The innovative Premier League 4 Sport (PL4S) project started in September 2009 and has helped tens of thousands of young people get involved in sport in their local community.
Delivered by the Premier League, Sport England and the Youth Sport Trust and funded by a £3.8m partnership with the UK Government, PL4S sees Premier League Clubs acting as a hub linked to community sports facilities, which in turn are linked to local secondary schools to create satellite sports centres.
Each Premier League Club has a dedicated coordinator who works locally with the sports clubs and schools to maximise opportunities for young people.
The scheme offers opportunities in the four Olympic sports of badminton, judo, table-tennis and volleyball and more than 27,000 have taken part in 9,000 new club and taster sessions, with over 80 new clubs being established across the four sports.
With an additional £2m of investment to take the project through to 2013, it will enable PL4S to provide extra legacy to build on the 2012 Olympic Games in London as well as introduce four new sports – basketball, handball, hockey and netball.
PL4S has three main objectives:
- Provide chances for young people to take part in sport outside school hours
- Increase the diversity of sport
- Improve the infrastructure and supporting links between schools and clubs
Feedback from young people at the sessions revealed why they participate in PL4S:
- The Premier League brand name is a real draw
- They like taking part in activities linked to their favourite football club
- The sessions are timed well and fit in with other out-of-school activities
- They provide opportunities to try new sports and have fun with friends
- The coaching is innovative and different, so they want to keep coming back
- The young leaders programme ensures they are getting involved in clubs and future coaches for each sport are being developed
Widening the reach of sport
PL4S targets those less likely to engage in sport. Sport England’s Active People Survey showed that only 13% of women take part in three sessions of 30 minutes of sport, but females have accounted for 35% of PL4S, with the aim to get this up to a more even split between male and female participants.
Seventeen percent of participants come from black and ethnic minorities – and this is above the national average for similar programmes.
The work that PL4S has done in getting children participating in sport was recognised in November 2010 when it was named as the winner of the Coaching Intervention of the Year Award at the 2010 UK Coaching Awards. These awards honour coaches and coaching organisations that have achieved outstanding success over a 12-month period.