Edition number 35; dateline 29 January 2009

TLR to shatter CPD mould
The Leisure Review hosted the latest in a series of summit events for industry leaders at the Lansdowne Club in London on December. Among the key themes of the discussion were the state of the industry being bequeathed to the new generation of leaders by their predecessors, the shortage of quality continuing professional development (CPD) events (like the one they were attending) and the desire among senior figures within the sport, leisure and culture sector to be able to contribute to the professional development in the sector. In response the management team of The Leisure Review has announced its intention to host and support a series of summits and other CPD events culminating on 9 and 10 December with the Leisure Review Symposium to be held at Wadham College, Oxford.  Mick Owen, managing editor of The Leisure Review and director of TLR Communications, which publishes the magazine, explained the concept: “We do know that using the word ‘symposium’ is a tad pretentious but we want industry colleagues to recognise that we shall be offering a chance to debate the industry’s issues, not be spoon-fed solutions by talking heads. Oxford University has been a crucible for debate and innovation for eight centuries and we want to give delegates a taste of the scholastic experience. We are committed to the symposium, have funding partners in place and are scouring the globe for the right advocates to catalyse discussion and the right delegates to fill the benches and respond.” Bookings for the symposium, described by one industry leader as “an ambitious and exciting risk-positive contribution to the profession which warrants support from the commercial sector, the plethora of industry agencies as well as the rank and file”, will be opened initially to TLR’s First 500 and only then to the wider market. The advice is to pencil it in your diary and ink it into your budgets as you won’t want to miss it when you see who’s going.

Taxi for Chartstage
West country-based training and development company Chartstage are in liquidation with all enquiries through the firm’s website being directed to the business recovery team at accountants Hazlewoods LLP. The company, which offered modern apprenticeships and developed a series of community sports qualifications, is believed to have fallen victim to the depressed trading environment but could not be contacted by members of the TLR team for confirmation.

Haste ye back – in a wee bit
Delegates who enjoyed and benefited from previous Scottish Sports Development Conferences will be pleased to hear that after further discussion with SportScotland, the entirely voluntary organising group has secured the long-term future of the event with two-day conferences planned for 2011 and 2013, and a one-day conference planned to take place either just before or just after the Commonwealth Games in 2014. The unique event, which brings delegates from all levels of the profession, from grassroots sports development officers to senior managers, from local authorities, the voluntary sector and national governing bodies, together under the same roof is booked in to the Aviemore Highland Resort on 9 and 10 May 2011.

Melbourne courts tennis
With the contract to host the Australian Tennis Open due to run out in 2016 the state government of Victoria is to spend $363 million on a redevelopment of Melbourne Park, after which the venue will boast three roofed courts; an extra 1,500 seats will have been added to the Margaret Court court. Premier John Brumby sounded like a man whistling in the dark to keep his spirits up when he said: “The world's best players love coming to Melbourne and our significant investment in Melbourne Park will guarantee the Australian Open remains in Melbourne until at least 2036.” Such is the topsy turvy nature of modern sport that Shanghai, Dubai and Madrid have all expressed an interest in poaching the Aussie leg of the Grand Slam, not to mention Sydney.

Corporate greed curtailed
Sales for corporate hospitality at this year's Ryder Cup golf tournament are likely not to reach target due to the global economic crisis, according to Europe's Ryder Cup director, Richard Hills. “I think the last two years have been a vicious learning curve of how things can change,” he said. “We're not sold out at the moment. We'll work as hard as we can to sell out but I wouldn't be surprised if we didn't hit the exact target on the corporate spend.” The comments came only a few days after Manchester United revealed spending on their corporate hospitality packages were down this season.

Squash event bucks sponsorship trend
The Canary Wharf Classic has renewed its association with title sponsor ISS through to the 2011 tournament while also extending its ongoing partnership with Canary Wharf Group plc who have confirmed use of the East Wintergarden venue for the same period. The event draws an affluent city audience and has proved an attractive proposition for companies looking to engage the corporate sector, apparently. Legendary squash player Peter Nicol, who fronts the organisers, Eventis, puts the healthy demand for sponsorship opportunities down to “the venue’s grandeur and the tournament’s pedigree”. Additional partnership packages have had to be released.

YST up sticks
The Youth Sport Trust has a new home, leaving the building named for their patron Sir John Beckwith for pastures nearer the motorway. Their new building is on a development branded SportPark just minutes to the west of the university campus in Loughborough and a great deal more accessible to anyone arriving by motor car.

Welsh plan for action
Heritage minister Alun Ffred Jones and Wales’s chief medical officer, Dr Tony Jewell, have set out plans to get the Welsh nation more physically active in a document called Creating an Active Wales. Introducing the strategy, Dr Jewell said, “Increasing physical activity is something that we can all do as part of our everyday lives. It is not expensive to be physically active.” He added, “The health benefits of regular exercise are well-known, and we want people of all ages, right throughout Wales to become more active.” Sports Council for Wales chair, Philip Carling, welcomed the plan. “Our vision is for a nation that is hooked on sport,” he said. “We welcome the action plan as we continue to strive to inspire all people from all walks of life to become and remain active.”

Lower Basildon centre of another world
For many older readers Lower Basildon is a location synonymous with the Institute of Leisure and Amenity Management and its long-time office base, The Grotto, but this summer the stretch of Thames on which it sits will be briefly inundated with narrowboats and related craft as the Inland Waterways Association’s national festival is sited at Beale Park. The entirely voluntary organising group are keen to attract up to 600 boats and have struck a deal with the aquatic version of Green Flag, River Canal Rescue, who will be offering all boaters that attend two months of free cover. Whether beneficiaries can pick which months they get free is moot but recent weather has seen a spate of ice- and then flood-related incidents on the nation’s waterways.

Nathan targets sixth title
England’s top badminton talent is set to return to the Manchester Velodrome from 5 to 7 February for the English National Badminton Championships, which will see Sydney Olympic silver medallist Nathan Robertson gunning for a third successive men’s doubles title with close friend Anthony Clark, and his sixth overall.  With household name Donna Kellogg having recently announced her retirement, the sport’s Olympic hopefuls will be queuing up to stake their claim for the sought-after places in Team GB for London 2012. Gabby White and Jenny Wallwork in particular are two players who will looking to step up to the challenge of filling the space left by Kellogg’s departure retirement.

Take it easy, man
Once again staff at The Leisure Review will be supporting the Samaritans on Stress Down Day which this year is Friday 5 February. Members of the team will be working smart not hard, taking time out for a stretch and little walk around before beating the living daylights out of a punch bag with a picture of Graham Norton (he’s lending his name to the idea) stuck on it. Workplace stress is, of course, no joke and with sport, leisure and culture far from immune to the chill economic winds we urge all of you to visit www.stressdownday.org, register and do your bit for Samaritans and yourselves.

Reflecting coaches’ needs
Sportscoach UK have launched what they call the “long-awaited follow up” to their much-delivered Safeguarding and Protecting Children (SPC) workshop. Part of the Minimum Standards suite of workshops, SPC2: Reflecting on Practice has been designed to address the complaint that qualified coaches, expected to attend an SPC workshop every three years, have been simply hearing the same message a second time. Now coaches can “reinforce and strengthen their understanding of safeguarding without repeating the first workshop”, which will be a boon to all.


News further digested

Simon Wright, self-styled ‘industry veteran’, has announced the launch of Dynamic Activity – an independent distribution company focussing primarily on technology products to improve and motivate physical activity. Power Music has launched a new album, Gym Bunny – Essential Gym Mixes, designed specifically to motivate gym users. Theclub at Cadbury House in Congresbury, North Somerset has become one of the first facilities to introduce ZigZag’s new Expresso bikes. The National Gallery will be hosting the exhibition Christen Købke: Danish Master of Light in March, the first monographic exhibition of paintings by Christen Købke ever to be shown outside Denmark. Leisure-net Solutions is to carry out a pilot of research to measure the impact and outcomes of leisure services. Memberships at Corby’s two leisure centres have quadrupled in just five months following a five-year partnership deal with Alliance Leisure, which has seen the centres branded as a single identity with one membership package created across both sites. Industry training provider Lifetime reckons it will help over 3,000 school leavers and jobless young people kick-start a lifelong career in the leisure sector over the next two years. Haslingden Sports Centre has launched Alliance Leisure and Shapemaster’s second ‘free’ Feel Good Factory.



2012: now even closer than before

A new bridge has been lifted into place at Eton College Rowing Centre at Dorney Lake near Windsor. The latest employment and skills figures published by the ODA show that 6,277 people are currently working on the Olympic Park construction site and 2,887 people are working on the Olympic Village. London 2012 has launched its Young Leaders Programme The new pumping station building in the south of the Olympic Park is now operational, together with a new sewer network. Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has welcomed the International Olympic Committee's commitment that, where possible, the ‘Games Family’ will be encouraged to use London's public transport system during the 2012 Games. The engineering project to create a new link into the Olympic Park beneath the busy A12 dual-carriageway has been completed on schedule. Skanska has been appointed to deliver the southern section of parklands in the Olympic Park including the London 2012 Garden. The cable net roof of the Olympic Stadium has been lifted into place, ensuring that the Stadium project remains on target for completion by the summer of 2011.


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Danny Hart of Redcar won the downhill mountain biking world championship in Austria on his eighteenth birthday and is happy to acknowledge the part played by Tees Valley Leisure in his success. “I think the secret of my success is training,” he said. “I go to the Redcar Leisure Centre gym three times a week. The leisure centre has all the facilities and the gym is well-equipped. Dedication is so important and I’ll be working hard for the next season, because I’m moving up to the senior league.” Alan Mitchell of Redcar Leisure Centre said Tees Valley Leisure were impressed by Danny’s achievements. “We’re delighted to be helping such an outstanding sportsman to take on the world,” he said.

London wetlands: landscaping works in the north of the Olympic Park show the riverbanks taking shape. 100 hectares of parklands will provide a colourful and festival atmosphere for London 2012 and afterwards become the largest new urban park in the UK for over 100 years.

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