Over the past two weeks, the world has witnessed not only spectacular sporting achievements, but also stories of great personal resilience and endurance.
Take Simone Biles, who was taken into a care as a child and is now a multiple gold medal winner, or Yusra Mardini, the face of the first Olympic Refugee team, who used her swimming talent to save her own life as well as 19 others as they tried to cross the Aegean Sea. Sport has the power to change lives, and the selfie last week of a North and a South Korean gymnast smiling together demonstrated how sport, above all else, also has the ability to bring people together.
With this in mind, the Wimbledon Foundation launched its third grant progamme, the Get Set, Get Active Fund earlier this year. The fund is aimed at helping local people of all ages and abilities to take part in physical or sports activities not only to improve their physical wellbeing, but also to aid their mental wellbeing by learning a new skill, meeting new people and in turn making communities stronger.
Over 40 local groups and clubs active in the boroughs of Merton and Wandsworth applied for funding and grants totalling £62,000 have been awarded to 29 wide-ranging projects helping cover items such as equipment and kits, coaching fees and venue hire.
Ulrika Hogberg, Foundation & Community Manager said, “We wanted the Get Set, Get Active Fund to be about making sure people of all ages and backgrounds in our community have the opportunity to take part in some form of physical activity so we were thrilled to receive applications covering such a varied range of pursuits. From beginners badminton classes for the elderly to a cycling programme for families, we hope local people will have the opportunity to try something new and reap the benefits exercise can bring.”
For those feeling inspired by the Olympics, Herne Hill Harriers Athletics Club will be offering javelin and shot put sessions, while Tennis For Free will be running free tennis sessions for those local to the Joseph Hood Recreational Ground and the Tamworth Recreation Ground in Mitcham.
The Wimbledon Foundation also encouraged applications from organisations tackling social problems and helping people facing disadvantages to improve their quality of life. St George's Hospital in Tooting will begin a weekly dance and movement class for people with progressive Parkinson’s disease. Merton’s Ethnic Minority Centre will run dance and yoga sessions aimed at improving fitness and social interaction for isolated members of the community in the east of the borough and Wandsworth’s Royal Hospital for Neuro-Disability will start ‘Boccia’ sessions, a disability sport, for patients suffering brain injuries.
Grants of £10,000 were also awarded by the Get Set, Get Active Fund to the Merton Schools Sports Partnership (MSSP) and Enable Leisure & Culture which works in Wandsworth secondary schools. MSSP will use the funding to help improve pupils’ swimming abilities while Enable Leisure & Culture will be introducing Zumba, Pilates and yoga sessions to encourage female pupils to improve their fitness levels.
For a list of all projects funded, please click here.