Edition number 43; dateline 1 October 2010

Delegates finding their way to The Leisure Review symposium
The Leisure Review symposium planned for Wadham College, Oxford on 31 March and 1 April next year is beginning to fill up despite the uncertainty engendered by the comprehensive spending review. Jonathan Ives, editor of The Leisure Review, and a member of the event organising team, is pleased with progress so far under the circumstances. “We have been careful to make the event as affordable as we could,” he said, “including as low a delegate fee as possible and highly competitive overnight rates. The symposium really is about trying to find a future for the sport, leisure and culture sector so we are delighted that many senior people within the sector have recognised the event’s importance, both to them as individuals and to the industry in general. It is slightly disappointing that some people that we would have been very keen to have in the room seem to have been willing to find the time but not the financial wherewithal to attend but many others are finding the £250 one way or another. In the current climate this event represents something of a risk for us so we are grateful for this support.” Numbers at The Leisure Review symposium will be limited and delegates who have already registered are reminded to pursue their accommodation bookings as soon as possible.
Full details of the event.

How to help your local papers help you
The indefatigable people at TLR Communications are to deliver two media workshops in partnership with Sport Nottinghamshire on 19 October at Nottingham Trent University’s Clifton campus. The afternoon session will be aimed at professionals who need to get more coverage in their local press, while the evening workshop will be pitched at clubs and their volunteers with the same challenges. NUJ member and trained facilitator Mick Owen said, “The workshop will give people an insight into how local newspapers function and help them develop skills and a strategy to make the most of this free and direct channel of communication.”
Download the booking form with full details of the event

Aikido model best practice for young people
Non-funded governing body the British Aikido Board (BAB) has put bigger and better-resourced agencies to shame by inviting a junior representative onto their board. Safeguarding is an attitude of mind and engaging effectively with the young people within an organisation a basic first step towards embedding good practice into the organisational framework. As part of their process the BAB held a steering group meeting to review the effectiveness of their safeguarding policies and procedures, inviting a young person to join the discussion. Such was the young woman’s impact she has been invited to become a national junior liaison officer. Sue Ward, who leads on safeguarding for the BAB, said, “For the first time, the BAB heard directly from the under-18 membership. As a result of Ruth’s input we are now organising both regional and national events for under-18s, and we have revised the junior sections of the BAB website. We look forward to her continued contribution to our development plans.”

McCrudden train volunteers
South coast training company McCrudden Training have delivered their second volunteer managers’ conference. More than sixty delegates from the full range of third sector organisations enjoyed a day of workshops on subjects as diverse as recruitment, influencing upwards in your organisation, supporting volunteers into work and the reality of working with young volunteers. The event was sponsored by V-involved East Sussex and graced by the presence of the High Sheriff of East Sheriff Deborah Bedford JP.

Spa conference booking now
Hailed as the UK’s newest and largest event of its kind, the UK Spa and Wellness Conference is due to take place on Wednesday 10 November 2010 at Center Parcs in Sherwood Forest. The one-day event will bring together operators from residential spas, day spas, hotels, holiday venues, fitness clubs, and leisure centres to hear presentations on the future of social media in business, the role of the spa in stress management and case studies from leading spas including Calcot Spa and the Bannatyne Group.

“Plus ca change”, as they say in benchmarking
It’s an ill wind that blows nobody any good and Leisure Net Solutions and the aptly named, if previously unlauded, Right Directions have been celebrating picking up the contract to deliver Quest and the national benchmarking service on behalf of Sport England in the wake of the Pmpgenesis collapse. Martyn Allison, chair of the Quest Board, told TLR: “In the present financial climate, councils will need to be sure they are giving the best quality service possible to their communities, getting maximum efficiency and delivering value for money from their leisure facilities and services. Quest and the National Benchmarking Service can give them that assurance, so I am pleased that, after a difficult time, we can confirm we are back in action.”

Parks are not good for you, maybe
Scientists at Sheffield University have cast doubt over the health benefits of parks in an article published in the Oxford Journal of Public Health. Andrew Lee, a general practitioner and clinical lecturer in public health, and Ravi Maheswaran, who heads up the university’s public health unit, have found that there is “weak evidence for the links between physical, mental health and wellbeing, and urban green space”, arguing that “environmental factors such as the quality and accessibility of green space affects its use for physical activity” and that “user determinants, such as age, gender, ethnicity and the perception of safety, are also important”. Their conclusion, that “simplistic urban interventions may... fail to address the underlying determinants of urban health that are not remediable by landscape redesign” is inescapable.

Capita go corner to corner for Devon trail
Capita Symonds' countryside management team has been appointed to design and build two new mountain bike trails in Devon in partnership with designer Phil Saxena of Architrail and specialist bike trail builder Dinsdale Moorland Services. In a geographical non sequitur a team from Capita’s Carlisle office will be developing the projects, which are being delivered as part of the 1SW off-road cycling project with the aim of developing “a branded regional mountain biking destination in the south west” for a wide range of mountain bike users.

Inspirational efforts on Merseyside
Merseyside Sport have been awarded the London 2012 Inspire Mark for their work with the Sport Unlimited scheme which aims to develop sustainable increases in sport and physical activity among young people. In the same month they have also passed the milestone of 1,000 people attending coach and volunteer development courses. Briony Farrell, development officer with the county sports partnership, said of the Inspire Mark: “This programme offers young people across Merseyside opportunities to try new sports and activities so that they might be encouraged to join a community club or leisure centre.” Teri Wainwright, business support officer commented: “We’ve helped clubs from across Merseyside and the north west to achieve Clubmark status by ensuring that we put on the right courses.”

Apprenticed to trade
Thanks to a government-funded training scheme, 14 young Londoners have qualified as recreation assistants and can look forward to paid work and a career in leisure in GLL-run leisure centres. At a passing-out ceremony held at the Eltham Centre in Greenwich the apprentices picked up their Level 2 modern apprenticeship certificates as part of a scheme run by social enterprise GLL in partnership with Greenwich Community College and the London Leisure College.

Cable booked for BISL conference
The theme for this year's Business in Sport and Leisure (BISL) conference to be held on 10 November at Lord's Cricket Ground is Fit for Growth. The one-day event will reflect key political and industry issues with keynote speaker Vince Cable being ably supported by Esporta’s Richard Segal, Keith Bradshaw from the MCC and Baroness Ford of the Olympic Park Legacy Company. Adam Boulton of Sky news will conduct a live interview with a major political figure on the day.

Meanwhile, in east London…

As reported elsewhere, Dennis Hone has been appointed chief executive elect of the Olympic Delivery Authority, replacing David Higgins who will be leaving the ODA in February to take up the post of chief executive of Network Rail. The first tile in the Olympic aquatics centre has been laid by Mark Foster, Olympian, former world champion and world record holder; there are more than 850,000 tiles to be laid so he’ll be there for some time. Jude Law and Jeremy Gilley, leading lights of British film-making, have put their weight behind a London 2012 Cultural Olympiad initiative that will encourage young people to make short films; the theme for these films, somewhat worryingly, is ‘Truce’. The Team GB clothing range, designed by Stella McCartney, is now available. Four thousand people visited the Olympic site during the recent Open House weekend, taking the number of visitors to the site since work began to more than 100,000. Applications for general volunteers have now been invited and the window will close at midnight 27 October. And “a golden meadow of wildflowers buzzing with bees and butterflies is already blooming around the Olympic Stadium”.


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ON THE BOARDS: The track surface upon which the Olympic cycling programme will take place less than two years hence is being built. A team of 26 specialist carpenters are installing 356 vertical timber support trusses and 56km of surface timber. The timber is Siberian pine, which grows straight and tall, making them suitable for the lengths of timber required to shape the track. The extreme Siberian climate also means the timber will not shrink or contract once in place in the velodrome. Construction work started on the velodrome in March 2009 and it is expected to be finished early next year, which would make it the first Olympic Park venue to be completed. After the Games the velodrome and the velopark of which it is part will be owned and managed by Lee Valley Regional Park Authority.



BEALE PARK BOATING BONANZA: Thanks to the hard work and expertise of the site crew, the Inland Waterways Association festival held this year at Beale Park on the Thames went ahead with hardly a mud-related hitch on the same weekend as visitors to the nearby Reading music festival were knee-deep in the stuff. Five hundred craft, from brand new floating gin palaces to historic working boats, lined the river just a long hawser’s length downstream of the former home of the former leisure institute ILAM. The festival, which next year will be in Burton on Trent, is run entirely by volunteers and is a shining example of what can be achieved by a committed, energetic, professionally minded voluntary organisation.

the world of leisure
The national press from a cultural perspective

Monday 18 October
In Blackpool it seems you can be too fat to be a bus driver; two drivers weighing around 20 stone (that’s each) have been suspended and told to lose 7lb in a month. City firms struggling to deal with the stress (possibly as a result of wondering how they are going to spend their bonuses while trying to look remorseful) are increasingly turning to the ukulele. Wayne Rooney might be going to City for £260,000 a week. Bernie Ecclestone says that the government has wasted a fortune on the 2012 Olympics that could have been better spent on facilities at Silverstone. “The only good thing about the Olympics is the opening and closing ceremonies,” he says. “Otherwise, it’s complete nonsense.” By way of explaining his previous comments that Hitler was a model of political efficiency, he makes it clear that he thinks that any form of democracy is ridiculous. In South Africa an inquest opens into the death of James Nkambule, the 37-year-old who blew the whistle on corruption and assassinations linked to the contracts to build a World Cup stadium; he is thought to have been poisoned.

Tuesday 19 October
The BBC is first in the headlines with a raid on its funding as part of the chancellor’s slash-and-burn approach to economic development. Oxford University explains why it insists on gnomic questions to interview prospective students. Former British snooker professional David Roe has converted to Islam (including the circumcision) in order to take up the post of coach to the Iranian snooker team. A Playboy Club, complete, no doubt, with the ears-and-tails dress code for staff, is to open in London 30 years after its previous incarnation was closed down after a raid. Alex Ferguson comes the tearful, disappointed granddad when discussing the loss of his very own spud-faced nipper.

Wednesday 20 October
Axe day cometh. With the BBC attack already trailed, next up is the 490,000 public sector jobs to be cut, sensitively announced by Danny Alexander (Beeker to George Osborne’s Doctor Bunsen Honeydew) waving the document about in the back of his car (oh, they still seem to have the cars). Sue ‘The Baroness’ Campbell says that the £160 million cut to school sport and PE funding is “devastating”; it will mean the end of 450 school sport partnerships. Cheers on the Tory benches as the chancellor completes his plans for an economic death slide into recession and social upheaval reveal the extent to which we really are “all in this together”. Meanwhile, MEPs have backed plans for 20 weeks of maternity leave on full pay. India will become the first nation to publish an account of its ‘natural wealth’ alongside its GDP. FIFA suspend two members of its executive committee following bribery allegations; Herr Blatter says he wants time to “bring back the credibility of FIFA”, which gives him just enough time to get it sorted before the sun swallows the earth.

Thursday 21 October
The Institute of Fiscal Studies says that the poor will be hardest hit by the chancellor’s spending cuts but Nicky Clegg says it’s “distorted and a complete nonsense” (the report not the planned cuts). The Local Government Association warns that local authorities will be forced to shut libraries, youth clubs and lay off hundreds of thousands of people. Quarterly crime figures show a continued drop in reported and police-recorded offences, the longest sustained drop in crime figures since the end of the second world war and a drop of 45% since 1995. Something tells us that it won’t last.

Friday 22 October
An Oxford academic suggests that Jane Austen was not as much of a literary stylist as her editor, William Gifford, made her appear. The UK Pro Surf Tour event kicks off in Tynemouth. Oh. It seems Wayne Rooney isn’t leaving after all; doubling his salary to £180,000 a week has dried up all the tears. Answering that oft-asked question, ‘What does Clive Woodward do these days?’ is the British Olympic Association; he is to be deputy chef de mission for the British team at the London Olympics.

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