A SPORTS scheme that is under threat after central Government announced its budget would be completely cut has launched a fundraising campaign to fight for survival.
The Erewash School Sport Partnership (ESSP) was told its annual grant of £257,000 would be scrapped before a Government U-turn which means the scheme will now be part-funded.
It will now receive a grant of £65,000, leaving the partnership, that works with 46 schools across the borough, needing to raise a total of £60,000-a-year to continue.
Rhian Lilley, Erewash partnership development manager, is hoping to persuade organisations and businesses to come on board and provide financial support.
She said: “This is a survival budget and a massive reduction on the amount we have received previously.
“School Sport Partnerships have been responsible for the transformation of physical education and school sport, reversing the downwards trends of previous years.
“Without this work and co-ordination there is a real danger that school sport will start to decline again in years to come. This would have serious effects on the health and activity levels of young people.”
The partnership is currently working with more than 14,000 young people, encouraging them to play sport and exercise.
The partnership organises workshops, after school clubs and has provided more than 2,000 hours worth of free coaching in schools in Erewash since September 2010.
Michael Geraghty, head teacher of St Thomas’ Catholic Primary School in Ilkeston, said: “To lose this would be quite simply ludicrous, especially when this country should be gearing itself up for the 2012 Olympics, as well as seeking to address the problems of obesity and lack of purpose which are purported to be of major concern among children and young people.
“In our school the children love sport and enthusiastically take part in inter-school competitive sports, brilliantly organised by the partnership and supported by mini leaders from our secondary schools.”
Rhian added that there are many benefits for businesses or organisations interested in helping out with sponsorship.
She said: “A sponsor would be seen to be supportive of securing a future for a partnership that headteachers, parents and young people do not want to lose by offering opportunities for the local young people.
“Sponsors would have their logo on students and leaders’ kit and on letters that are sent out to schools regarding events as well as being invited to awards evenings.”
For more information about the partnership or to contribute call Rhian Lilley on 07920283716.