Edition number 6; dateline 14 November 2007

Scottish Sports Development Seminar: get on with it
With only a week to go before the Scottish Sports Development Seminar opens its doors to the nation’s sports development professionals and elected representatives, The Leisure Review is sharpening its pencil and polishing its lenses in preparation for another memorable event. Any prospective delegates who have been meaning to sort out their berth for the trip but haven’t quite got round to it should now really pull their finger out and get on with it. If you are in any doubt as to the value of the event’s programme to your professional development, Sideliner makes everything crystal clear in the latest Row Z. Go there, go to the full programme available here and get on with it.

Make children seen and heard, says new report
A new report is recommending radical changes to the way children and their leisure opportunities are perceived. Published on 14 November, Seen and Heard: Reclaiming the Public Realm with children and Young People calls for a reversal of policies that have seen children removed from or segregated within pubic spaces and the community in general. The report recommends 20mph speed limits, the creation of landmark play spaces at high-profile locations and a wider acceptance among adults that unstructured play and socialising, also pejoratively known as ‘hanging around’, does not equate to criminal activity. Celia Hannon, one of the authors of the report, stressed the impact of an environment in which cars outnumber children three to one and where public spaces are being privatised and policed. “Unless young people are in structured activities or acting as mini consumers, we assume that they are causing trouble,” Celia said. “Our streets, squares and parks need to be accessible and enjoyable for all, otherwise existing anxiety around anti-social behaviour will get worse. It’s time to open up our towns and cities for all and make them more playful. Children should be seen and heard.” Play England director Adrian Voce as emphasised the need to help young people reclaim their place in the public realm: “This report addresses one of the most serious challenges we face as a society: the disappearance of children and young people from public space.”
Play England commissioned the report from Demos and the full report can be downloaded from the Demos website at www.demos.co.uk

New bathing water standards
Improving the standard of coastal bathing waters in line with the revised bathing water directive could bring economic benefits of between £150m and £380m annually, according to proposals being put forward by the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra). Less than 10% of bathing waters would need to be improved to meet the new standards, more Blue Flags would be awarded and much of the expenditure for the improvements would fall to the water industry. A consultation document on the bathing water directive offers three different implementation scenarios, ranging from minimum implementation measures through to exceeding the requirements of the directive; a middle way is also offered, an approach that involves using a ‘prediction and discounting’ system that would exclude sites from compliance when warnings of short-term pollution have been issued. Announcing the consultation, environment minister Phil Woolas commented, “The tighter standards under the revised Directive mean we have got to be even more ambitious, and there will be significant benefits for all of us in delivering these improvements. I would encourage everyone with a role in water quality or an interest in the bathing water around our coasts to get involved and make their views known.”
Find Defra online at www.defra.gov.uk or click here for the consultation document.

Olympic survey shows backing for 2012
The most interesting elements of any official report are rarely to be found in the headline data and so it proved with the announcement by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) of the findings of its survey of attitudes to the hosting of the 2012 Olympics. At the front of the statistical queue was the finding that of the 2,115 people questioned 76% were pleased that London was to host the Games. Not far behind were the 90% of 25 to 34 year-olds who were positive about London as an Olympic city and the 60% of people in favour even where support was lowest. Where it really began to get interesting was the point at which the survey began to find out what people didn’t know, rather than what they did. It seems one fifth of this representative sample of people aged over fifteen had been imposing their very own news blackout and claimed to know nothing about London 2012; this means 422 of the 2,115 surveyed had no idea that London would be hosting the Olympics nor any clue as to what the person with the clipboard was talking about. This means that there are some interesting conclusions to draw from the survey regarding the veracity of survey findings, the real value of marketing and the extent to which a large proportion of the British public have any awareness of, or interest in, the world around them.
The research by BMRB is available at the DCMS website.

News from the institutes 1
Down by the riverside, the Institute of Sport, Parks and Leisure is seeking its members’ views on the services it is providing on their behalf. The questionnaire is accessed via the ISPAL website and is clearly an important part of the new organisation’s development plans. Introducing the questionnaire, ISPAL chief executive Sue Sutton stresses the value placed upon members’ comments. “[The survey] has been carefully compiled with the aspirations of current and prospective members in mind, as we are keen to receive your views on your professional body,” says Ms Sutton. “All departments within ISPAL have been consulted to ensure that no stone is left unturned in the information gathering process. ISPAL is committed to being the institute that puts the needs of its members first and, as such, values the opinion of the professionals who support it. This is your chance to let us know how you feel about us.” We urge all readers of TLR to beat a path to ISPAL’s door, literally if possible, virtually if not.
The survey can be found at /www.ispal.org.uk or click here to zip straight to it.

News from the institutions 2
Like so many good things in life, if you need to reminded you have probably missed it. This statement was never more apt than when applied to this year’s Institute of Sport and Recreation Management conference, held 14-15 November at Center Parcs in Sherwood Forest. ISRM president Pauline Kelleher will be welcoming delegates to the event and helping everyone find their way to the various sessions by means of tree-related room nomenclature: “This way for Major Oak, Beech and Birch.” If previous conferences are anything to go by, highlight of the event will be the conference’s medieval banquet, sponsored by Arch Chemicals. Any reports or photographs of the event will, of course, be treated in the strictest confidence (although we will be sending the usual editor’s prize to the best entry in our Sheriff of Loughborough photo competition).

The great stadium debate includes the F word
Rod Sheard, stadium architect par excellence and main man at the internationally celebrated HOK practice, could well be facing a dressing down from the ‘Olympic family’ (think Corleone rather than Von Trapp) for having suggested that international sport should be about enjoying yourself. Speaking to Chris Evans on Radio 2 on the day that the plans for the 2012 stadium were revealed, Rod was asked about the most basic premise of stadium design. “We’re trying to do something that’s never been done before,” Rod said.  “People are a little bit fed up with huge architectural ego trips. We’re trying to reinvent what Olympic stadiums are all about. It’s sport and it’s supposed to be fun.” He tried to redeem himself by suggesting that the main purpose of a roof at a sports stadium was not to keep spectators dry but to enhance the performance of the athletes but the F word had already been used and will no doubt be held against him whenever the gimlet-eyed raptors of the International Olympic Committee meet.

Capital investment for Wiltshire centres
North Wiltshire District Council is to invest £750,000 in an extensive refurbishment programme across all four of its leisure centres through a rolling capital improvement fund. The sites to benefit from the upgrade are The Olympiad, Lime Kiln and Springfield Leisure Centres, as well as The Activity Zone, all of which are managed by DC Leisure in partnership with the council. DC Leisure took over the management of four of North Wiltshire’s leisure centres in February this year North Wiltshire Leisure Limited (NWLL), went into administration. The council’s fifth facility, the Cricklade Leisure Centre, is now operated by the Cricklade and District Community Association as an independent organisation.

Environment attitudes report includes green spaces and well-being
A full report of the results from the 2007 survey of attitudes and behaviours in relation to the environment has been published by Defra. The report offers a “a representative picture of what people in England think, and how they behave, across a range of issues relevant to the environment, including transport and recycling”. The report includes sections on green spaces and well-being as well as a range of environmental issues. Each of the ten sections covers attitudes, behaviours and barriers.
The full report can be found on the Defra website at www.defra.gov.uk or click here for a link to the report.


Who’s whom
Sir John Harman is to remain as chair of the Environment Agency until June 2008. Sir John had been due to stand down at the end of his current term on 31 December 2007 but the Agency is looking to find the “best possible choice of candidates”. Roger Millward, chief executive of the Swimming Teachers’ Association, has been made a life governor of the Council of Irish Water Safety (IWS). The honour was announced “in recognition of Roger’s dedication to fostering good relations between STA and the Irish Water Safety Association”. Horse trainer extraordinaire Lars Goran Breisner has been presented with an MBE from culture secretary James Purnell for his contribution to equestrianism.



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Kids on grass under Nelson's eye
Our streets, squares and parks need to be accessible for all, including children, according to the latest Demos report
Scottish Sports Development Conference 2007
Challenging the Culture
The 2007 Scottish Sports Development Conference
Crieff Hydro Hotel
20-21 November

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