YOUR VIEWS: LOTTERY'S pounds 70m LOST ON SPORT IN SCHOOL.Byline: TOM WELLS
MILLIONS of pounds in lottery money may have been wasted on persuading Midland kids to take up sport.
The New Opportunities Fund and Sport England Sport England (formerly the English Sports Council) is the governing body responsible for advising, investing in and promoting community sport in England. Its ambition is to get two million people more active in sport by 2012. have given around pounds 70 million to West Midlands schools and clubs to boost their facilities and programmes since 1996. But despite the huge level of investment youngsters across the region are still SHUNNING physical activities.
A recent Sport England survey has revealed that the number of children doing more than two hours school physical eduction e·duce
tr.v. e·duced, e·duc·ing, e·duc·es
1. To draw or bring out; elicit. See Synonyms at evoke.
2. To assume or work out from given facts; deduce. per week has increased by a paltry three per cent since 1994.
It also showed that less than 50 per cent of children are now receiving the minimum two hours PE a week.
And 39 per cent of sports teachers claim that their facilities are only 'fairly or wholly inadequate'.
The worrying figures have emphasised the growing problem of overweight and unfit British children.
Around 460,000 under 16s are now said to be obese, while a staggering 20 per cent of nine year-olds are officially overweight.
Michael Fabricant, Conservative MP for Lichfield, who sits on the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee The Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee is one of the Select Committees of the British House of Commons, having been established in 1997. It oversees the operations of the Department of Culture, Media and Sport which replaced the defunct Department for National Heritage. , said: 'This issue is becoming a huge problem.
'Obesity in children is increasing, because the most exercise many children get these days is a walk to the nearest McDonalds.
'Lottery funding given to Sport England and the New Opportunities Fund needs to be spent much more effectively if there is to be an improvement in children's health Children's Health Definition
Children's health encompasses the physical, mental, emotional, and social well-being of children from infancy through adolescence. and fitness.'
Sport England has handed over pounds 9.2 million to West Midlands sports projects since 1996 and the New Opportunities Fund has given pounds 61 million since 1998.
Both organisations are solely funded by Lottery cash from ticket sales and are two of six groups which benefit from this type of funding.
Tessa Jowell, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport The Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport is a UK cabinet position with responsibility for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. The role was created in 1992 by John Major as Secretary of State for National Heritage , recently announced that the New Opportunities Fund and the much-criticised Community Fund will merge later this year.
Simon Hall, Development Manager for Sport England in the West Midlands, acknowledged that some of their more successful projects had not been given enough funding.
'We have given roughly pounds 1 million to schools participating in the School Sport Coordinator programme which frees up teachers to plan sports activities for kids,' he said.
'It has been very successful and, had we concentrated our funds on programmes like this nationally, maybe the results of the survey would have been different.'