outlined a comprehensive plan for everyone - be it through sport, volunteering, culture or business. Our Legacy Action Plan offers practical advice to stakeholders across England and the whole UK so they can get involved in and maximise their opportunities from the Games

Chairman of London 2012, Sebastian Coe said:
"London 2012 is about a summer of sporting celebration, and a lifetime of opportunity for the whole country. We want the Games to inspire a generation - and leave a lasting and sustainable legacy for the whole country. We recognise that the Games has the power to inspire change. The Inspire Mark is part of our plan to engage people and get them involved in the Games and beyond.

"Everyone can be part of London 2012 - everyone has something to offer. Whether it is offering your time as a coach, or participating in a new sport, education or cultural activity, there will be opportunities ahead to make positive changes to lives, and we want our Inspire mark, and the content of the Legacy Action Plan, to help drive those changes."

Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, James Purnell said:
"The 2012 Games will give us a real opportunity to change people's lives for the better and we are determined to make sure that people across the UK, and not just in London, feel the benefits.

"New jobs will be created and people will have the chance to learn new skills through increased access to training, which means that the country will continue to benefit long after the Games have finished. This is a once in lifetime event for the country and the Government wants to give everyone the chance to make the most of it."

Minister for Business, Shriti Vadera, said:

"The 2012 Games offer long-lasting benefits for UK businesses and the UK economy as a whole.

"We will support businesses bidding for product and service contracts for the 2012 Games. This will boost their competitiveness into the future for other contracts, including those with government.

"We believe companies - particularly small and medium-sized companies - that engage with the 2012 Games will reap the long-term rewards of increased productivity and growth."

The Legacy Action Plan is a "working" document, that will be updated and added to as new programmes are introduced developed over the next four years. It is comprised of five chapters, one addressing each of the Promises made last July: to make the UK a world-leading sporting nation; to transform the heart of East London; to inspire a generation of young people; to make the Olympic Park a blueprint for sustainable living; to demonstrate the UK is a creative, inclusive and welcoming place to live in, visit and for business.

Notes to Editors
The Legacy Action Plan can be found on the Department for Culture, Media and Sport website at

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