Edition number 57; dateline 12 December 2011

Glittering prizes for coaches of the year
The Sportscoach UK Coach of the Year Awards have been and gone without troubling the national papers but some of the winners seem worthy of note. Malcolm Arnold who has coached athletics at the highest level over decades was honoured with a lifetime achievement award as well as in his capacity and one quarter of Dai Greene’s coaching chain. Andy Flowers was given awards as high performance coach of the year and as coach of the year because his cricket team won the Ashes and became ranked number one in the world. Coach educator of the year went to netball’s Anita Navin from Northumbria University.

Coaching Insight "triumphs"
Late November and early December saw the last two Coaching Insights of the year in Winchester and York, with both hailed as triumphs by the people who organised them. Our own managing editor, who doubles as the coaching correspondent, Mick Owen, said, "At both seminars, organised in partnership with Sport Hampshire & IOW and North Yorkshire Sport respectively, the speakers were excellent and the audience responded in kind to produce lively and challenging debate. We hope to return to both counties and will announce the full Coaching Insight spring programme in the new year." We can at this time exclsuively reveal that Sport Nottinghamshire will certainly be hosting another seminar with speakers already booked for Thursday 29th March.

Fighting back in Shropshire
Sport England have muscled in on what cynics are calling the Afghan Factor by publicising a deal with the Ministry for War (sorry Defence), which will see the national sports centre at Lilleshall being used to rehabilitate service personnel injured “in the line of duty”. Probably best just to quote the media release, which says: “The centre will give those injured in the line of duty the confidence and self-esteem to get back into civilian life or return to active duty. Adaptive sport and adventurous training activities under the direction of world-class coaches, principally from the Carnegie Faculty at Leeds Metropolitan University, will be offered at Lilleshall’s state-of-the-art sporting facilities, where many of the country’s top athletes train.”

New galleries for old stuff
The Ashmolean Museum in Oxford has opened six new galleries for their collections of Ancient Egypt and Nubia which will take visitors on a chronological journey covering more than 5,000 years of human occupation of the Nile Valley. Building on the success of the museum’s extension, which opened in 2009, this second phase of major redevelopment redisplays the world-renowned Egyptian collections to exhibit objects that have been in storage for decades, more than doubling the number of mummies and coffins on display.

Gray builds on Doncaster successes
Building on the success of former school sport partnership Flying High, Active Fusion has been launched in Doncaster to provide sports coaching, education and training and to offer the town’s young people opportunities to learn, develop and reach their potential while being physically active. Lindsy Gray remains at the head of the project and, paying tribute to her team, told The Leisure Review: “I am privileged to have the job of partnership development manager for Active Fusion as I believe that what we provide makes a real difference to people.”

New water-based fitness qualification
The Institute of Swimming has launched the Level 2 Fitness Instructing Water-based Exercise (Aqua) qualification, which offers existing swimming teachers an opportunity to get qualified to teach aquatic fitness sessions. The new training programme is designed to transfer existing poolside skills to the teaching of aqua aerobics and other water fitness classes such as aqua jogging and aqua circuits. The qualification is also open to those without previous teaching experience. For full details visit the IoS website at www.swimming.org/ios


News in even briefer
The prime minister and minister for sport have both got behind a government initiative to get more school students more active using the Olympic Games as a hook to enthuse and inspire young people; but in Australia. The name of “York’s eagerly awaited visitor attraction focussing on the city's 150 year confectionery history”? Chocolate – York’s Sweet Story. British Gymnastics has launched a partnership with DC Leisure to recruit 3,000 children onto their BG proficiency scheme. Capita Symonds’ sport and leisure consulting team has been appointed to advise on the development of Cage Cricket, a new sport aimed at towns and cities across the UK. Loughborough University is looking for a duty manager for its facilities. The national plan for music education has been (finally) published. Createability, the development company specialising in the design and build of “bespoke leisure environments”, has received accreditation from the SAFEcontractor programme.


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DATE SET FOR SWIMATHON 2012: The world’s biggest fundraising swimming event is set to get bigger with British Swimming joining the BBC’s Big Splash, Marie Curie Cancer Care and Sport Relief to give thousands of swimmers the motivation and the opportunity to raise money for charity by swimming a mile or more as an individual or as a team. The date: 27 to 29 April.

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The national news from a cultural perspective

Thursday 6 January
The prime minister (still David Cameron) announces a government focus on ending a “health and safety culture”. A survey suggests that men worry about their body image more than women. The Scandinavian practice of ‘hutting’ – weekend retreats for city dwellers that involve little more than a simple hut – is catching on in Scotland. The National Maritime Museum will be holding an exhibition celebrating the river Thames and its royal connections. In Denver a woman is charged with attacking a work of art using only her buttocks as a weapon. Back in the UK one of the 50p coins celebrating London 2012 features an explanation of football’s offside law, an explanation which is deemed out of date by referees. Legendary photographer Eve Arnold dies at the age of 99.

Friday 7 January
Block C at Bletchley Park is listed Grade II. The resale of tickets for London 2012 comes a bit unstuck when the Ticketmaster website crashes. JD Sports is to buy Blacks Leisure. It seems Cav missed a scheduled drugs test in April because he was with the BBC on Mount Etna. Meanwhile Secretary Hunt makes no apology for spending £39 million on advertising the UK and its Olympic Games to countries around the world.

Saturday 8 January
Tessa Jowell says that the cuts to budgets for school sports threaten the Olympic legacy. A thinktank is suggesting that the working week in the UK be cut to 20 hours, while the Vermeer’s Women exhibition is bringing a record number of visitors to the Fitzwilliam in Cambridge. The RSC is to welcome amateur drama groups to Stratford this summer for expert help as part of the Open Stages initiative. Liverpool FC are now talking up their anti-racist credentials in the case of the fan on the Kop accused of abusing an Oldham player in a recent cup tie.

Sunday 9 January
Spielberg is in town for the premier of his film version of War Horse. Paul Deighton, chief exec of the Olympic Delivery Authority, reckons that many businesses across the UK have underestimated the potential impact of the London Games.


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