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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Legacy Plans Boosted by European Grant

THE growth of handball across England received a major boost this week with the news that the European Handball Federation is making a significant investment in developing the grassroots of the sport.

With the London Olympics now less than 500 days away, handball’s plans to make the sport one of the big success stories from the games are taking shape with tens of thousands of schoolchildren, university students and adults discovering for themselves just how much fun handball is to play and watch.

The money is part of the EHF’s Infrastructure Support Programme, and will be invested in English handball over the next three years.

With the money, England Handball will employ a second Development Officer for London, as well as a Club Support Officer to help clubs across the country grow.

Last year the EHF gave another significant grant to England Handball over three years as part of their SMART Plan, and the new money is in addition to that.

Jean Brihault, Vice-President of the EHF, led a team of officials on a tour of the Olympic Handball Arena during the announcement visit, and they also watched youngsters from two local schools playing handball at Newham Leisure Centre.

“The London 2012 Olympic Games represents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to create a lasting legacy for handball in England,” said Mr Brihault.

“The EHF is pleased to be able to support England Handball’s development plans through this three-year investment, which will enable the employment of a full-time handball development officer in the Olympic host city.”

England Handball have been helped by Sport England in their bid for the extra funding, and Sport England’s Chief Executive, Jennie Price, added: “Thousands of English youngsters are now discovering the excitement and exhilaration of handball – something many of their European counterparts have long known about. We really welcome the support being given by the European Handball Federation to the development of the sport in this country.”

“This funding will increase the total amount of money provided by the EHF over the last seven months to over a quarter of a million Euros,” said England Handball Chairman Mike Briers.

“We must now press on with our development programme, which is seeing increasing interest and enthusiasm for Handball in schools and universities. The clubs must also continue with their youth programmes to encourage more and more youngsters into this exhilarating world and Olympic sport.

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