The government has set aside £50 million in an attempt to forge greater links between schools and sports clubs.

Seen as key strand to Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt's 'legacy strategy', 30 of the 46 sports who currently receive from the government's agency for grassroots sport have applied for cash to set up new 'satellite clubs'.

Hunt hopes these clubs will bridge the gap between school and community sports and reduce the drop off in sport participation when children turn 18.

"We want more young people doing sport as a habit for life," he said. "That means better provision of sport in our schools and more particularly making sure people don't drop sport when they leave school.

"Our objective is that every school will have two or three 'satellite clubs' and the beauty of this is that you will continue to be a member when you leave school."

Sport England currently distributes about half of its £1 billion annual budget to national governing bodies of sport under a four-year plan created earlier this year which aims to target more resources at those aged 14-25.

Tackling the "drop-off" problem has been broadly welcomed by the British Olympic family, although some NGBs have voiced concerns that clubs need more help if they are to deliver the goal of a fitter, more cohesive and sportier nation.

"If we don't get club sport right, we can forget about getting school sport and elite performance right," said Tim Lamb, the chief executive of the Sport and Recreation Alliance.

"Our athletes don't simply step out of school and into Team GB kit. They enter into the world of club sport where they get the coaching, competition and the access to facilities that they need.

"But clubs are facing all kinds of challenges, from managing their finances through the recession, to dealing with punitive tax burdens."

Two tax-related measures the government are said to considering are reducing the amount of VAT payable on the hire of facilities, and allowing clubs to claim Gift Aid on junior subscriptions.

Posted 16/08/2012 by richard.hook@pavpub.com