At an event hosted at Chiswick School today, Sainsbury's, the first ever Paralympic Games-only sponsor announced its legacy plans.
The Sainsbury's Active Kids For All scheme was launched by Sainsbury's CEO Justin King and is a ground-breaking inclusive PE training programme for teachers. It aims to ensure the inclusion of disabled children in PE and sport within mainstream schools by training PE teachers throughout the UK.
As well as inspiring the next generation, Justin King also announced that Sainsbury's will be extending its sponsorship of the British Paralympic Association to help build on their success in 2012 and support them through the Sochi Winter Paralympic Games in 2014 and all the way to Rio in 2016.
In attendance at the event were quadruple Paralympic Gold Medallist Ellie Simmonds MBE, Chris Holmes MBE, London 2012 Director of Paralympics, Barry Horne, Chief Executive of English Federation of Disability Sport, Kevin O'Neill, Director of Disability Sport Northern Ireland, John Steele, Chief Executive of the Youth Sport Trust and Tim Hollingsworth, Chief Executive of the British Paralympic Association.
The guests attended a school assembly where Ellie made a special appearance talking about her experiences at the London 2012 Paralympic Games and answered pupils' questions.
After the assembly, guests joined pupils for an inclusive PE lesson, which showcased some of the activities that will be replicated throughout schools under the Sainsbury's Active Kids For All scheme.
Justin King said today that the aim of the programme is to support teachers within schools in developing the skills and confidence to teach and include disabled children in physical education and school sport, driving more active and healthier lifestyles amongst pupils across the UK.
The programme has been developed in partnership and will be delivered by Disability Sports Northern Ireland (DSNI), Disability Sport Wales (DSW), Scottish Disability Sport (SDS) and the English Federation of Disability Sport (EFDS) alongside the Youth Sport Trust (YST) and supported by the British Paralympic Association (BPA).
Sainsbury's is committing £1 million to fund the teacher training courses which will help over 500,000 disabled and children with special educational needs to be included in school PE lessons.
In addition to the launch of Sainsbury's Active Kids For All, Sainsbury's also announced that as part of its on-going London 2012 Paralympic Games Legacy plans, it will be extending its partnership with the British Paralympic Association through to the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.
Both of these investments, along with their long-term Sainsbury's Active Kids Scheme and partnership with the Sainsbury's School Games, further enhance the company's significant and continued commitment to school and elite sports in the UK.
Justin King, CEO Sainsbury's, commented: "We are aware that 80% of all disabled children currently attend mainstream schools and we are aware that many may not be fully included in physical education classes. Whilst teaching and support staff undoubtedly have the skills, knowledge and competencies to deliver sport to disabled children and young people, not all have the confidence to fully include disabled children within their PE lessons. That is why we have worked with the Home Nations Disability Sport Organisations to develop Sainsbury's Active Kids For All; it is a training package which is intendedto support teachers and support staff working within the school environment to have confidence in the knowledge and skills they already have, and to add to that whilst developing their confidence to deliver to all children and young people within their classes.
"I would like to thank the home nation disability sport organisations, The British Paralympic Association, and The Youth Sport Trust for their support in helping us establish this important initiative. It is also gives me a great deal of pleasure to be able to congratulate Ellie Simmonds on her extraordinary performance at the London 2012 Paralympic Games, she is an incredible athlete."
Commenting on the extension of the sponsorship of the British Paralympic Association, King said: "Our long standing relationship with the British Paralympic Association has been a source of great personal pride. ParalympicsGB had an incredibly successful Games and the public support for our Paralympic athletes was humbling. By extending our partnership with the BPA through to 2016 we can help athletes, coaches and support staff build on their success inLondonand look forward to even greater medal success in Rio 2016.
"The Sainsbury's School Games in 2012 was the largest and most inclusive multi sport event our nation's young athletes have ever experienced. Around 1,700 elite school-aged sports stars, both non-disabled and disabled, competed in 12 Olympic and Paralympic sports in four key London 2012 Olympic venues. Today's announcements will help bolster these Games for the future".
Ellie Simmonds, ParalympicsGB, commented: "I have been part of Sainsbury's involvement with sport and the Paralympics for the last two years, and I have benefited first-hand from their support. It is exciting to hear about their plans to deliver a true legacy. The Sainsbury's Active Kids For All programme is a wonderful initiative; I know how important it is to ensure that all children get the opportunity to get involved in sport whatever their situation. Their inclusion at school is the first step on what can be an exciting journey for young people which could lead to a gold medal."
Hugh Robertson MP, Minister for Sport, commented: "After this country's greatest ever summer of sport we must now do all we can to inspire the next generation of future Olympians and Paralympians. Sainsbury's Active Kids For All, along with the Sainsbury's School Games, will help increase disability sport in schools and encourage all children to get involved."
Edward Timpson MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary for Children and Families, commented: "We have seen over the last six weeks from the start of the Olympics through to the conclusion of the Paralympics on Sunday how sport can bring a nation together. The country enjoyed its greatest medal success across both Games with inspirational performances from all of our athletes. The focus now has to be to ensure that we build on this success and drive sports participation across the schools network. The Sainsbury's Active Kids For All programme is an important step and will see the best possible training provided to teachers across the country to ensure that sport in schools is truly inclusive."
Tim Hollingsworth, CEO, British Paralympic Association, commented: "Today's announcements demonstrate how we are working in partnership to maximise the momentum out of the London Games. Sainsbury's have recognised the role that the inspirational performances of the athletes can have and by partnering with us through to Rio 2016 have ensured that this 'stardust' can impact at grass roots level. Not only will Sainsbury's help ensure our team continues its success at the elite level, the Sainsbury's Active Kids For All programme will give children of all abilities the chance to experience sport at schools and community groups across the country. Integration and inclusion is key, sport doesn't differentiate and nor should we. We are looking forward to working with Sainsbury's, EFDS, Government, Sport England and The Youth Sport Trust on this exciting project."
John Steele, Chief Executive of The Youth Sport Trust, said: "The London Paralympics have been the greatest ever showcase for disability sport and have inspired young people across the country. By working with Sainsbury's on the Sainsbury's Active Kids For All programme, we are improving the knowledge and understanding of how best to teach physical education in schools for young disabled people as part of a more inclusive school sport experience."
Speaking on behalf of the home nation disability sports organisations, Kevin O'Neill of Disability Sports Northern Ireland commented: "This training initiative will undoubtedly improve the quality of PE provision for children with disabilities in the UK, providing teachers with additional knowledge and skills, which will better equip them to include children with disabilities in PE. The project represents a tremendous legacy of the London 2012 Paralympic Games and will be a truly nationwide wide initiative benefiting teachers and disabled children in every corner of the UK."
Chris Holmes, London 2012 Director of Paralympics commented: "We were delighted to have Sainsbury's as a Paralympic-only sponsor for the London Games. Today's announcement is tremendous news and demonstrates their deep and on-going commitment to disability sport across theUK. We wanted the London 2012 Paralympic Games to inspire young people to choose sport. Sainsbury's Active Kids For All is ground breaking, enabling young people to access sporting opportunities together with their school mates in a truly inclusive programme. Sainsbury's Active Kids For All programme will make a real difference to the lives of hundreds of thousands of young people to learn through sport, to gain confidence and assist them in achieving their potential."
Notes to editors
Sainsbury's Active Kids
Sainsbury's Active Kids For All
Sainsbury's School Games