Big Lottery Fund awards grants totalling £5.3m to four Olympic legacy schemes

Peter Ainsworth, chair of the BLF, says the aim is to ensure the continuation of the volunteering spirit generated by the games

Peter Ainsworth
Peter Ainsworth

The Big Lottery Fund has announced that it will give out grants totalling £5.3m to four initiatives designed to build on the Olympic legacy.

The money comes before the launch in September of the BLF’s new Spirit of 2012 Trust, which will use £40m of money from the sale of the Olympic Village for good causes.

Funding will go to:

- Get Set to Make a Change, a two-year project run by the British Olympic Foundation in partnership with the British Paralympic Association, will receive £2.5m to create a network of young people who will run projects to improve communities.

- Pedal On UK, a series of events to promote cycling run by the sustainable transport charity Sustrans, will receive £360,000 over one year.

- The Society Network Foundation, part of the Big Society Network, will receive £1m for Britain’s Personal Best, a one-year project to inspire people to take up challenges such as volunteering more or stopping smoking.

- The Olympic legacy charity Join In will receive £1.5m over one year to encourage people to take up volunteering opportunities in their local communities, and will hold an event at the Olympic Park in east London in the summer.

All the schemes are UK-wide initiatives. The grants were so-called "solicited bids", in which the BLF invites a particular organisation to apply for funding for a scheme rather than opening it up to all.

Peter Ainsworth, chair of the Big Lottery Fund, said: "With the recent Public Accounts Committee report warning that the enthusiasm generated by the 70,000 London 2012 volunteers is in danger of 'fizzling out', we are using the money we will receive from the sale of the Olympic Village to set up the Spirit of 2012 Trust to ensure the volunteering spirit continues."

He said the aim was to "accelerate and continue the changes in people’s attitudes and behaviour inspired in 2012".

Research from the consultancy nfpSynergy last month showed that only 2 per cent of adults had been motivated by the Olympic Games to start volunteering.

The researchers also found that the proportion of people volunteering since last year’s games had remained flat.

Andy Ricketts

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