Edition 44; dateline 29 October 2010

2014 talent emerging
Scotland’s Gold4Glasgow initiative designed to unearth talented athletes to compete at the 2014 Commonwealth Games for the host nation is gaining pace with both cycling and triathlon holding talent search events. The process has discovered a number of hidden gems and Sportscotland’s talent manager, Tony Stanger, has been impressed: “The level of talent evident in previous Gold4Glasgow events has been extraordinary. A number of participants have had no previous experience of competitive sports, making their commitment and passion particularly impressive.” Quite what implications this has for the long-term athlete development model and the time and energy spent building progression pathways into national governing body development plans is moot.

Strategic partnership to lure students out of doors
Outdoor clothing specialist, Merrell, and Garmin, who sell satellite navigation devices [and sponsor Tour de France teams. Ed] have appointed a team of student ambassadors to inspire their peers to Get Outside. The new student partnership campaign follows on from Merrell’s successful It’s Out There campaign which uses “geocaching”, a GPS-led treasure hunt, to get people into the outdoors.

Lakes protected by local plan
Faced by challenging issues such as increasing traffic volume and seasonal congestion, the erosion of tranquillity and local distinctiveness, and the lack of both diverse employment opportunities and affordable housing, the Lake District National Park Authority has come up with a local development framework core strategy which spatial planning and communities team leader Chris Warren has hailed as being “a shift away from prescriptive policies [so] now we can work better with everyone to manage development proactively”.

Read all about it, shock
This month’s award for stating the bleeding obvious goes to the Osaka International and Kobe universities’ research scientists who have “discovered” that men sweat more readily than women. The only surprising thing about this announcement is that any of our colleagues in the sport and leisure magazine market even bothered to carry it as “news”.

Delhi delight for GLL athletes
Successful Commonwealth Games athletes have thanked the GLL Sport Foundation for its support in the lead up to Delhi. With a haul of four medals the London social enterprise has every reason to be proud of their programme which helps 800 athletes, of which 13 went to India as part of the England team. Barnet sprinter Abi Oyepitan, who took silver medal in the 200 metres and gold in the 4x100m relay, said: “Winning both gold and silver at the Games is still sinking in. The support I received from the GLL Sport Foundation early on in the year was invaluable and allowed me to be able to fund part of my warm-weather training in May to Florida.”

Storm in a tea bar
Edinburgh Rugby has angered its own supporters by closing down the Presidents Suite which functioned as a “clubhouse facility” at the Murrayfield stadium and robbing season ticket holders of a “popular social hub”. Edinburgh chief executive Craig Docherty expressed some concern for the disenfranchised alickadoos who regularly used the matchday facility but explained that after extensive refurbishment, “the intention is to exploit the space available to attract external bookings and generate revenue that can be reinvested in the game in Scotland.” With Edinburgh’s average gate falling by 1,000 this season the decision to refund season ticket prices and watch the committed rugby supporter walk away seems cavalier.

What’s my sky-line; a fun quiz for architects
A template for progress in the aftermath of the bonfire of the quangos is being provided in the realm of architecture where funding for the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE) has been axed. The commission had been used to, among other things, arbitrate Britain's most significant and sensitive planning applications. According to our sources, the first non-non governmental body to throw its hat into the ring as a replacement is a charity called the Prince's Foundation for the Built Environment. The eponymous proto-monarch is of course one C. Windsor who, leading modernist architects fear, may use the charity to further his preference for traditional styles of architecture.


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UNDER A BARREL: Michael Palin was on hand in his position as patron of the Friends of Marshall Street Baths to take care of the official opening of the newly refurbished pool in London's West End. The pool has been the subject of many plaudits for its sensitive treatment of the building's historic fabric, not least by The Leisure Review which reported on the facility in the October 2010 issue.
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Tuesday 16 November
Under the cover of a royal wedding announcement Downing Street quietly tries to remove the PM’s photographer and filmmaker from the payroll but someone spots it and puts it on the front page. The National Portrait Gallery is cataloguing the archive of one of its first directors, Sir George Scharf, and has discovered bits of the coffin of Richard II among his things, relics thought to have been whipped from the tomb in Westminster Abbey when it was opened in a fit of Victorian curiosity in 1857. The Beatles will now be appearing on iTunes, bringing decades of Apple-related legal argument to an end. In response to criticism of Paris’s declining night life the French capital is promoting Le Nuits Capitales, a weekend of concerts and club nights.

Wednesday 17 November
The government says that public sector employees should start up John Lewis-style co-operatives to deliver public services. Nick Hornby is going to open a Ministry of Stories, a drop-in centre to encourage children to write and tell tall tales. The DCMS says that it will stop funding seven museums – the Geffrye, the Horniman, the Design Museum, the People’s History Museum, the Manchester Museum of Science and Industry, the National Coal Mining Museum and the Tyne and Wear Museum – in four years. Meanwhile the Royal Opera House is opening a new £8.5 million production workshop in Purfleet, Essex. England’s football team are outclassed by France in a friendly at Wembley but at least we’re not still paying a foreign coach millions a year to under perform time after time. Oh.

Thursday 18 November
The Heritage Lottery Fund is to provide £10 million of the £27 million needed for the new Stonehenge visitor centre and improvements to the environs of the stones. Dr Nick Sheron, an expert on alcohol-related health issues, says VAT should be cut on drinks in pubs. The Raymond Mander and Joe Mitchenson Theatre Collection, formerly housed in the collectors’ suburban London home, is to be found a permanent residence at the University of Bristol. Figures show that 43% of cycling fatalities in London have been caused by lorries, prompting calls for a ban on HGV in city centres. In Holland the government is planning to restrict purchases of soft drugs at its coffee shops to Dutch citizens. Capita, which makes around £3.3 billion a year charging the government to provide public services, says that cuts to government spending will mean modifying the services it provides rather than reducing its own profits. FIFA ethics committee (sic) bans six officials involved in various World Cup-related scandals and then criticises the British newspaper (the Sunday Times) for “twisting the facts”.

Friday 19 November
Tate Modern is planning an exhibition of Joan Miro. The film by Banksy, Exit Through the Giftshop, has been long-listed for an Oscar. The Australians are apparently getting nervous about the Ashes and in the outback there are plans to tackle the problem of feral camels (no, really) by turning them into Aussie rules footballs. The Dickens House Museum in London is awarded a £2 million grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund. In Detroit the city’s celebrated orchestra is going on strike in protest at funding cuts. Seb Coe says that he will not be budging on the decision to reroute the 2012 marathon in favour of London landmarks rather than through the East End.

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