sport_englandMarch 12 - Sport England's Clubmark scheme, which recognises sports clubs that create safe, high-quality and welcoming environments for young people, has achieved its 2012 goal to accredit 10,000 clubs - 13 months ahead of schedule.

Introduced in 2002, Clubmark recognises the role sports clubs play in encouraging young people to take up sport, learn new skills, fulfil their potential and maintain lifelong participation to ensure a long-term legacy from the London Olympics and Paralympics.

It recognises best-practice and compliance with minimum operating standards in:

* Club management

* Safeguarding and protecting children and young people

* Creating the right combination of coaching, training and competition

* Promoting a child-friendly culture.

A total of 10,500 clubs across 50 sports are now accredited and are reaping tangible benefits such as increased participation, support developing coaches and volunteers, and improved links with schools.

Accredited clubs also receive marketing and communications support and help in adopting more organised systems and structures to increase efficiency and effectiveness.

Sport England's chairman, Richard Lewis, said: "In our drive to get more children and young people playing sport both in the run up to 2012 and beyond, we need to ensure that the places where they play are safe and welcoming and offer high-quality experiences that encourage them to keep taking part."

Since achieving its Clubmark accreditation, Belbroughton Tennis Club, based in Herefordshire and Worcestershire, has seen big growth in junior coaching and participation in competition.

The club's chairman, David Slann, said: "Although the club was already operating well with a great coaching programme, the process of working towards Clubmark has ensured that we are now working safely, communicating well with players and parents and are delivering a quality on court programme.

"It's fantastic we are recognised as a great club that is contributing towards the future of British tennis and that our junior membership has grown."

Find out more about Clubmark click here.