Edition number 48; dateline 1 March 2011

Symposium attracts leaders
Despite the depression in the sector caused by the comprehensive spending review and its repercussions, the management team at The Leisure Review are looking forwards with confidence to the TLR symposium, scheduled for Wadham College, Oxford on 31 March and 1 April, a confidence based not on overwhelming numbers but on the quality of the delegates who have booked. Jonathan Ives, TLR editor and chair of the organising committee, said: “The people who have signed up are, by definition, those who can see past the immediate situation and realise the importance of meeting with other thought leaders in the sector in an effort to shape a way forward. The unique selling point of the symposium is the breadth of the industry represented on the delegate list – from facility operators and arts development through to heritage and sport – and the seniority of the people who will be in the room.” Bookings are still being taken using the form reached via the TLR events page.

UK Sport in the market for ideas
The annual search for inventions and innovations held by UK Sport is up and running with awards on offer in the “new researchers” category aimed at students and the “garage innovators” prize for men and women inventing away in their sheds, back rooms and, presumably, garages. To quote the release, “Ideas4Innovation is an award scheme aimed at harnessing exceptional research concepts and proposals which, given sufficient funding and support, could improve British athletes’ performances”. Since 2008 a total of £25,000 has been invested in bright ideas.

New Outcomes Framework for Culture and Sport
The final version of the Outcomes Framework for Culture and Sport has been launched on the Local Government Improvement and Development website. The web-based guidance aims to provide ‘at a glance’ tools and supporting evidence, along with step-by-step guides, to help leisure professionals create their own local outcomes framework. It is hoped that such frameworks will help culture and sport service providers demonstrate the difference their service makes to local people and communities, and the contribution it makes to local non-cultural or sporting priorities and outcomes. The piloting stage demonstrated that an outcomes framework can help communicate to decision-makers and service commissioners the value of culture and sport to individuals, communities and places. It can also strengthen collaborative working and partnerships, by demonstrating to other organisations the benefits of working with culture and sport providers. Full details of the Outcomes Framework for Culture and Sport can be found at www.local.gov.uk/improvementanddevelopment and Martyn Allison, national adviser for culture and sport at Local Government Improvement and Development, will be happy to answer any questions. He can be contacted via martyn.allison@local.gov.uk

Hamlet calling
Hot on the heels of an invitation to speak at the APSE seminar at Formby Golf Club on St Patrick’s Day, TLR’s managing editor Mick Owen has been offered an even more exotic gig, were that possible, delivering a keynote presentation to the Danish Institute for Sports Studies’ conference – “Idrættens største udfordringer - faciliteter, forening og forretning” – in Vejen in May. For those not blessed with the Danish, the theme translates as “The biggest challenges of the sports movement – facilities, voluntary sport clubs and commercial enterprises” and Owen promises his usual mix of hard-hitting comment, salacious gossip and soft-shoe shuffle to close.

GB Handball hit Loughborough
As part of their build-up to the London Olympics the Great Britain men’s handball team are to take on Turkey and Italy at Loughborough University in March. The squad will train at Loughborough between 7 and 12 March and play the international matches on the Friday evening and Saturday afternoon. The games will be a tough test for the squad, who are the minnows of world handball. Entry to all the games is just £2 on the door, while schools can get free tickets by prior arrangement.

Alliance beano is London-bound
The Sport and Recreation Alliance has announced the date of its 39th national conference. Snappily titled “The Coalition Government: are sport and recreation in danger of being relegated?”, the one-day event will take place on 4 May in London’s fashionable St Paul’s district and will debate “funding, localism and Big Society, and the Olympics and Paralympics one year out”. The alliance’s Sport Club of the Year Awards dinner will take place on the preceding evening with prizes being dished out in a range of club- and volunteer-related categories.

ISRM bouncing to oblivion
Despite putting up the ‘closing down’ signs, the Institute of Swimming and Recreation Management (ISRM) is clearly full of bounce with a recent newsletter announcing the name of their replacement (it’s the Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity if you missed it) and a raft of other news, including “the Transitional Board [of IMSPA] is now seeking 2 new trustees. And there are new member benefits – 4 new CPD online courses plus a timely information note on seasonal influenza”. Our advice is try not to get it; influenza that is, not the ISRM newsletter.

Harp ye back
Covent Garden pub The Harp has been awarded CAMRA’s ultimate accolade and been named the campaign’s national Pub of the Year. The Harp is the first London winner of the prestigious title and its owner, vaunted real ale pioneer Bridget Walsh, was justifiably proud of her achievement. “We are delighted to be named CAMRA's National Pub of the Year”, she said. “We pride ourselves on the range and quality of our real ale and to be London's first ever National Pub of the Year is a real honour.” As a mark of our commitment to the aims of the campaign for real ale, all members of The Leisure Review’s editorial team are expected to join the campaign and to assiduously support their work by enjoying – responsibly, of course – real ales and real pubs.

Tower Hamlet tonic from GLL
The London Borough of Tower Hamlets has launched a scheme to encourage residents to get active and stay healthy in partnership with facility operators GLL and the local NHS. Jump Start is a physical activity referral scheme (PARS) centring on GLL-run Whitechapel Leisure Centre which will see local health professionals refer patients with existing health conditions, such as coronary heart disease, stroke and asthma, as well as those at risk of developing health conditions, to attend tailor-made, low-cost, personal exercise programmes, including circuit training, aqua classes, healthy walks and gym-based sessions. Jamie Ross, acting corporate health manager for the Greenwich-based social enterprise, said: "GLL is experienced at providing similar programmes in other London boroughs and is very excited by this opportunity to provide the service in Tower Hamlets. We have helped many people to improve their health by participating in a physical activity programme."

World squash number one at Canary Wharf
Current squash world champion, Nick Matthew of Sheffield, will take to the court at the international ISS Canary Wharf Classic this month as he bids for back-to-back victories at the prestigious London event. Aged 29, Mathew is in the form of his life and is leading the British challenge on the world circuit where he is one of six Britons in the current men’s world top 20. The tournament will take place from 21-25 March on the spectacular glass show court at East Wintergarden, Canary Wharf.


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Monday 14 March
Will Hutton’s review of public sector pay notes that the comparison of local authority personnel earning more than the prime minister is otiose; Mr Cameron’s salary is actually equivalent to £580,000 with all the benefits and pension rights. The BBC is planning to save the Asian Network digital radio station. English Heritage has listed a derelict building on Cleveland Street in London as it may have served as a model for Dickens’s portrayal of the work house in Oliver Twist. Diabetes UK and the British Health Forum duck out of the government’s public health initiative in protest at drinks and food industry influence. In the west country the surprise is not that Bath City are hoping to recruit the local Polish population into their fan base with discounted tickets but that they charge thirteen quid in the first place. Having spent two years studying the way children play, a group of academics concludes that popular media inform rather destroy playground games. London 2012 tickets go on sale and Peter Keen, UK Sport’s performance director, reckons that GB will set new medal records. A clock in Trafalgar Square starts the ‘500 days to go’ countdown.

Tuesday 15 March
Bugger: the 2012 countdown clock in Trafalgar Square has stopped. Robert Redford is to bring the Sundance festival to the O2 in London and he takes the opportunity to say that governments should be supporting the arts rather than cutting funding. Web expertise agency Foolproof reckons that London 2012’s Visa-only payment policy is a bit of a flaw but that the ballot system is a good ’un.

Wednesday 16 March
The Office of National Statistics reckons that public sector jobs are being lost far faster than officially predicted. Kate and Wills have asked that the public respect the ‘no gifts’ policy at their wedding, which has saved embarrassment all round. More than 50% of Britons are not planning to take a two-week holiday over the summer, a 20% drop in the last five years. Gennady Yanin, director of the Bolshoi, resigns from his post after rather inappropriate photos of him appear on the internet; he claims a dirty tricks campaign. The FA actually applies its rules to Alex Ferguson, banishing him to the stands for five games after his criticism of referees. The Deloitte enquiry into the relationship between British Cycling and Team Sky has found no major problems but has made some recommendations regarding clarity of roles, responsibilities and financial accounting. David Howman, director general of the World Anti-doping Agency, reckons that criminal gangs now control “a significant proportion of world sport”.

Thursday 17 March
It’s ten years since the Eden Project opened. Björk is to headline the third Manchester festival this summer. Antony Gormley has prevented the Angel of the North being illuminated in green light to mark St Patrick’s Day. Five bankers at the bailed-out RBS share £20 million a year between them. In a definitive display of the meaning of “skin of the teeth” England’s cricket team qualifies for the world cup quarter-finals.

Friday 18 March
Research commissioned by the UK Film Council suggests that a majority of cinema-goers see films as reinforcing stereotypical images of older women, black and gay people. Custodial sentences for the Mears brothers, AKA the Lapland Two [see World of Leisure passim]. In Paris plans are unveiled to built a 27m-high Russian Orthodox church on the banks of the Seine. Part-time jockey Sam Waley-Cohen wins the Cheltenham Gold Cup on board Long Run. The IOC has ruled that the 20% of the Olympic surplus to which the British Olympic Association is entitled should be calculated on the total outfall from the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Saturday 19 March
No money for libraries but, it seems, plenty for aviation fuel: David Cameron gives the go-ahead on bombing raids on Libya. PR firm Freud Communications is paid half a million a year by the government to promote the Change4Life health programme but also has firms on its books that sell unhealthy foodstuffs; some people profess themselves shocked by the apparent conflict of interest. Portugal is planning to improve its balance of payments by staging a festival of performances to attract British tourists; musicals and concerts are on the schedule. Remember the fuss over Knut, the German tug-of-love (some say ‘tug-of-Euro’) polar bear cub? Sad to report that the bear has died rather suddenly in the Berlin zoo. Unsettled by criticism of the coaching qualifications of Martin Johnson outlined in an article in a recent issue of The Leisure Review, England’s rugby team fails to win the Grand Slam, getting thumped by Ireland.

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