Edition number 21; dateline 2 October 2008

International coaching conference kicks off at Twickenham
SportsCoach UK is hosting an conference titled ‘Expert Coaches, Expert Systems: Benchmarking Best Practice’ at Twickenham Stadium, 18 to 20 November. As the title suggests, the focus of the event will be on sharing and comparing best practice but it will also consider the development of sustainable and ethical coaching systems. The conference is aimed at coaches working at the highest level in sport “and system builders working within components of the coaching system”. For further information contact SportsCoach UK by e-mail at events@sportscoachuk.org

World Cup 2010 coming to London
England has won the rights to host the 2010 IRB Women's Rugby World Cup, fighting off competition from Germany, South Africa and Kazakhstan. The prestigious tournament, which was last held in Edmonton, Canada in 2006, will be staged across West London and will showcase the top twelve international teams in world rugby.

Two awards for Sport Structures
West Midlands-based consultancy Sport Structures’ involvement with the development of coaches in the most deprived areas of the Black Country, such as Sandwell, Dudley and West Birmingham, has been recognised with two awards. Their Coaching Communities project an integral part of both the Sandwell MBC- led Triple S project and the Sports Pathways to Employment project has been recognised in the Association of Public Service Excellence (APSE) awards and at the prestigious Regeneration and Renewal Awards. Sport Structures managing director Simon Kirkland said, “These successes demonstrate that sport can make a difference to people’s lives through a high level of commitment of the staff and imaginative approaches to addressing training and unemployment in one of the most challenging communities in the country.”

Strategic goes ‘niche’
International design and engineering consultancy Scott Wilson Group Ltd has made Strategic Leisure “a niche part of our business” at a cost of £600,000. In the year ended 31 May 2007 Strategic Leisure Limited had revenues of £1.4 million and profit before taxation of £100,000. Mark Sutcliffe, now Strategic Leisure chief executive, was upbeat about the sale, saying, “The strategic fit of the two organisations is obvious and this combined skills and experience will enable us to provide a more integrated and wider range of services to our clients.” Strategic expect to double their turnover in the next three years and also suggest that they may consider acquiring other sports and leisure consultancy practices.

Flying the 2012 flag in the North West
The North West Development Agency has grasped the disability legacy nettle. When the Paralympic flame was passed from Beijing to London on 17th September the NWDA celebrated with a number of events in schools across the region, including the handover of a “limited edition Paralympic flag supplied by LOCOG”. No doubt learning from the region’s experience following the Manchester Commonwealth Games (and we use that nomenclature advisedly), NWDA are seeking to “get the 2012 legacy in early”. Friend of The Leisure Review, Andy Worthington, who chairs of the NW Steering Group for the 2012 Games, said, “The London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games have the power to create a strong legacy in the North West so it is vital that the Games are being brought directly into our schools and learning institutions.” Merseyside commemorated the day with celebration events and the national anthem was played at school assemblies across the county. It is unlikely that collective memory will recall the last time such a thing happened; the first time since the Boer War perhaps?

Meanwhile, in Buckinghamshire…
The Bucksport Partnership was seeking to ride the Olympic wave by offering free activities as part of their ‘Re-activate Bucks’ programme. Opportunities on offer included as aqua aerobics, Boxercise and Cardio Kick but the timescale was only one week.

Working out with figures
The Department for Transport has released statistics from the National Travel Survey that show the number of people walking long distances decreasing and car ownership still on the rise. A worried Liberal Democrat said: “Unless our streets and town centres are designed for the needs of pedestrians and cyclists, rather than motorists, walking to the shops, work or school may become a minority pursuit.” But if these statistics show that despite the rising cost of fuel, people are still choosing to use their vehicles over walking how do we explain the RAC Foundation’s statistics that show a 12% drop in traffic since the price of fuel rocketed?

Getting the habit
On the day the September edition of TLR went to press Sport England announced a £36 million investment in a nationwide initiative to get more children and young people taking part in sports that interest them most outside of school. Sport England said: “The three-year programme will enable 900,000 more 11-19 year olds to choose from a vast range of sports including several in which Team GB has excelled at the 2008 Olympics, such as sailing and cycling, as well as less traditional sports like dodgeball, snowboarding and American football.” On the same day culture secretary and aspiring professional northerner Andrew Burnham said that “by 2012 high-quality coaching and competition will be on offer to all school children in all the main sports like cricket, tennis and athletics.” In both cases they were touting Sport Unlimited, an initiative that gives children a maximum of ten opportunities to try a sport. However, research shows that it takes 25 repetitions for a sport (even dodgeball) to become a habit.

Answers on a pea pod
It seems that the Borough Council of King’s Lynn and West Norfolk – population 142,300, major industries tourism and food production – is looking to recruit an urban sports motivator. The exact sports being developed are not listed. Suggestions please to TLR Towers

Brailsford raises the standard for 2012
Dave Brailsford has been summing up the year for British Cycling and he has suggested that 38 gold medals in all competitions, including Olympics, Paralympics and world championships, represents a promising start. As ever within his organisation, coaches are recognised as one of the most important components of success and Brailsford is setting new challenges for his team. “The coaches need to come up with different ways of working, to be creative,” he said. “We have a superb group of guys in their late twenties and mid-thirties who have tasted success and have done great things but they have done so under close management by Shane [Sutton]. Now we need to take the lid off and let them develop. I have said they can all run their own programmes. In year one they can make mistakes and learn from them; by the end of year two, if we don’t feel they are going to go to London, we will think again.”

Advice for ministers
The Young Muslim Advisory Group, composed of twenty 16 to 25 year-olds, is to keep the communities secretary, the culture secretary and the children, schools and families secretary “in touch with the mood of Muslim youth”. Once established, the first tasks of the group will be to deliver a youth conference and to work with the DCMS and agencies such as Arts Council England and Sport England to identify how best to use cultural and sporting opportunities to reduce tension between communities. But just so everybody knows just who is in charge: “The first meeting of the young advisors will be chaired by Hazel Blears and Ed Balls.”

Davies spreads the word
Open water swimming silver medallist David Davies has used his new-found celebrity to boost the Sports Council for Wales 5x60 campaign aimed at getting young people active. Davies, who famously lost gold in the final few metres of his 10km event when exhaustion got the better of him, said: “Straight after my swim in Beijing, I wouldn’t have recommended that to anyone! You don’t have to take part in such a gruelling event to get fit. Children should be doing sixty minutes of exercise five times a week and I’d recommend that young people just grab the chance to try any new activity.”

Looking for the unsung hero
The BBC is looking for what they call ‘sport’s unsung hero’. Now in its sixth year, the award is given to a volunteer who has made a difference to their community through sport on a voluntary basis by preparing facilities, rolling the pitch, coaching the juniors, running the league or doing one of the myriad other things people do working behind the scenes so that sport can be played and enjoyed throughout the UK. Fifteen regional winners go forward to a national award and the winner gets to go to the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award presentations to see Lord Hoy get his trophy.

Cricket coach jailed
Marques Church, formerly strength and conditioning coach with the England and Wales Cricket Board has been jailed for six months following his conviction on charges of downloading indecent images of children.


News brevity taken to extremes
The Olympic Delivery Authority has launched a new campaign to help improve safety for cyclists in London by focusing on lorries travelling to and from the Olympic Park in Stratford. Broxbourne Borough Council granted planning approval for the 2012 white water canoe centre. Guisborough Pool in Teesside has celebrated its fortieth birthday. Record numbers of visitors, some 3,000, came to the London 2012 Olympic Park during London Open House weekend. It is the second year that the site has opened to the public for the event. DC Leisure announced the first- and second-phase openings of the UK’s largest leisure PFI contract at the Maltby Service Centre and Aston-cum-Aughton Leisure Centre. These are the first new buildings to open in the programme of four new leisure facilities within the £35m Rotherham Leisure PFI project. Huntingdonshire District Council is to invest £1.5million in the redevelopment of Huntingdon Leisure Centre. The project will be managed by Alliance Leisure with Createability as contractor for design and build.


Around the corridors

Defra has announced around £1.5 million of funding for a three-year research project to examine the feasibility of short rotation forestry as a viable renewable energy source. The DCMS has officially launched the Find Your Talent initiative to give children and young people the chance to try out different cultural activities. The DCLG has reported “a fantastic response” to the recruitment campaign to establish a national group of black male role models; more than 250 applications have been received across the country.


Who’s whom

Tees Valley Leisure Limited has appointed three new staff: Angie McGee as assistant operations manager; Kov Bahadori, assistant operations manager, who will be managing the Saltburn, Loftus and Guisborough leisure centres; and Gillian Dobson as the director of finance, responsible for managing finance, HR, IT and administration. As SportScotland begins its relocation to Glasgow, chief executive Stewart Harris welcomed three senior men to his team: following the merger with the Scottish Institute of Sport, Mike Whittingham is confirmed as director of high performance; Stuart Ogg, formerly chief executive of Scottish Enterprise Forth Valley, joins as director of corporate services; and Scottish Gymnastics’ Mike Roberts becomes director of sport development. Charles van Commenee has been appointed to the newly created role of Head Coach with UK Athletics. The LGA has appointed its first female chairman in its eleven-year history: Cllr Margaret Eaton OBE. Professor Sir Barry Cunliffe has been appointed the interim-chair of English Heritage. The DCMS expects that the new permanent chairman can be identified and in post by Easter 2009. Matt Morton has joined Escape Fitness UK as local authority manager. Jennifer Ullman, chief parks officer for Wandsworth Borough Council, and Henry Keswick, chairman of Jardine Matheson and former chairman of the National Portrait Gallery, have been appointed as Trustees to the Board of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.


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Alan Titchmarsh
The recent Chatsworth Country Fair seems to have been a rollicking success. Alan Titchmarsh, show president and the UK's leading celebrity parkie, led a team of volunteers who help deliver the event. He took time out to tell TLR, “With an increasingly metropolitanised community it is vital that we keep in touch with our countryside and understand how it works, the better to hand it on the next generation. Chatsworth Country Fair is a particularly joyous and effective way of doing that.” Although he declined to release visitor figures, Simon Seligman, the fair’s head of communications, was also pleased with event, commenting, “The Chatsworth House Trust’s operational costs run into many millions each year, and the Fair also makes an important contribution to these running costs.”


Paralympian Michael Rock with pupils (and future Paralympians) from Springfield School, a partner school of Kirkby Sports College

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