SBC News Svenska Spel pledges SEK 35m for youth access to sports

Svenska Spel pledges SEK 35m for youth access to sports

Svenska Spel is distributing SEK 35 million to youth sports this year through its Gräsroten initiative. 

Shared between 8,654 different associations, the money goes to, among other things, the purchase of new equipment and leadership training, while for some associations it means an opportunity to carry out projects on important issues.   

The Gräsroten initiative was launched 11 years ago and, according to Svenska Spel’s annual Grassroots survey, the majority of all associations choose to buy new equipment.

They are also in favour of holding training sessions for their leaders with the aim of bringing more children and young people into the business and getting them to stay as long as possible in association life. 

However, some associations go a step further, deciding to invest their money in important projects to increase well-being outside of sports.

Patrik Hofbauer, President and CEO of Svenska Spel, said: “We want all children and young people to be able to play sports on equal terms. Today, thanks to our customers, we can distribute SEK 35m to Sweden’s sports associations. 

“Together, we improve the conditions for children and young people so that the dream gets a chance.”

Examples of investments include Åstorp Kvidinge in Skåne providing homework help in the association’s premises, Hammarby IF Bandy inviting new arrivals to skating school, and Piteå Elit going ‘beyond the association’s boundaries’ to ensure the growth of young skiers in Norrbotten. 

Furthermore, Husqvarna FF renovated its activities house according to the members’ interests beyond sports, as all initiatives look to increase the sense of association and reduce alienation among children and young people in the areas in which they operate.

A large part of the associations in the survey also answer that the funds from Gräsroten go to keep membership fees down and sometimes even cover them for members whose parents do not have the financial means.

AIK Ice Hockey Association is the association that receives the largest payment from Gräsroten (SEK 630,513), followed by Leksands IF Ishockey (SEK 523,928) and Hammarby IF Bandy (SEK 244,488).

In recent years, the number of girls in hockey has reportedly skyrocketed, with several associations making targeted efforts with funds from Gräsroten to get more girls into the club.

“It became clear that the pandemic created big wounds in youth sports and therefore we started this project in 2022 with the help of money from Gräsroten to increase interest in skiing in Norrbotten again,” added Thomas Jonsson, Chairman of Piteå Elite – a cross-country skiing club.

Meanwhile, Jan-Erik Modigs, Youth Manager of Leksands IF shared the point of how many people think that the club has a large budget because of its ‘strong brand’.

“In fact, we are a small non-profit association in a colossal format,” he concluded. “Thanks to Gräsroten, we can secure our identity by making all leaders feel seen with the help of such a ‘simple’ thing as similar clothes.”

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