Wales

Extra £3m to tackle sport inequalities in Wales

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Media captionA weightlifting gym in Holyhead sees men and women train together

An extra £3m is being invested to tackle inequalities in sport in Wales.

Sport Wales wants to encourage more women and girls to take part. It also wants more disabled people and children from deprived or ethnic minority backgrounds getting involved.

Chief executive Sarah Powell said they "don't want more of the same", but projects that will make a real difference to breaking down barriers.

The funding was announced 100 days before the Glasgow Commonwealth Games.

The £3m of National Lottery funding is being divided between the groups Sport Wales wants to help get more involved with £1.5m for women and girls and £1.5m for BME groups, disability sport and deprived communities.

The organisation said it was looking for bold new approaches for the Calls4Action grant programme, for which outline proposals have to be submitted by 20 June.

Fresh ideas

Sport Wales invests more than £32m a year in sport and Ms Powell said they know from their school survey that children are taking part more regularly than ever before.

But there is still more to be done, she said.

"There are known gaps in participation which we do not accept as inevitable, but to tackle the gap we need a focused and concerted effort," said Ms Powell.

"We want everyone in Wales to enjoy the positive benefits that regular participation in sport brings, regardless of background and circumstances."

But she stressed: "If we want to see a significant step change, something different must be done.

"We're not necessarily on the lookout for sporting experts - we want individuals and organisations that can bring fresh ideas to the table."

She acknowledged that even the process of applying for funding can be a barrier for some, and they have sought to make the whole process much simpler to encourage new people into sport.

The programme will be launched at Dare Valley Country Park in Aberdare, Rhondda Cynon Taf where a successful applicant for the funding in 2012 will be in the spotlight.

The RCT Homes Go4it project provides support aimed at getting families in the area involved in exercise, sport and so achieve good health.

Sports Minister John Griffiths said: "Inequality in participation between differing groups is not inevitable and can and must be tackled.

"This year the whole of Wales has the opportunity to get behind Wales at the Commonwealth Games and be part of a team three million strong.

"Our aim is to ensure that young people in particular, irrespective of their social background, have the opportunity to take part in sport at grassroots level."

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