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Lord Coe to chair charity leading London 2012 legacy drive

February 25, 2013 16:06 pm

Lord Sebastian Coe is to chair international sports development charity International Inspiration.

Lord Coe was appointed today at the first Board meeting of the newly merged charity, which aims to inspire, empower and transform lives through sport. The charity will enable the continuation of the ‘Singapore Vision’; the promise made by the London 2012 bid team to ‘reach young people all around the world and connect them to the inspirational power of the Games so they are inspired to choose sport’.

The organisation has been formed through a merger of the II Foundation (IIF), the charity established in 2009 to deliver the London 2012 international sport and social legacy programme, International Inspiration, and International Development through Sport (IDS), a charity founded in 1990 to foster the development of and access to sport in developing countries, initially in Southern Africa.

Lord Coe said: “It is an honour for me to be appointed Chair of International Inspiration. I am delighted that, through the work of the II Foundation, chaired by my friend and colleague Sir Keith Mills, the promise I made in Singapore back in 2005 has led to millions of children experiencing the inspirational power of the Games. This venture is an opportunity to be involved personally in making sure that the legacy of London 2012 benefits the youth of the world for many years to come, and that the UK continues to blaze a trail as a global leader in enriching lives through sport for development.”

Both the IIF and IDS have operated in partnership with UK Sport, the nation’s high performance sports agency, which also works in the specialised area of international sport development mainly in low and middle income countries.

Baroness Sue Campbell, Chair of UK Sport, and former Board member of both the II Foundation and IDS, said: “UK Sport has been a proud partner to both the II Foundation and International Development through Sport since their conception. We recognise the power of sport at all levels to inspire and empower young people, and the important role sport has to play in international development, so we are delighted to be able to continue to support the pioneering work of the International Inspiration programme through this new charitable venture, which will harness the considerable experience, skills and expertise of both existing charities under Seb’s leadership.”

The International Inspiration programme has already enriched the lives of over 12 million children in 20 countries around the world and trained more than 124,000 teachers, community coaches and Young Sports Leaders to deliver high-quality, inclusive physical education and sport. This was the first international legacy programme of any Olympic and Paralympic host nation. Its phenomenal impact was recognised and welcomed by the International Olympic and Paralympic Committees, United Nations and Rio 2016 organisers, who are working to develop their own legacy programme.

IDS has a portfolio of programmes currently spanning eight countries which focus on using sport to support the Millennium Development Goals relating to education, gender, inclusion, health and global partnerships leading to long-term, positive social change. IDS programmes have reached over 400,000 children and young people worldwide and trained over 20,000 peer leaders and coaches.

Dr Anita White, the outgoing Chair of International Development through Sport, who will serve as Vice-Chair of the merged charity, said: “Completion of the International Inspiration programme through to 2014, and continued successful delivery of on-going IDS programmes, will be of top priority for Trustees of the newly merged charity. Looking ahead, the new organisation will bring great opportunities for useful synergies between initiatives in countries where they are co-located. Future programmes will be designed to replicate best practice from both charities and build on what we are learning from our research projects to break new ground and further develop the sector.”

Debbie Lye, Director of International Inspiration and UK Sport’s Director of International Development, said: “The impact of both the II Foundation and International Development through Sport has been huge. While London’s incredible Olympic and Paralympic year may be over, by merging these two highly respected specialist charities to create International Inspiration our commitment to the vision of making a real difference to people’s lives around the world through sport will live on long after 2012.”