Three Mayor's Sports Legacy Fund recipients have used their newfound coaching skills to lift player ability at their local badminton club.
David Read, 22, Chris Wood, 32, and Peter Friel, 38, play and coach at Wimbledon Racquets and Fitness Club. The community sports club is one of 33 Badminton England Performance Centres and a registered pre-Olympic badminton training venue for London 2012. It is also currently one of six Badminton England High Performance Centres.
Club director Phil Read says the club's 250-strong junior badminton section provides a powerful springboard for the future, but coaching demand for both juniors and the 450-strong adult section often outstrips supply.
"Money is definitely an obstacle. For example, a Level 2 Certificate in Badminton Coaching costs £350 and that's a lot for coaching candidates to put forward for something they volunteer their time for."
Luckily, Phil's internet search for coaching funding turned up the Mayor's Sports Legacy Fund. Led by SkillsActive's National Skills Academy for Sport and Active Leisure, the Fund is part of the Mayor's plan, 'A Sporting Future for London'.
It provides up to 75% off the cost of training to increase the number of Londoners working and volunteering in the sports sector, and up-skill those already involved. All funding recipients need to do in return is volunteer their new found skills in their local community.
Chris successfully applied for a 75% subsidy towards his Level 1 Certificate in Badminton Coaching and David and Peter, who already had that qualification, successfully applied for the same subsidy towards their Level 2. This reduced Chris's bill to £48.75 and David and Peter's to £87.50.
The men completed the coursework in five weeks. They dedicated their 25 volunteer hours, which were verified by Phil, to helping a group of five adult players move up a grade and to coaching new club members who wished to join a graded session.
"The five graded players lacked tactical awareness and basic knowledge of doubles positioning.
Following two hours coaching a week over 13 weeks from Chris, David and Peter, they have now improved their technique and achieved their grade B. This means they can compete at a higher level."
Phil is confident the extra coaching expertise will contribute to a 2012 legacy for badminton.
"As a High Performance Centre, we're geared towards equipping players with the skills for national, European and international success and as a Performance Centre we are committed to developing junior players. Thanks to the Mayor's Sports Legacy Fund, we have the capacity to take on more of these junior players and nurture their talent. The Mayor's Sports Legacy Fund has been a great help for us, and we're keen to see more of our staff benefit from it."