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The award-winning community sports sponsorship programme, Barclays Spaces for Sports, has unveiled plans to invest in communities globally.

The award-winning community sports sponsorship programme, Barclays Spaces for Sports, has unveiled plans to invest in communities globally.

Having successfully delivered 200 sustainable sports sites in the UK, awarded more than 4,000 coaching packs and given more than half a million people the opportunity to benefit, Barclays Spaces for Sports will now deliver sites and projects globally. It has just opened its first site outside the UK in South Africa.

The announcement was made at the Tottenham Hotspur flagship site - White Hart Lane Community Sports Centre - as part of an event that also celebrated the success of the programme to date and the positive impact it is having on communities across the UK.

Joining guests at the site were Darren Bent and Didier Zokora, along with England women’s cricketer Ebony Rainford-Brent and England rugby international James Haskell, while local youngsters took part in football, rugby, cricket and tennis coaching sessions.

The Tottenham site was the first flagship site to open in November 2005, after the launch of Barclays Spaces for Sports in September 2004. It comprises a large state-of-the-art artificial grass pitch and four floodlit tennis courts, and is a prime example of a site that has benefited many elements of the local community. For example, Haringey Safer Neighbourhoods teams run a ‘community league’ for young people at risk of crime from within the borough. Many other organised activities are also run from the site.

Darren Bent said: “I think it’s great that Barclays Spaces for Sports has invested in lots of sites like this one. Spurs toured South Africa last summer and we have recently built a house for orphaned children in the SOS Children’s Village in Rustenberg. I have seen first-hand how projects that use sport like this give many people, especially youngsters, the chance to focus on something positive and keep fit."

Gary Hoffman, Group Vice Chairman of Barclays, said: “We are delighted with what Barclays Spaces for Sports has achieved, in particular the positive impact it is having on so many communities across the UK. As a global company, Barclays wants to make a difference in all the communities we work in. This is why we are expanding the programme and hoping to replicate the same success globally. However, we also remain committed to making sure all our existing sites in the UK have a long-term future.”

Barclays Spaces for Sports has operated via a ground-breaking public/private partnership between Barclays, the Football Foundation and Groundwork. Barclays has invested £30million to date while the Football Foundation has provided £7million of matched funding, with £12million of leverage funding from the Football Foundation and other sources. A further £10million of leverage funding via Groundwork means the total amount invested is £59million.

Paul Thorogood, Chief Executive of the Football Foundation, said: "Over half a million people have benefited from the state-of-the-art multi-sport facilities, all of which have been built in the most deprived areas of the country. With many millions more set to benefit from them in years to come, the programme is helping the Foundation to create a lasting sports infrastructure legacy that is needed to get people active and stay healthy, and regenerate hundreds of deprived communities across the UK. The Football Foundation will now continue to work with Barclays to ensure the long-term sustainability of the sites."

Tony Hawkhead, Chief Executive of Groundwork said: “Not only does the programme help young people and adults boost their health and fitness, it also provides focal points for members of different communities to interact and come together. By investing in sports at grassroots level, Barclays Spaces for Sports is also helping to build stronger neighbourhoods.”

Kathryn Robinson, Chief Executive of the Tottenham Hotspur Foundation, said: "The Barclays Spaces for Sports site has delivered a huge boost to this area of North London and attracted many users, including people from disadvantaged groups. It's allowed us to significantly expand our community activity and strengthen local ties. It is an excellent example of what can be achieved when the power of sport is used to engage and inspire young people and we are delighted that Barclays is now extending the programme overseas so that other communities can also benefit."

Barclays Spaces for Sports has also been acknowledged through a number of industry awards. Last year it won the BUPA Healthy Community Award at the Business in the Community (BITC) Awards of Excellence, which followed other awards for Best Grass Roots Sports Sponsorship at the Hollis Sponsorship Awards 2007 and the Sport England Community Programme Award at the Sport Industry Awards 2007.

COMING SOON - Footage from this event, with the thoughts of Darren Bent, Gary Mabbutt and James Haskell, on Spurs TV Online. To subscribe today for just £3.99 a month, CLICK HERE...