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Leisure: Urban Areas

Volume 488: debated on Tuesday 24 February 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what funding his Department is providing for recreational activity for inner-city children in 2008-09. (253120)

DCMS channels its funding mainly via our family of non-departmental public bodies (NDPBs). NDPBs are tasked with delivery of our overall strategies, including delivery of many bespoke programmes and projects.

At headline level DCMS does not target inner-city areas for special funding arrangements although NDPBs occasionally do target similar demographics via particular programmes or work streams.

Some of the key DCMS initiatives schemes, aimed at providing access and opportunity for all, will have particular beneficial effects on inner-city children. This list is certainly not exhaustive and further details of individual work strands can be found on the website of the DCMS family at


Through our PE and Sport Strategy for Young People, delivered jointly with DCSF, the Government are investing at least £783 million over 2008-11 to offer five hours of quality PE and sport to all pupils in England. This includes £22.8 million from my Department in 2008-09.

The strategy reaches into every maintained school, and so provides a wide range of recreational sporting opportunities for children living in inner-city areas.

Our key delivery partners, the Youth Sport Trust and Sport England, work with a wide range of national, regional and local partners including schools, sports clubs and youth and community organisations to attract more young people into sport across the country, including inner-city areas.

Sport England which is an NDPB and National Lottery distributor, focuses on ensuring quality sporting opportunities exist beyond the school gates, enabling children and young people to migrate from the school environment to community sport. Reaching out to diverse communities is a vital part of their work.

Free Swimming

Local authorities across the country have signed up to the Government's initiative to offer free swimming to both those aged 16 and under and over 60. The local authorities that have opted in to offer the scheme to both age groups have also received a share of a £10 million capital fund to spend on modernising or improving pool provision in time for the start of the two-year scheme in 2009. Those local authorities that will offer free swimming to both age groups also stand to benefit from a further £25 million capital challenge fund in both 2009-10 and 2010-11 to spend on improving pool provision. Many inner-city local authorities have taken up this opportunity. Details of participating authorities can be found at:


Through Arts Council England DCMS provided funding of almost £8.5 million between January 2008 and December 2008. This provided recreational activity for inner city children aged 0-15 years in London, Birmingham, Manchester, Newcastle, Sheffield, Liverpool, Leeds, Bristol, Nottingham, and Portsmouth. These cities are top ten (by population) primary urban areas as defined by DCLG State of the Cities database 2007.

Find Your Talent

In February last year the Government announced the new £25 million Find Your Talent (FYT) Pathfinder programme to trial different ways of delivering a five hour cultural offer for children and young people aged 0-19. The Pathfinders, running for three years were launched in September last year.

Our ambition is to offer all children high quality cultural experiences no matter where they live or what their background and the Find Your Talent programme is part of the Government's drive to unlock the creative talent of all young people.

This is on top of the investment the Government already put into cultural education programme. This means we fund cultural opportunities on a national scale and these funds are distributed to regions and localities via our funded bodies who fund projects in inner city areas and beyond.

The ten Find Your Talent Pathfinder projects are listed and include inner-city areas:

Bolton Borough Council

The Creative Foundation (serving Shepway District and including Folkestone,

Hythe and Romney Marsh)

Customs House (North and South Tyneside)

Hampshire County Council

Leeds Children's Services

Leicestershire County Council

'Liverpool City Region' Partnership (serving three Merseyside neighbourhoods)

North Somerset

Telford and Wrekin Council

Tower Hamlets


In addition to the above initiatives and schemes, inner-city areas are well serviced by Museums offering free admission. A list of museums that form part of the DCMS family of NDPBs can be found at the above link. In 2007-08 there were eight million visits by children (aged 15 and under) to the DCMS sponsored museums.