Edition number 26; dateline 3 April 2009

New arrangements for child protection delayed until  2010
The Child Protection in Sport Unit (CPSU) is flagging up a recent Home Office decision that the head of the government’s Vetting and Safeguarding Policy Unit believes “signals some significant changes to the implementation of the [vetting and barring] scheme”. So exercised were CPSU professionals by the announcement that they felt it imperative that “the sports sector received the following information as soon as possible”. It seems that individual applications for registration under the scheme will not now begin until summer 2010, rather than as planned later this year but “very significant enhancements to safeguarding” will still take place in the autumn. We quote: “From 12 October this year, we will bring into force the barring provisions under the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006, significantly extending the range of activities and workplaces from which individuals may be barred to include all regulated activities, as defined by the Act.” TLR asked Nic Scott, the man responsible for Rugby Union’s implementation of all things safeguarding, what it all meant and he said: “The impact on sports clubs will not really be felt until July 2010 and even then will only be though the introduction of new style CRB forms.”
The full Home Office press release is on the Home Office website.

Fusarium Patch alert
Dr Ruth Mann of the Sports Turf Research Institute is reporting  “spectacular” levels of disease left on fine turf pitches when the snow melted after the winter’s heavy falls. “As the mild temperatures are returning, the edges of Fusarium Patch (Snow Mould) scars are becoming active again, leading to potential further outbreaks,” she explained. The effects of the disease could be made worse by spring fertiliser applications encouraging lush early growth; so be warned.

JJB sells fitness chain
JJB, the sports retailer that has had the adjective ‘stricken’ attached to its name for some time, has sold its chain of health clubs as part of a process of emergency restructuring. As part of arrangements to keep the company afloat, JJB’s former chairman, Dave Welan, has bought the 53 clubs, all but one of which comes with an adjoining retail outlet, for £83.4 million. The clubs employ some 1,500 staff. JJB has taken out a company voluntary arrangement as part of an agreement with creditors.

Support your local community meeting place
The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) has teamed up with Cask Marque for the first National Cask Ale Week, which will run from 6 - 13 April. It will be a week of campaigning across the UK to promote the importance and pleasures of drinking real ale in pubs. With pubs currently closing at the rate of six per day in the UK, CAMRA hopes that the campaign will provide essential support for community pubs and promote real ale as their unique selling point.

Free swimming off the blocks
The government launched its free swimming initiative on 1 April at the Eltham Centre in Greenwich with a parade of politicians and top swimmers, including Jo Jackson, Mark Foster and Heather Frederiksen.. Announced by the government last June, the free swimming scheme has been adopted by almost three hundred local authorities. Despite concerns about the level of funding available and the extent to which this will cover the actual costs of additional numbers, 80% of councils in England have signed up for the scheme and the government is committed to promoting free swimming as a key part of legacy plans for London 2012. Launching the scheme, culture secretary Andy Burnham spoke of “a landmark moment in our bid to build a healthier and more active nation” and offered free swimming as evidence of the scale of the government’s ambition to use the Olympic and Paralympic Games to lift sport in the UK. “It is also the day when London 2012 made a real difference on the ground, and to people up and down the country,” he said.

SAVE Liverpool’s heritage
An exhibition highlighting the continuing threat to Liverpool’s architectural heritage will move to London on 17 April. Titled Triumph, Disaster and Decay, the exhibition offers a photographic survey of the buildings the city has lost and those currently under threat, together with an explanation of the damage such losses have done to the culture of Liverpool. In 1984 the campaign group SAVE published a report, The Agony of Georgian Liverpool, which documented the plight of dozens of Georgian houses. Some 25 years on, SAVE points out that many of the buildings featured in the report have been demolished, while others still cling on today in a desperate state of decay. Marcus Binney, SAVE’s president, commented, “We have fought two of our most memorable campaigns in Liverpool, first rescuing the beautiful Regency Lyceum Club after consent to demolish had been granted and, second, taking legal action to stop the imminent demolition of the spectacular church of St Francis Xavier.” However, as the exhibition illustrates, much remains to be done.
Triumph, Disaster and Decay is at 6 Playhouse Court, 62 Southwark Bridge Road, London SE1 0AT until 1 May and then moves to  The Gallery, Alan Baxter Associates, 70 Cowcross Street, London EC1M 6EJ to 22 May.

South Downs on the up
Environment Secretary Hilary Benn has given the official green light for the South Downs to become England's ninth national park. The South Downs park will comprise an area of 627 square miles running from Beachy Head to the edge of Winchester. As readers of TLR’s very own World of Leisure will already know, the announcement comes some sixty years after the initial recommendation and ten years after the government said it would sort it out. News of the official decision follows a nineteen-month public inquiry and the recommendations of an independent inspector. A new South Downs national park authority is expected to be established by April 2010 and become fully operational the following year.

Figuring out leisure charges in London
The latest price intelligence report from the Leisure Database Company shows that in the period 2008/09 26 of the 33 London boroughs increased charges for sport and leisure activities at a rate below the rate of inflation. The report shows an overall increase of 3.6% across London, below the previous year’s 3.9% increase and below a 2008/09 inflation rate calculated at 4.6%. Sutton had the highest increase at 10.1% and Greenwhich the lowest at 1.8%. Monthly direct debit charges for gym membership are included within the figures and the report shows an average monthly charge of £57.02 for private gyms, against £39.18 for council-owned gyms.

Health and leisure partnership taking shape in Rotherham
Rotherham’s primary care trust has announced a new approach to tackling the town’s obesity. Working in  partnership with DC Leisure and Leeds Metropolitan University, NHS Rotherham will be promoting the concept of the Carnegie Club, a three-year initiative aiming to promote healthier diets and more active lifestyles among children in the area. The programme has been developed by Professor Paul Gately of  Carnegie Weight Management, based at Leeds Metropolitan University, and is aimed at children aged between eight and seventeen who are overweight or obese. Weekly lifestyle sessions will be run initially at two leisure facilities managed by DC Leisure, Rotherham Leisure Complex and Aston-cum-Aughton Leisure Centre, and children will attend with a parent or guardian in the hope of getting the whole family involved. DC Leisure has appointed a programme manager to work with GP surgeries, paediatricians and nurses to increase awareness amongst the medical community. The  scheme will also be promoted in schools, leisure centres, libraries and supermarkets to encourage people to self-refer on to the programme. Carol Weir, public health specialist for NHS Rotherham, explained the thinking behind the Carnegie Club initiative. “We are the first PCT in the country to launch this type of programme and on this scale,” she said. “At the moment, 1 in 3 of our residents is overweight or obese. This number is continuing to rise at such an alarming rate that by 2050, three fifths of people in Rotherham will be obese. The consequences for people’s health and the NHS are extreme. Hopefully by investing now, we will save in the future.” DC Leisure staff will be trained by the Carnegie Weight Management team to help them motivate and engage participants and their families.


Who’s whom

Ligia Ferreira, manager of Licolnshire library services multicultural development service, has been presented with an honorary MBE. Franca Knowles, human resources director of Interpub plc and founder of the Footsteps Training Programme, also received the award for services to hospitality training. Life Fitness has appointed Jon Bennett to the post of UK commercial sales development manager and Nick Mennell has been promoted to the role of territory development manager for the Midlands. DC Leisure has appointed Sarah Leonie to the position of group fitness manager. Sarah was previously fitness manager at Wyre Forest Glades Leisure Centre in Worcestershire and her career within DC Leisure has included roles as a regional support trainer and regional fitness manager. Sue Campbell has been reappointed as the chair of UK Sport, a position the Baroness has held since September 2003, for a further four years.


2012 and all that

The Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) has announced that two hire centres for tools and plant will soon be available to contractors in the Olympic Park. The new centres will reduce the number and length of journeys made as contractors will no longer have to leave the site to collect and return hired tools and equipment. Buckingham Group Contracting has been appointed to build the London 2012 handball arena which will become a new multi-sports facility in legacy; construction will start this summer. Construction has already started on the velodrome and the designers, Hopkins Architects, are confident that the track will be one of the world’s fastest. Crystal, an international design company, has become the sixth tier-three supplier to London 2012 and the sixteenth company to join the London 2012 domestic commercial programme. The London Development Agency and Sport England are running a skills development programme for people aged sixteen and over who want to support grass-roots sport as a volunteer in one of seventeen Olympic or Paralympic disciplines. The Olympic Board has confirmed  that shooting will remain at the Royal Artillery Barracks in Woolwich.


Around the corridors

The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) has launched a series of events as part of the REACH programme aimed at countering a culture of low aspirations and low attainment among some young black men. Transport minister Paul Clark has announced £10m of government funding for Bikeability training this year; a further 200,000 school children will be involved in the scheme. The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has launched a new sustainable tourism framework for England, which sets out six key challenges for the tourism sector and reflects the commitment made in the government's tourism strategy for 2012. The DCLG has announced a £1 million fund to recruit a new generation of parks and green spaces apprentices. The DCMS has helped launch Faith Buildings – Realising the Potential, a guide aimed at helping to make faith buildings more sustainable by enhancing the facilities and services they offer to local communities.




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