British Canoeing is among a group of over 120 organisations working in partnership with Sport England to level up access to sport and physical activity across the country.
British Canoeing will receive expertise, support and an investment of £6.4 million of government and National Lottery funding from Sport England to co-deliver the ambitious of its 10-year Uniting the Movement strategy.
Sport England research shows that some groups are typically less active – like women, people with long-term health conditions, disabled people, people from ethnically diverse communities and lower socio-economic groups.
Thanks to funding from Sport England, British Canoeing will be investing in opportunities to help more people engage with paddling activities.
Work has already started in creating Community Paddling Hubs, based in inner city areas, that will develop new paddling opportunities and amplify some of the existing activities currently taking place.
Many people living in major conurbations are not always aware of the extensive canal and river networks that are close to their doorsteps and available for a wide range of paddling experiences.
Projects that receive support will be tailor-made around the specific and potentially unique needs of each community to ensure that activity is community-led, relevant and sustainable.
An initial meeting has been held in Birmingham with a wide range of local groups and organisations such as the National Trust, Canal and River Trust, and British Canoeing’s West Midlands Regional Development Team to develop a Community Paddling Hub - with the ambition to see more people have access to the water.
Chris Earle, Director of Recreational Paddling at British Canoeing said:
“We are delighted to be receiving funding from Sport England to support their ambitions and our new strategic plan, Stronger Together.
“We are excited to be exploring opportunities to be working with more diverse communities across the country through our Community Paddling Hub initiatives.
“These projects aim to explore the various ways in which we can provide people living in areas of economic deprivation, with the chance to explore and engage, through paddlesports, with the blue spaces found on many of their doorsteps.”
Over £550 million is being invested in total, with the partners including British Canoeing receiving funding for up to five years. This new funding model from Sport England provides longer-term financial security as organisations recover and reinvent from the Covid-19 pandemic.
All partner organisations were selected by Sport England due to their ability to influence change and improvement at the heart of the system they are a part of, no matter how big or small.
This is the first step on a journey to revolutionise Sport England’s approach to long-term partnerships as it seeks to partner and collaborate with innovative organisations to deliver Uniting the Movement and build a nation where everyone can get active.
Tim Hollingsworth, CEO of Sport England, said:
“Sport England’s goal is to get everyone active– no matter who they are, where they live, or what their background is. But we know that certain groups are more likely to be inactive.
“We can only innovate and tackle inequalities effectively by thinking about long-term change; Uniting the Movement is a long-term vision, and our funding approach needs to reflect that. Changes to our funding model will help us achieve our goal, by making it easier for our partners to do what they need to do to level up and deliver.”