Edition number 17; dateline 17 June 2008

Swimming at heart of 2012 legacy plans
Free swimming for the over-sixties has been placed firmly at the centre of government plans for the creation of a 2012 Olympic legacy by the publication of the latest thinking about how to make the most of the London Games. Launching the latest legacy document, titled Before, During and After: Making the Most of the London 2012 Games, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport announced free swimming as “a vision for the future” that would “spearhead legacy plans”. The scheme will be part of a £140m initiative to get two million people more active by 2012 and the DCMS has estimated that ten million older people in England will benefit from the initiative. However, precise details of how the scheme will open some 1,600 local authority swimming pools to the over-sixties have yet to be worked out, with the DCMS promising agreement over the summer in time for funding streams to begin in 2009. The Department has also expressed the hope that the free swimming initiative funding “will also be used as a challenge fund to encourage local authorities to offer free swimming to under-sixteens and to rejuvenate and maintain pools”. Speaking at the launch of Before, During and After, culture secretary Andy Burnham was enthusiastic about the scheme’s impact. “Offering free swimming is just the kind of imaginative action required to make us a more active nation by 2012,” he said. “We have chosen swimming because its appeal is universal. It is the perfect antidote to the couch potato culture. That’s why since 1997 almost £250 million of public money has been invested in swimming - more than any other sport. Over the last three years, more swimming pools have opened than closed. So the pools are there, we now need to make sure they are world class facilities and that people use them. My ambition is that by 2012 as many areas as possible open their public pools for free. This is the first step on that journey. What a fantastic Olympic legacy that would leave.” While leisure experts were left to consider the extent to which the tried and tested concept of free swimming could be deemed ‘imaginative’, Olympics minister Tessa Jowell threw herself behind the scheme. “Today we are demonstrating how we will turn the rhetoric of the Olympic Legacy into fact,” she said. “I hope that this is just the beginning and that by 2012 we can offer free swimming to all.” Press reports that research by the British Market Research Bureau suggest that the popularity of swimming among eleven- to eighteen-year-olds has dropped dramatically in the last decade may yet give Mr Burnham and Ms Jowell food for thought.
Before, During and After: Making the Most of the London 2012 Games can be found on the DCMS website at www.culture.gov.uk

Sport England’s “radical new strategy”
Sport England’s new strategy was announced as part of the flurry of activity surrounding the 2012 legacy initiative. The strategy had been much anticipated by the sector since the sports minister made it clear that the government’s own sports development agency would be moving away from a remit of promoting physical activity towards a more sports-focused approach, an ethos quickly termed ‘sport for sports sake’. Sport England, Andy Burnham announced, will be an important part of the London 2012 legacy initiative and the  new strategy will help to “create a world-leading community sports structure by transforming the government's approach to funding and delivering grass-roots sport”. Under the reforms “a refocused Sport England” will drive a new sporting structure with  national governing bodies of sport serving as major delivery partners. According to the DMCS, governing bodies will help “to sustain and increase participation in sport and bring on new talent”. The department expects reforms to reduce bureaucracy and bring savings of £20 million over the next three years, which will benefit community sport. Sport England chief executive Jennie Price commented, “"My aim was to produce a clear, sharply focused strategy for Sport England that would win credibility with our stakeholders and set high standards for us as an organisation. Grass-roots sport deserves a world-leading system, and that is what we are setting out to deliver. I am confident that the governing bodies of sport, on which this strategy is critically dependent, will rise to the challenge of delivering on participation, talent support and increased satisfaction within their sports.” There had been speculation across the sport sector that the focus on governing bodies would leave the county sports partnerships (CSP) unsupported by Sport England but, while they may have been sidelined, the strategy document does include CSP as part of the delivery structure and refers to core funding for the network of CSP to provide “support to the NGBs at a sub-regional level”. Andy Burnham summarised the aims of the new strategy for Sport England in terms of the 2012 legacy: “By investing heavily in coaching and the club structure we can maximise the chances for English sporting success and improve the quality of the sport experience for all” he said. “National governing bodies will be key to successful delivery and will play a crucial role in helping us to get one million people doing more sport by 2012.  It’ll be a tough challenge but I am confident that together we can do it.”
• The Sport England strategy 2008-2011 can be found at www.sportengland.org

Heritage heroes across 33 authorities
English heritage has announced Councillor Roy Davis of Luton Borough Council as the latest addition to the list of heritage champions. Cllr Davis will be supported by English Heritage to emphasise the contribution of the historic environment to regeneration, new businesses, jobs, educational opportunities and an improved quality of life to the local area. Cllr Davis is one of thirty-three heritage champions now commissioned. Greg Luton, English Heritage Regional Director for the East of England, described the champions' role as “heritage heroes”. “They are local councillors who understand what matters in their areas,” he said. “Heritage champions know how to see the historic streets and buildings around as an asset to help bring in grants, trigger renewal and boost the area’s culture. We welcome Cllr Davis and greatly look forward to working with him.”


What else has been happening in Whitehall?

DCMS ministers, including Gerry Sutcliffe who has licensing within his remit, are discussing the possibility of a ‘yellow card system’ for “problem premises” selling alcohol irresponsibly. There’s also a new approach to young people and alcohol with an action plan from the DCSF. Defra is “getting tough with dog owners” with a new leaflet on responsible dog owning. The same department has also drawn new rules for chemical users under the REACH regulations to the public’s attention.


If brevity be the soul of wit, news hilarity ensues:

The first Gold’s Gym outside London has opened in Bedford; another is scheduled to follow in Milton Keynes. Lifetime has revamped its learning materials for fitness students. Escape Fitness has announced a partnership with Optimal Life Fitness to offer ‘extreme kettlebell’ training. A new organisation, British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS), has been formed from two representative bodies – British Universities Sports Association (BUSA) and University College Sport (UCS) – to provide a unified voice for sport, fitness and physical activity on university campuses. Kensington Palace has a new exhibition, titled, The Last Debutantes, marking the 50th anniversary of the last presentations of debutantes to the Queen.


Who’s whom

The Department for Communities and Local Government has named five non-executive members to the Board of Communities and Local Government: Polly Cochrane, marketing director of Channel 4; Debbie Hewitt, managing director, RAC Automotive Group; Rob Vincent, chief executive, Kirklees Metropolitan Borough Council; Sarah Weir, UK Cultural Olympiad launch director for the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and head of art and culture strategy for the Olympic Delivery Authority; and Peter Doyle, chair of Church Urban Fund and a governor of the Peabody Trust. The trustees of the National Gallery have announced the appointment of Mark Getty as chairman of the board of trustees of the National Gallery. Mr Getty is the co-founder and chairman of Getty Images Inc. David Albutt, director of Leisure-net Solutions, has been appointed as the policy officer for CLOA, the Chief Cultural and Leisure Officers Association. Leisure-net has also won the contract to act as the association’s administration company. The SkillsActive Board has confirmed the appointment of Stephen Studd to the new position of group chief executive. The Rochdale leisure trust Link4Life has seconded Peter Kilkenny from the Audit Commission for six months; Peter is a specialist in the sport, leisure and culture field

And those heritage champions in full:

Ms Clare Vint                 Babergh District Council
Cllr Frank Branston           Bedford Borough Council
Cllr John Scott               Bedfordshire County Council
Cllr Keith Parker             Brentwood Borough Council
Cllr Brian Iles               Broadland District Council
Cllr Paul Mason               Broxbourne Borough Council
Cllr Martin Curtis            Cambridgeshire County Council
Cllr Christopher Kingsley     Chelmsford Borough Council
Cllr Robert Davidson          Colchester Borough Council
Cllr Anthea Davidson          East Cambridgeshire District Council
Cllr Peter Ruffles            East Herts Council
Cllr Jeremy Lucas             Essex County Council
Cllr Barry Coleman            Great Yarmouth Borough Council
Cllr Bert Collins             Great Yarmouth Borough Council
Cllr Bryan Hammond            Hertfordshire County Council
Cllr Doug Dew                 Huntingdonshire District Council
Cllr Nicholas Daubney         Kings Lynn & West Norfolk Council
Cllr Roy Davis                Luton Borough Council
Mr Brian Ayers                Norfolk County Council
Cllr Christopher Lloyd Owen   Norfolk County Council
Cllr Hilary Nelson            North Norfolk District Council
Cllr David Bradford           Norwich City Council
Cllr Matthew Lee              Peterborough City Council
Cllr Mavis Webster            Rochford District Council
Cllr Tom Nicols               South Bedfordshire District Council
Cllr Chris Brazier            St Albans City & District Council
Cllr Kate Morris              St Albans City & District Council
Cllr John Gardener            Stevenage Borough Council
Cllr Steven Hudson            Suffolk County Council
Cllr David Lockwood           Suffolk County Council
Mr Philip Hornby              Tendring District Council
Cllr Martin Trevett           Three Rivers District Council
Cllr Jackie Cheetham          Uttlesford District Council


News in brief
Staccato reports from the cultural typeface

last edition

news daily


other news


Public hanging: the Grand Tour in York. Forty-nine full-size recreations of paintings from the National Gallery and York Art Gallery will transform the streets of York into a gallery over a period of four months. Masterpieces, from Monet to Van Gogh, Ramsay to Carracci, will be hung around the city in the most unexpected and unusual places. The Grand Tour in York aims to encourage people to visit the genuine works, and many more, for free. This initiative follows a similar public hanging in London last summer.

an independent view for the leisure industry








about us

contact us