London Marathon Foundation reaches £100 million funding milestone

The London Marathon Foundation reaches £100 million funding milestonere delighted to announce that we’ve reached the significant milestone of awarding £100 million to projects which inspire activity across the UK since 1981. This comes just six days before the 2023 TCS London Marathon, the 43rd edition of the world’s most popular marathon, on Sunday (23 April). 

The London Marathon Foundation (previously known as the London Marathon Charitable Trust) was created in 1981 by London Marathon co-founders, Chris Brasher and John Disley, to distribute the surplus made from the London Marathon. In our first year of funding, £10,500 was awarded to seven projects to improve sport and recreation facilities in London.

As the parent charity of London Marathon Events (LME), the organisers of the world-famous TCS London Marathon, every year, after costs, the surplus made by LME is passed to us through corporate Gift Aid. As LME’s portfolio of events has grown, so have we, into one of the UK’s major funders of projects and initiatives that inspire physical activity.

Today, we fund a wide range of projects, in London, Essex and across the UK, focusing on creating opportunities for more children, young people, marginalised groups and communities to lead active and healthy lives.

Last week, we announced more than £2.4 million had been awarded to 81 projects within six months of opening our Active Spaces Fund, which launched last autumn, which took our total amount awarded since 1981 over the £100 million mark. 

The £100 million of funding since 1981 includes the following:

  • 51 playing fields across the UK protected from development in perpetuity
  • £7 million towards London 2012 Olympic legacy projects, including funding the London Marathon Community Track in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
  • Founding the Go! London Fund – the biggest community sports fund in London aiming to change the lives of young people through physical activity – in partnership with the Mayor of London and Sport England which launched in March 2023 
  • More than £4 million to play projects, including the 2018 refurbishment of the Greenwich Park Playground, near the TCS London Marathon’s famous Start Line
  • Funding the innovation of the Poolpod, which provides disabled people with safe and dignified access to swimming pools, and its installation in 20 pools across the UK
  • Funding a huge range of projects across communities in all 32 London Boroughs and the City of London
  • Supporting more than 20 large-scale projects across the UK, including: 
    o £1 million partnership with Transport for Greater Manchester to get 10,000 more people walking and cycling  
    o £1 million partnership with the Alliance of Sport to use the power of sport to improve the health and life outcomes of 11,000 children from ethnically diverse communities more likely to be involved in the youth justice system.  
    o £1 million partnership with Activity Alliance to create inclusive sessions where disabled and non-disabled people can be active together

Catherine Anderson, Executive Director of the London Marathon Foundation, said: “Our founders Chris Brasher and John Disley were renowned for their visionary thinking and determination to inspire more people to get active. Everyone at the London Marathon Foundation and London Marathon Events is incredibly proud of this landmark moment. 

“The £100 million funding has reached millions of people in London and across the UK who’ve been able to take part in sports and physical activities through projects we’ve supported. Over the past four decades, we’ve helped people of all ages, abilities and backgrounds – from family afternoons in a playground to dance classes for people with Parkinson’s Disease – lead active and healthy lives.  
“We’re excited about the future and directing our funding to where it’s most needed by supporting impactful, innovative projects that will make physical activity accessible to everyone.” 
Sir Rodney Walker, Chair of the London Marathon Foundation, said: “We’re hugely grateful to everyone at London Marathon Events for all their work which has enabled the London Marathon Foundation to reach this monumental milestone. 
“We’re very proud of what we’ve achieved with the £100 million we’ve awarded to date and we will continue to champion new initiatives supporting participation and diversity in sports and physical activity for communities needing the most help to be active.” 
Nick Bitel, CEO of London Marathon Events, said: “Chris and John’s legacy is extraordinary and I don’t think they ever imagined that the event they created back in 1981 would have gone on to inspire so many millions to get active, sowed the seeds for our current portfolio of events and enabled the London Marathon Foundation to make grants totalling £100 million and counting.” 

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