FIT response to Guardian article on grassroots vs elite Olympics legacy

FIT response to Guardian article on "Will Olympics legacy focus on grassroots or elite?"

Will the Olympics legacy help grassroots sport or focus on the elite?

Fields in Trust's QEII Fields Challenge will ensure it helps at the grassroots

For publication

Dear Rachel
I read with interest your article (Will the Olympics legacy help grassroots sport or focus on the elite? 21 August). There is one sure way of making sure that the Olympics leave a legacy of improved grassroots sporting participation all across the nation and that is by encouraging landowners to participate in the Queen Elizabeth II Fields Challenge.

Through the Challenge, Fields in Trust aims to protect 2,012 outdoor recreational spaces by the end of 2012. Sites signed up to the Challenge are protected forever, ensuring local communities will have free and easy access to somewhere to realise their sporting talents and get active. The Queen Elizabeth II Fields Challenge, with the support of its patron the Duke of Cambridge, will create a living grassroots legacy from the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

As the recent furore over school playing fields shows, parks, playing fields and playgrounds continue to be threatened by development. Without these spaces, participation levels in all kinds of physical recreation would be severely reduced.

Already over 1300 sites have been protected through the Challenge, building a strong network of grassroots access. By providing the ‘where’, the Challenge builds a key facet of a strong sporting legacy at community level. This then becomes a foundation stone for other elements such as funding and as volunteers.

Whilst the Challenge is not specifically a funding pot, as so badly needed by the local community groups you quote in your article, FIT has leveraged significant funding to help those sites signed up to the Challenge which so far totals more than £3.1 million.

The more landowners that get behind the Challenge, the more assured and concrete the Olympic legacy will be. We call on landowners across the UK to take this unique opportunity to create a living legacy from the Olympic and Paralympic Games, for their community.

Yours faithfully, Alison Moore-Gwyn Chief Executive, Fields in Trust

Related images