London Marathon Foundation invests £1m in junior parkrun in new partnership
The London Marathon Group (LMG) has announced its charity is awarding more than £1 million in the “biggest ever investment” in junior parkrun as part of a new partnership.
The London Marathon Foundation is awarding £1.19 million to “inspire children to be active”.
According to a statement by LMG, the three-year funding partnership could lead to “more than 300,000 additional children” participating in the free events by 2026.
Junior parkrun is a weekly event in which children aged four to 14 tackle a 2km course.
There are currently 405 events across the UK, with 22,000 children taking part every Sunday.
LMG said 53% of children are not meeting the chief medical officer’s guidelines of taking part in an average of an hour’s sport and physical activity a day, as recorded in Sport England’s 2022 Active Lives Children and Young People Survey.
While NHS Digital’s National Child Measurement Programme, England, 2021-22, found the prevalence of children living with obesity in reception and Year 6 was more than twice as high in the most, compared to the least, deprived areas.
With the impacts of the pandemic and the cost-of-living crisis affecting access to activity, more fun, free and accessible activities for children are desperately needed – and our ambitious new development partnership with junior parkrun will provide just that
The partnership will establish more than 120 new junior parkrun events across the UK, focusing on areas of deprivation and communities where inactivity is at its highest, and growing existing events that have lower attendance.
It will work with schools to support and promote the events, welcome children of all abilities and backgrounds to participate and support the future of junior parkrun beyond the three-year funding partnership.
Catherine Anderson, London Marathon Foundation’s executive director, said: “With the impacts of the pandemic and the cost-of-living crisis affecting access to activity, more fun, free and accessible activities for children are desperately needed – and our ambitious new development partnership with junior parkrun will provide just that.
“Together, we’re now championing a healthier and more active future for children and young people across the UK – especially those living in deprived areas. We’re excited to get underway and see the impact this development partnership will have in inspiring children to develop regular, active habits that will improve the wellbeing of future generations and of the nation.”
It’s vital that we create zero-cost opportunities for children to be more active, to be outdoors and to have fun together
Chrissie Wellington, parkrun UK’s head of health and wellbeing, said: “It’s vital that we create zero-cost opportunities for children to be more active, to be outdoors and to have fun together.
“Not only that, there is immense power in providing people of all ages with the chance to volunteer, to socialise and to feel part of their local community.
“With 405 events across the UK and 22,000 children taking part every Sunday, junior parkrun is already changing lives. However, we are only just scratching the surface in terms of what we can achieve.
“We are absolutely thrilled to enter this development partnership with the London Marathon Group over the next three years to grow junior parkrun and maximise the incredible and wide-ranging impact it can have on hundreds of thousands of children, families and whole communities.”
The best videos delivered daily
Watch the stories that matter, right from your inbox