Sport England
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Satellite Clubs passes 1000 club mark in less than a year

With more than 1,000 clubs up and running within the first year, Sport England’s Satellite Clubs initiative is making it easier for young people to get into and stay in sport once they leave school.

One of the key elements of Sport England’s five-year strategy, Satellite Clubs aims to keep young people playing sport beyond school by establishing school- and college-based sports clubs with links to local community clubs. To date, 1,181 clubs have been set up, a fifth of the overall target of 5,000 new clubs by 2017.

Sport England Director of Community Sport, Mike Diaper, said: “To have hit the 1,000 satellite club mark in such a short time and ahead of schedule shows the demand for this new approach to transitioning young people into club sport. By creating new and appealing opportunities Satellite Clubs is  making it easier for young people to get into sport and stay with sport.”

And proving just how successful the initiative is, more than 400 students involved in London Youth Rowing’s (LYR) Satellite Hubs and Clubs project today descended on the sports centre at the University of East London’s (UEL) Docklands campus to take part in the University Indoor Rowing Challenge.

The innovative sports event offers youngsters from Years 10 – 13 the chance to take part in individual and team relay races on indoor rowing machines with gold, silver and bronze medals for the fastest boys and girls in each year group and prizes for the relay teams that row the furthest distance over a 10-minute race.

Olympic gold and silver medal winning rower, Mark Hunter, said: 

“Rowing has given me so much over the years and it’s great that today so many young people are enjoying this fantastic sport in such a fun and innovative way. By giving them the chance to join a local sports club that is based at their school, Satellite Clubs is ensuring we get more young people involved in sport and all it has to offer.”  

As well as the races, the event is also an opportunity for students and teachers to get career and future education guidance from the careers fair that runs in conjunction with the event, showing how sport and education can work together to develop the skills needed throughout life.

Ben Cox, London Youth Rowing Development Manager, said: “This event is part and parcel of the offer London Youth Rowing makes to our satellite clubs. We have several competitions throughout the year and this one is a great opportunity for us to offer more than just sport. The main thing is that everyone has fun but it is also important to us that we promote and support their academic aspiration.

“The University Challenge allows us to take advantage of our great partnership with UEL so the young people in our clubs who are looking to apply to university can come and see what UEL has to offer at a time when they are making important choices about their future.”

London Youth Rowing has received £2 million of National Lottery funding from Sport England to establish 110 satellite clubs linked to one of 11 water centres by 2017. They are well on their way to achieving this with 41 clubs already set-up and running. 

Across the country other Satellite Clubs are helping 11- to 25-year-olds to give sport a go including:

  • Northampton Hockey Club established a satellite club at Malcolm Arnold Academy, Northampton where they run hockey sessions for 11 to 16-year-olds.  The sessions attract up to 28 participants a week and as a result a Hockey Junior Development Centre has also now moved to the Academy site on Sunday mornings. 
  • A new athletics satellite club at Mortimer Community School in South Tyneside has been set up by South Shields Harriers. In partnership with Tyne and Wear Sport and England Athletics, the club is using AthleFIT and Athletics 365 to get young people into athletics on a Friday evening.

Minister for Sport, Helen Grant said: “We want to tackle the drop off in sports participation that can happen when young people leave school. Sport England’s Satellite Clubs, such as London Youth Rowing, are giving thousands of young people the opportunity to find the sport for them in their local community, encouraging them to have a sporting habit for life.”

Sport England is working in partnership with sport governing bodies and county sport partnerships (CSP) and investing £49 million of Lottery funding into the development of Satellite Clubs. This includes £8.13 million over the next three years to fund dedicated Club Link Makers within each CSP. Each Club Link Maker will play a vital role in linking sports with schools and colleges, and will also ensure every secondary school in England has the opportunity to host a Satellite Club. 

Kate Burt, British Rowing CEO, said: “British Rowing is delighted to see a significant investment in the Satellite Hubs and Clubs programme.  Over the last two Olympic cycles London Youth Rowing has developed a strong track record of delivery in London, particularly with hard to reach young people. This popular new programme will complement British Rowing’s national programmes which include Indoor Rowing for Young People, School Games and Project Oarsome.  Sport England investment will help to deliver a lasting Legacy following Rowing’s 10 medal success at Eton Dorney during London 2012.”

Sport England is also continuing its successful partnership with the Premier League on Premier League 4 Sport, which formed the basis of the satellite clubs initiative. In July a new three-year, £7.8 million partnership was announced, to expand the programme and will see 590 new satellite clubs established. 

Region Number
North West 220
West Midlands 214
London 171
Yorkshire 164
East 107
North East 100
East Midlands 95
South West 61
South East 49
Total 1181

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