NEWS

Tony Blair Sports Foundation to Close

Aug 23, 2017

This article appeared in Third Sector Magazine earlier this month:

"The Tony Blair Sports Foundation has announced that it is to wind down its operations.

The income of the charity founded by the former Prime Minister had fallen from £303,000 in 2013 to £82,000 in 2016

The Tony Blair Sports Foundation has closed after 10 years.

The charity’s income declined in recent years, but the former Prime Minster said in a statement this week he had always envisaged it would close after a decade.

He added he planned to focus on the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change.

"As I am now focussing on the work of my new institute and the foundation has reached the end of its natural life, the time has come to close down its operations," he said.

Blair said he set up and personally financed the foundation a decade ago to "repay the kindness, generosity and support given to me" by people in his former constituency of Sedgefield and the wider region.

It has recruited, trained and placed 6,132 coaches with sports clubs across the north-east and organised various sports competitions.

The foundation generated income of £303,000 in the financial year ending March 31 2013, according to its annual accounts on the Charity Commission website.

But income fell every year since then, and declined from £204,000 in 2015 to £82,000 in 2016. Its spending in 2016 was £165,000 – more than double the amount it earned.

A spokesman for Blair said the Foundation, which employed two members of staff, closed last month.

He added: "The sports foundation was mainly funded by Mr Blair, who donated £700,000 towards it.

"It was always anticipated that it would go for 10 years. Mr Blair now has all his not-for-profit activities in one organisation, which is active in over 30 countries and employs around 200 people."

Jeanette Pickard, who previously managed Blair’s Sedgefield constituency office, was chief executive of the charity, whose trustees included former Cabinet Office minister Baroness Armstrong of Hill Top and Baroness Grey-Thompson, the former wheelchair racer."