Edition 9; dateline 1 February 2008

Healthy, safe and prosperous: the world according to Sewell
Another highlight in the calendar of the European city of culture 2008 is sure to be the Local Government Association’s Culture Conference, presented in association with the Chief Leisure Officers Association, under the title of ‘Healthy, safe and prosperous communities: how culture, tourism and sport can deliver’. Full details of the event, which takes place on 13 and 14 March, are available via the LGA website but those pencilling the dates in their diaries may be assured of all the usual presentations, discussions and study tours. Among those with it inked into their diaries are new Arts Council chief exec Alan Davey, Olympian leaper Jonathan Edwards, local poet Roger McGough and defiantly non-local commentator and aesthete Brian Sewell, all of whom are speaking. Among those carefully erasing it from their diaries is James Purnell, who was speaking but has now been all too quickly called away.

Asking the tough questions
Readers of The Leisure Review have been asked to add their knowledge and experience of hiring and, as a last regrettable resource, firing to some research being carried out by A&DC Limited, who are specialists in assessment and development practice. A&DC are asking that TLR readers visit their website and, using their experience of designing and/or running assessment and/or development centres, fill in the questionnaire. It should, they promise, take no more than fifteen minutes or so and in return they will furnish you with access to their latest bit of kit that provides access to recruitment best practice, called CBI-SMART. They can be found at www.adcltd.co.uk/grq/

Dipping into the diary
Another date for the diary is, of course, the 2008 Swimathon which runs from 17- 20 April. Open to all abilities at venues all over the UK, the Swimathon is the largest swimming-related fund-raising initiative in the UK and to date over half a million people have taken part, raising over £30m for charity. Promotion for this year’s event began with a master class for the winners of the 2007 Swimathon corporate challenge, a team from DC Leisure in Stourport (pictured right), from Swimathon president Duncan Goodhew. The team completed their 5,000m swim in just under one hour nine minutes.

Looking for legacy
The latest legacy idea to be explored for the 2012 Olympic park is the possibility of putting a school on the site. An ‘Olympic stadium educational legacy advisory panel’ has been established under the chairmanship of Ian Stewart, until recently the chief executive of Cambridgeshire County Council, with a remit to “advise government on potential options for securing an educational legacy at the Olympic stadium site after the 2012 Games”. Launched by ministers from both the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and the Department for Children, Schools and Families (Olympics minister Tessa Jowell and schools minister Jim Knight respectively), the panel’s brief comprises a lengthy list of items to cover, including seventeen separate consultees, among which are those legends of co-operation and harmony, sports governing bodies, the British Olympic Association and UK Sport; not forgetting Sport England and the Youth Sport Trust. The deadline for the panel’s report is June 2008.

Tempted by the lure of CPD
The fourth annual Working in Fitness survey has been published and SkillsActive is pleased to report a 50% increase in the number of people responding to the questionnaire compared with last year’s report. This impressive leap in contributors was the result of offering a simple but effective inducement: £250 towards continuing professional development. Eighteen hundred people working in the fitness industry offered their views and thus revealed that 72% would recommend their employer as a good place to work, that low pay is the key concern and that fewer than half of respondents received a pay rise. Some 20% said that they had not received sufficient training (hence the impact of the CPD voucher?) with 8% saying that they had attended no training in the last year. The full report can be found on the SkillsActive website. www.skillsactive.com

Professional survey of amateur art
Throughout February the DCMS will be conducting a national survey of amateur arts groups across England. Voluntary and amateur artists and art group members from all walks of life and from all artistic pursuits are being asked to complete an online questionnaire about what they get up to in the name of art. Culture minister Margaret Hodge commented, “Over 70% of people in England take part in artistic activities in all their many and varied forms but for too long, local arts groups have not been fully recognised as an important part of our thriving arts scene. This survey will try to map voluntary and amateur arts groups and look at how they are supported and how more people could be encouraged to get involved.” Visit www.artsurvey.org.uk to play your part.


Who’s whom

Life Fitness has merged its UK and continental European operations, bringing Frank van de Ven, managing director for continental Europe, Middle East and Africa since 2004, into a new role of vice president-Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA). Chris O’Connor, managing director for Life Fitness, UK Ltd, has left the organisation following the reorganisation. Michael Scott has been confirmed as the performance director of British Swimming. Spotted leaving the good ship Sport England for less treacherous waters is founding NASD board member Lisa Wainwright who has been appointed chief executive of England Volleyball. The EVA’s Caledonian counterpart, the Scottish Volleyball Association, meanwhile have been looking for an interim replacement for their CEO, Kenny Barton, who has taken up a secondment replacing Wayne Coyle, formerly of Sheffield sports development department, in the post of Olympic programme manager for the British Volleyball Federation. Known by many in the sports development world as the very nice psychologist who spoke at the National Sports Development Seminar – and indeed this year at its Scottish equivalent – Mark Nesti is soon to take up a new post as head of sports psychology at Liverpool John Moore’s University. And despite Sam Allardyce being replaced by Kevin Keegan, Mark will continue his work at Newcastle United FC, because he likes a challenge.



News in brief
Staccato reports from the cultural typeface

last edition


other news

Redcar marathon
A SWIFT LAUNCH FOR REDCAR: Alistair Baker (left) from Northumbrian Water and Paddy Corcoran (right), managing director of Tees Valley Leisure , look suitably relieved having persuaded Tanni Grey-Thompson that she should be the one to compete in the Redcar half marathon, leaving the sponsorship and organisating duties respectively to them. The Tees Valley Leisure Redcar half marathon will be run on Sunday 20 April. “We’re thrilled to have such a prestigious sporting superstar backing our run,” said Paddy. “Last year we had around 1,500 runners and we hope to see at least this many participants this year. The event will also include a 3km family fun run for the first time, and we hope that over five hundred adults and children will use this event as a kick start to a healthier lifestyle.”


Swimathon 08
DC Leisure's Swimathon experts prepare for the 2008 challenge



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