Norfolk sports groups welcome culture secretary Jeremy Hunt’s �1bn government cash announcement

Sports organisations in Norfolk say government cash to get more young people playing sport was good news for the county following the 'hasty' decision to withdraw key funds 14 months ago.

Culture secretary Jeremy Hunt announced plans for a new �1bn youth sport strategy as part of Westminster's efforts to create a London 2012 legacy.

It will include �100m to create school-based sports clubs, �10m to help schools open up their facilities to the public, and �450m to support sports governing bodies like the Football Association.

It comes more than a year after the government's decision to cut a �162m funding scheme to support School Sports Partnerships.

Active Norfolk director Laurie Hull, pictured below, said although no specific information about how the county would benefit from the strategy had been released, it 'had to be a good thing' for schools and sports organisations.


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Mr Hull said: 'I think it's fair to say they may have reacted a little hastily [when they cut the SSP funding].

'Now they have thought about it and are coming back with different pots of cash. This is a broader based package – it's not replacing the infrastructure as we had it. But it is stimulated by the fact that people screamed loudly and haven't stopped screaming since.'

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The announcement is potentially exciting for Norfolk's surviving SSPs, who were kept going thanks to the support of the county's schools.

Jon Osborne, Norwich school sports partnership development manager, based at City Academy, said his school was keen to ensure the community could make use of its new sports centre when it opened in July.

He said: 'From a school's point of view it is very positive.

'We will get behind it. Why should these sports centres be locked up? We've got these great spaces that could do so much for their communities.'

The next edition of London Calling, our monthly guide to the Olympic Games, will be out on Tuesday, January 24.

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