Edition number 13; dateline 28 March 2008

Strategy looks to improving future for culture and sport
A new strategy for the improvement of leisure and cultural services has been published by the Local Government Association on behalf of the partnership group of agencies across the sector that worked in concert to compile the document. Launched at the LGA conference in Liverpool earlier this month by culture secretary Andy Burnham, the strategy, titled A Passion for Excellence, is the result extensive collaboration between organisations working across the culture and sport sector, largely driven by the Improvement and Development Agency’s cultural services improvement unit. A summary of the strategy can be found elsewhere in this issue and the full document is available via the LGA website.

SkillsActive tackles training needs online
In advance of the launch of the National Skills Academy, SkillsActive (“the sector skills council for the active leisure and learning sector”) has unveiled an online tool that has been designed to help employers identify the training needs of their organisations. The SkillsActive Analyser produces a report to reveal the number of job vacancies available, areas in which staff require training and suggested education pathways to meet the identified training needs. Links to industry-recognised organisations will also be available from the site. SkillsActive chief executive, Stephen Studd, commented, “This will provide a simple way for employers to learn about and access the qualifications needed to train their staff. The SkillsActive Analyser is an important step towards meeting the aims of the National Skills Academy, which will not only co-ordinate the best of what’s available but deliver it through leading edge training centres and a virtual dynamic website.”
• The SkillsActive Analyser is available via the SkillsActive website

Westminster commits to National Skills Academy
Still with the National Skills Academy, Westminster City Council has made a £1.5m commitment to the SkillsActive flagship initiative. Subject to government approval of the academy project (the decision is expected during April), Westminster will become a the academy’s regional centre of excellence for physical activity. The centre of excellence will be part of a £4.3million scheme to build an eco-friendly sport and community centre based at Crompton Street in Paddington. Titled the London Leisure Academy, the centre of excellence will provide individuals with access to additional learning facilities, focusing on training and development for physical activity roles in the sector. The new centre, which will be run by Westminster City Council, will boast a training fitness suite, four court sports hall, dance studio, changing facilities and a conference room. Andy Durrant, Westminster’s principal sports unit manager, commented: “Westminster’s partnership with the skills academy is a crucial part of our One City Programme, a five-year strategy to build strong communities and deliver excellent council services in Westminster. To achieve this there has to be a centrally co-ordinated structure to access skills and development. The National Skills Academy will be the best body to address this, as it will bring together the updated methods, ways of thinking and higher expectations that our workforce currently lacks.”

National Gallery appeals for help over Cupid provenance
Research showing that Cupid Complaining to Venus by Lucas Cranach the Elder had once been part of Hitler’s personal art collection has prompted the National Gallery to request help with establishing the provenance of the painting between 1909 and 1945. The National Gallery bought the work in 1963 at auction in New York. The provenance then provided is at odds with the recent discovery of the painting’s inclusion in a catalogue of Hitler’s private collection and the revelation that the work was acquired in 1945 by Patricia Lochridge Hartwell, an American war correspondent working in Nazi Germany. “The National Gallery now wishes to establish how and when Cranach’s Cupid complaining to Venus came to be in Hitler’s collection,” a spokesman said. “The National Gallery is continuing its investigations to find this out. Any information from the public would be gratefully received.”

Low-intensity, high impact
People who exercise are less prone to suicide and self-harm, according to academics at Queens University, Belfast. Dr John Kremer’s research shows that low-intensity, aerobic exercise, such as swimming or jogging, has been shown to have a positive influence on mood, with those maintaining a high level of physical fitness seeming less susceptible to negative effects of high levels of life stress.


News: a further reduction

The Time Capsule leisure centre in Coatbridge, Lanarkshire has doubled its membership in less than six months following investment by the Time Capsule Monklands Trust and the redevelopment of its health and fitness facilities. The Local Government Association, the Association of Directors of Children's Services and the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) have launched Care Matters: Time to Deliver, a practical guide for local partners on how to improve the lives of children in care. The Youth Taskforce Action Plan, announced recently by children’s secretary Ed Balls, is to spend £218.5m targeting one thousand of the most challenging young people in order to prevent future antisocial behaviour. Esporta’s new £14m Gloucestershire Health and Racquets Club has now been officially opened. Wycombe Wanderers has been named ‘family club of the year at this year's Football League Awards. “It’s the Football League’s most prestigious award,” says a Chairboys spokesman.


Who’s whom

Jane Strange, formerly of Bridgend Council, is now the former ISPAL head of policy as she has recently parted company with the Reading-based professional body. Former Irish Rugby Union international Conor O’Shea is to join the English Institute of Sport (EIS) as national director. He will leave his post as director of the RFU’s national academy prior to the Beijing Olympics later this year. O'Shea was capped 35 times by Ireland during a distinguished playing career and in his current role has overseen the development of future England stars at the RFU. Jonathan Shaw, minister for landscape and rural affairs, has announced the appointment of twelve new members to England’s National Park Authorities and Broads Authority. These new members have been appointed for terms of up to four years and twenty existing members have been reappointed. The new members are: Peter Harper, Prof Dr E John Wibberley, Dr Stephen Head, Prof Jeremy Rowan Robinson, Christopher Billinge, Jane Mitchell, Colin (Harry) Bowell, Christopher Armitage, Peter Charlesworth, Philip Durrant, Dr Murray Gray and Alexandra Steven.



News in brief
Staccato reports from the cultural typeface

last edition

news daily


other news


A question of provenance: Cupid Complaining to Venus by Lucas Cranach the Elder

Vicky Pendleton in the spot light
STOP PRESS: British Cycling took nine golds at the world track championships in Manchester, two of which went to Vicky Pendleton (above). John Mills, British Cycling's director of coaching, education and development, tells The Leisure Review how they do it in this issue.

an independent view for the leisure industry








about us

contact us