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Alliance of Sport receives record £1m grant for major new project

The Alliance of Sport in Criminal Justice has received a record £1,000,000 grant from the London Marathon Charitable Trust to deliver a major new project in partnership with the Youth Justice Board.

The three-year initiative, ‘Levelling the Playing Field’, will use sport to engage and improve health and life outcomes for more than 11,200 ethnically diverse children who are at risk of entering, or who are already disproportionately involved in, the Criminal Justice System.

The £1m granted to the Alliance of Sport to lead the project is the biggest ever awarded by the London Marathon Charitable Trust. Their latest round of grants for organisations to encourage more people in the UK to get active totalled £3,252,150 – bringing the total amount of money awarded in The Trust’s history to more than £86 million.

The total budget of £1,714,752 for ‘Levelling the Playing Field’ will be used to provide support and opportunities in sport and physical activity for at-risk ethnically diverse children aged 10-17. The target delivery areas are in London, the West Midlands, South Yorkshire and Gwent.

Alongside local strategic partners, the project will identify, train and support local Sport for Development organisations to better engage with criminal justice agencies and increase engagement among ethnically diverse children. The project will also support the development of intensive sport-based mentoring programmes in those target areas.

The project’s long-term aims are not only to increase ethnically diverse children’s participation in sport, but to foster more active partnerships between sport and criminal justice agencies, advance youth justice policy to support a reduction in disproportionality in the youth justice system and develop an effective model that is fit for expansion across England and Wales.

James Mapstone, Chief Executive of the Alliance of Sport in Criminal Justice, said: “We are hugely grateful for the faith shown in us and the Youth Justice Board by The London Marathon Charitable Trust and immensely proud to lead this important project on their behalf. Their support endorses our core belief in the power of sport to reduce violence, crime and reoffending.

“Disproportionality is unjust and evidence suggests it has bred a disconnect and mistrust between ethnically diverse communities and the Criminal Justice System. 

“We know that sport can unite, empower and support change. We also know there are many amazing organisations around the country using the power of sport to successfully unite their communities.

“This project, therefore, is about identifying, supporting and championing those organisations and role models who are best placed to provide local solutions, and building effective local partnerships to maximise their impact. Together we will build the evidence base of best practice, increase sustainability and ensure at-risk BAME children across England and Wales receive effective and long-lasting support.”

Keith Fraser, Board Member of the Youth Justice Board, added: “This grant from The Trust presents a significant opportunity to have a huge positive impact on the lives of many children. This initiative is building on the past work and entering new ground in a focused and evidenced way.”

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