Tower Hamlets Youth Sport Foundation hosts two major events per year which see all the Mini Clubs come together to compete in various sports; in April we hold our Winter Neighbourhood Games followed by our Summer Neighbourhood Games in August.

Screen Shot 2014-10-22 at 12.06.43The Winter Neighbourhood Games take place in April during the Easter Holidays and focus on indoor sports. Mini Clubs score points based on their finishing positions in indoor football, indoor hockey, basketball and squash. Consequently, these sports form the major focus of Mini Club activity in the lead up to the games.

Points are also awarded to teams which observe the principles of fair play and a number of taster sessions are available throughout the day alongside other activities to keep the participants occupied in breaks between bouts. Taster activities include street dance, judo, wrestling, taekwondo, gymnastics and fencing.

Screen Shot 2014-10-22 at 12.24.48After Easter, the focus turns to Summer Neighbourhood Games where Football, Rugby, Athletics, Cricket, Tennis, Badminton, Fencing and Archery all offer scoring opportunities. We offer particular sports as girls-only, so as to ensure equitable recruitment with athletic events offering scoring opportunities for different age groups.

Like at the Winter Neighbourhood Games, there are a number of taster sessions on offer alongside fun stations such as bouncy castles and face-painting.

The main purpose of the Neighbourhood Games events, which can attract over 1,000 young competitors, is not only to give a focus and purpose to the weekly Mini Club activity, but also to inspire young people to want to take up sport with mainstream clubs. We therefore involve our sport-specific development officers and personnel involved with borough sports clubs into the management of events where possible to provide them with the opportunity to talent spot and recruit on behalf of their clubs.

NG Lloyds Aug 2014Both the Neighbourhood Games events are supported by the Lloyds of London Community Programme with a grant and employee volunteering. The grant pays for venue hire, equipment, t-shirts, some management and for the 10 coaches which bus young people in from every corner of Tower Hamlets. This is key to the success of the Games; transport is a major barrier to many of our young participants which can prevent many children from taking part in the life-changing experience of engaging in such an event. The contribution of Lloyds of London is integral part of the day and the Stepping Stones Programme has completed the third year of Lloyds generous support.