Edition number 27: dateline 29 April 2009

Sports development coming together in Scotland
While no one would claim excitement is at fever pitch, there is an undoubted buzz of expectation around Scottish sport and leisure corridors with only weeks left to the Scottish Sports Development Conference. The event lives on in the calendar thanks to the hard work of its volunteer organising group, the professionalism of their event managers, First City Events, and a judicious application of SportScotland cash. That agency’s chief executive, Stewart Harris, is not a man to spend money unwisely and his continuing support is indicative of the high regard in which he holds the event. This year SNP firebrand-turned-government-minister Margo Macdonald will challenge delegates to debate their own future and then report back to her. Billed as an opportunity to influence Scottish government policy, this surely raises the bar for conference attenders who had perhaps thought just hearing the likes of BT director Brendan Dick, eminence gris John Beattie and Beijing silver medallist David Florence was draw enough. Far too few non-Scots have put the date in their diary; probably not up for the challenge, eh?

Mowers not the pity for Midlands metro

Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council has taken delivery of 35 Hayter Condor Mid-Size pedestrian mowers as part of a major programme to rationalise their mower fleet. Sandwell’s grass management requirements are large and varied, including schools, housing estates and highway verges, as well as major parks and open spaces. The selection of Hayter Condors was influenced by the ease of manual handling, noise and, importantly, because many operators mow for six or seven hours in a shift, hand arm vibrations (HAVs). Grounds maintenance manager Martin Brayford said, “The council has been using Hayter equipment for over twenty years, everything including batwing and ride-on cylinder mowers. We value their reliability.”

White, male sport convenes
The CCPR’s 37th annual conference on 6 May will be headlined by the DCMS’ Andy Burnham and Sport England’s latest chairman, Richard Lewis. Support acts include a health minister, some businessmen, an Olympics apparatchik, a broadcaster and someone from British Cycling. Leavening the lump will be the genuinely witty Eleanor Oldroyd. A day listening to such luminaries will cost you £280 plus VAT and you will have to travel to Tower Hill, which is in London – naturally.

Deja vu all over again
So pleased were England Squash with the work done by industry veterans TLR Communications on their coach education resources last year that now they have become England Squash & Racketball they have asked them to weave their magic once more. The brief has involved creating consistenty written and designed resources for coaches working their way through the Level 3 award. Managing director Mick Owen explains why: “The original documents had been written by a number of different authors with a variety of styles and perspectives. At a basic level, inconsistent use of headings was making it difficult for candidates to navigate the resource, different authors had used different jargon for the same thing and some sections were more gobbledegook than English. We worked with England Squash & Racketball’s Gayle Kerrison to make the whole thing consistent and then put the words and diagrams – so many diagrams – into a clean, modern design. Now it reads easily and looks great.” Here at TLR we are happy to support initiatives such as this, particularly as it means we can use last year’s picture of Gayle.

Tigers dropping on boaters’ jamboree
The Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment’s parachute display team – “The Tigers” – will be “dropping in” on the IWA’s National Festival and Boat Show at Redhill in Nottingham on Monday 31 August with smoke trailing, flags flying and bad puns bobbing in their wake. The Leisure Review is supporting the festival in 2009 for three reasons: it combines narrowboats and real ale; it is redolent of a gentler time when villages had pubs, duck ponds and permanent residents; and it is run entirely by volunteers, which is simultaneously impossibly archaic and extremely fashionable. Any TLR reader who presents a copy of the magazine at the festival box office on the 29, 30 or 31 August will receive a bemused smile, a ticket and a request for the full price. It's for a good cause, for goodness’ sake.

Welsh sport counters genocide

Senior officials from the Sports Council for Wales have been helping war-torn Kurdistan become “the Wales of the Middle East” as part of a programme to rebuild the Northern Iraqi province “after war and genocide”. The delegation was led by chief executive Dr Huw Jones, whose aim was to show the locals how to develop sports opportunities “in schools and in communities as well as how we help sportsmen and women achieve at the very highest levels”. The visit was welcomed by the UN special adviser on sport for development and peace, Mr Wilfried Lemke, who said: “The issues and goals to be discussed at the conference will serve as an excellent opportunity to find effective ways to help the Iraqi people recover from the extensive conflict they have faced.”

Activ8 gets stellar launch
Sport Northern Ireland have launched their Activ8 campaign which aims to increase the levels of participation in sport and physical activity among young people with the help of a raft of sporting perosnalities. Ireland rugby international Paddy Wallace, Olympic and world cycling silver medallist, Wendy Houvenaghel, Paralympic gold medallist, Michael McKillop and All-Ireland senior football champion, Sean Cavanagh all lent their weight to a scheme that highlights eight ways for children to get active and stay healthy while participating in up to sixty minutes of physical activity every day.

Excelling for Scotland
Scottish Swimming has received a massive boost with SportScotland announcing a funding package worth £1,218,500, which the agency chair, Louise Martin, said was “to create more quality opportunities for people to participate in the sport through learn-to-swim programmes, community clubs, for fitness and health and, of course, to support the development of our talented athletes as they aim to continue Scotland’s fantastic record of achievement on the world stage”. The funding is the biggest ever single investment in a Scottish governing body of sport and will “encourage people of all ages across Scotland to get active and benefit from a sport Scotland continues to excel in”. Apparently.

London 2012: parking the project
The Olympic Delivery Authority has invited expressions of interest from contractors who would like to take on the task of creating the southern sections of the Olympic Park on the London 2012 site. The park has featured heavily as part of the legacy of the London Games and the sweeping greensward has been prominent in the artists’ impressions of life in Stratford after the International Olympic Committee has finished with Britain. At the heart of the scheme will be the transformation of former industrial land, much of it contaminated by virtue of its previous uses, to create a 100 acre parkland. The vision is for the southern part of the park , according to the ODA, to retain “the festival atmosphere from the Games, with riverside gardens, markets, events, cafes and bars in legacy”. The contract for landscape and public realm will include: hard and soft landscape works; tree planting; the construction of the concourse linking all the venues, entrances and parklands; lighting, irrigation and drainage; and creation of gardens between the Aquatics Centre and Olympic Stadium, which will celebrate centuries of British passion for gardens and plants. John Hopkins, ODA head of parklands and public realm, said: “This is an opportunity to be involved in creating one of the biggest urban parks of its type in Europe for 150 years for the London 2012 Games and legacy.”

Further reductions: news still briefer

Pulse Fitness has reported a healthy order book totaling over £800,000 for the early part of 2009 from overseas orders. “Our order books look very healthy,” said European sales director, Jimmy Andrews. Brockwell Lido has won a Civic Trust Award following the refurbishment of the Grade II listed building in 2007. LIW will be working in partnership with SAFEchild at this year’s event to unveil up-to-date information about the incoming Independent Safeguarding Association regulations affecting all those working around children and vulnerable adults. The SAFEchild Theatre at LIW will provide operators from across the leisure industry with "coaching and advice" on the measures and policies to be taken into consideration when the ISA regulations come into effect next April. LIW 2009 will also feature Pepsico and Mars as exhibitiors. Leisure-net Solutions claim that their second annual national Call-Focus survey shows the service provided to customers in the leisure industry on the phone is getting worse. A £2 million refurbishment of Sheffield Hallam University’s Collegiate gym has resulted in an additional 2,000 student members. The university has worked with Escape Fitness to double the size of the gyms at their Collegiate and City campuses. Capita Symonds and HSSP Architects have been appointed by Canterbury City Council to project manage the development of a new local community sports hub. Working in partnership with S&P Architects, Capita Symonds has also been appointed by Brent Council to investigate potential sites for a new swimming pool.


London 2012: project on-going

The Olympic Delivery Authority is exceeding targets for making deliveries to the Olympic Park for construction by sustainable means. Against the target set out in the 2007 Sustainable Development Strategy of 50% of materials (by weight) to be transported by rail or water, new figures show that 57% of deliveries are by rail alone. The International Olympic Committee Co-ordination Commission for the London Games in 2012 made its fourth visit to London in April. After three days of meetings and site visits the Commission was impressed by the good progress that London 2012 has made since its last visit, something they put down to the “strong spirit of partnership that is being shown, under the leadership of LOCOG, by all the stakeholders involved in the Games”. ODA Chairman John Armitt said: “Construction has now started on all of the Olympic Park’s ‘big five’ venues and it is clearly visible how much progress has been made on the site since the IOC Co-ordination Commission visited last year. The Olympic Stadium has changed the east London sky line, the Aquatics Centre roof is starting to take shape and the first residential blocks for the Olympic Village are out of the ground.” Populous (formerly HOK Sport) has been appointed as the official architectural and overlay design services provider, becoming a Tier Three commercial provider in the process. Populous  is leading the team comprising Allies & Morrison and Lifshutz Davidson Sandilands to deliver the project.


Around the corridors

The latest Citizenship Survey, carried out by the Department for Communities and Local Government, suggests that people feel a strong sense of belonging both to their neighbourhoods and to Britain. Of those questioned, 84% reported feeling a strong sense of belonging to Britain, while nearly four out of five said they feel a strong sense of belonging to their neighbourhoods; 36 per cent felt that they very strongly belong, up from 27 per cent in 2003. With this in mind cohesion Minister Sadiq Khan called on communities to use St George’s Day to celebrate the best of British values. Culture secretary Andy Burnham intervened in the public dispute about proposed library closures in the Wirral by calling for a local inquiry to test whether the council’s plans are consistent with their statutory duty to provide all residents with a comprehensive public library service.


Who’s whom

Pulse has appointed three new sales managers to drive fitness equipment sales during 2009. Steve Grapes, formerly of Life Fitness, and Ken Wattam, formerly of Technogym, have joined as territory sales managers, while Darren Murphy, Ireland’s new territory sales manager, joins from O’Neills International Sportswear in Ireland. London 2012 has announced the appointment of John Rowlinson as head of broadcast. He joins London 2012 from the All England Lawn Tennis Club, where he is director of television. Mr Rowlinson will start in his new role at London 2012 after the Wimbledon championships. Baroness Ford has been appointed as chair of the recently created 2012 legacy delivery company. Baroness Ford’s role “will centre on securing a lasting legacy for the Olympic Park after the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games and one that is fully integrated with the wider regeneration plans for East London”.



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Prince of parks: Alan Barber, perhaps the most fervent and effective supporter of the development of public parks of his generation, was presented with an OBE for his services to parks in April. He received the award from the Queen at Windsor and his wife, Jan, children and grandchildren were all on hand to witness the event.

Deja vu all over again : Mick Owen of TLR Communications holds the door open for Gayle Kerrison of England Squash and Racketball.



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