By James Crook at the BT Tower in London

keep the promise campaign sportedJuly 11 - The major players of London 2012, including chairman Sebastian Coe and British Sports Minister Hugh Robertson, have issued a rallying call to stakeholders and the public to get behind Sir Keith Mills' Sported Foundation to enrich the lives of disadvantaged young people through sport.

The Games legacy project, which was established as part of the promises from London 2012, currently supports more than 2,500 grassroots sports clubs and projects throughout the United Kingdom, engaging in excess of 200,000 young people in the process.

Founded and funded by Sir Keith - who was chief executive of London's successful Games bid before becoming deputy chairman of London 2012 - the Foundation aims to focus on "sport with a purpose", helping disadvantaged people to gain new social and lifestyle skills to enhance their quality of life through sport.

The promises from Sir Keith to nurture grassroots sports in the UK were a major component in London's bid to host the Games, and the challenge to expand the project to engage as many young people as possible across the nation is one the foundation hopes to embark on with the "Keep the Promise" campaign launched here today. 

Keep the Promise launchSir Keith Mills (second left) has asked Games stakeholders and the public to back the foundation and "Keep the Promise" of the Games legacy

"The promises we made in Singapore were fundamental to our success in bringing the Games to London," Sir Keith said.

"The Games themselves were all the more inspiring because of the way they engaged the nation.

"But for many young people across the United Kingdom, access to sport is not that easy and they are, therefore, missing out on the wonderful and positive things that sport brings to us.

"In disadvantaged communities, sport creates opportunities for people to develop self-respect, confidence and social skills that will help them to make the most of their potential."

An independent study commissioned by Sported has indicated that sport for development work has had a positive influence on all seven social outcomes studied.

The greatest improvements came in drug and alcohol misuse, which was reduced in risk by 19 per cent, the likelihood of taking part in crime and anti-social behaviour reduced by 15 per cent and there was a 14 per cent improvement in overall health and wellbeing.

The Foundation has so far made grants of more than £2.4 million ($3.6 million/€2.8 million) and has aided its members in raising £4 million ($6 million/€4.6 million) through other sources, while the Keep the Promise campaign aims to raise £1 million ($1.5 million/€1.2 million) so that the foundation can continue to deliver its projects across the UK and expand further. 

"The Sported Foundation started life as my personal commitment to achieving the rightful legacy for the Games," Sir Keith added.

"We have developed a tremendous and proven structure for engaging young people in sport.

"Now we are asking for the public – and especially anyone who was struck by the power of London 2012 – to help us carry on and expand our work across the UK."

As part of the campaign, employees of large businesses and organisations are being asked to donate £20.12 ($30/€23) or £2.12 ($3.20/€2.40) through company payrolls, and members of the public can also donate money via text or online to help the Foundation reach its target of £1 million ($1.5 million/€1.2 million) and deliver its influence on a wider scale.

Sported Carneys CommunityThe Sported Foundation has impacted the lives of over 200,000 young people, a figure which they are hoping to grow through the "Keep the Promise" campaign

Coe, who also serves as a patron for the Foundation, spoke of how the work being done by the Sported Foundation is making a large and lasting impact on disadvantaged communities across the country.

"Sported is a charity that has fundamentally understood the importance of not only creating opportunities for young people to play sport but also creating the infrastructures around them with people who are experienced mentors," he said.

"Sport is the most extraordinary bridge head to young people and their ambitions but we should recognise the most potent social worker in our communities is normally the community based sports club."

Robertson added: "Sport has an incredible power to reach young people and help change their lives for the better.

"This is exactly what Sported is all about and I applaud the tireless dedication and commitment of Sir Keith Mills in his contribution to the Olympic legacy.

"I urge as many people as possible to back Sported and help our young people be the best they can be."

Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]

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October 2012: London 2012 can help the UK sports sector through economic difficulties, says Sir Keith
June 2011: Sebastian Coe becomes ambassador of Sir Keith Mills charity