Edition number 60; dateline 5 April 2012

Sports volunteering in a European context
A major conference involving 375 decision-makers and experts from a number of EU member states has concluded that “‘Sport for all’ has the potential to play a significant role as a dynamo in a number of societal areas that go beyond sport in a narrow sense”. The SportVision2012 conference, hosted by the Danish EU presidency, sought to place the potential of and challenges for sport for all on the European agenda and the key messages and recommendations from the conference were published as the conference ended. One of the messages was that voluntary work constitutes a cornerstone in sport for all, and that there is a need for recognising and supporting volunteers, removing barriers and rules that create obstacles to volunteers’ efforts, and emphasising the economic significance of volunteering.

SRA to the rescue on playing fields planning
The government has listened to calls from the Sport and Recreation Alliance for areas of the draft national planning policy framework to be reworded and sport and recreation facilities will now be better protected from builders and developers. The changes urged by the SRA on behalf of a broad coalition of sporting bodies will ameliorate the “risk [of] significantly weakening the protection of open spaces and recreational facilities, including playing fields” which was inherent in the original plan which “would have allowed developers to build on playing fields if the ‘benefits outweighed the loss’.”
The changes proposed mean that the default position will be to protect valuable sports facilities and playing fields, as developers must provide an alternative facility if the decision is taken to build on an existing one.

New faces at software house
Gladstone Health and Leisure have added two new names to their roster with Ian McGregor taking up the role of regional sales manager for the north of England and Kenny Campbell doing the same job for Scotland and Northern Ireland. McGregor has been in the sport and fitness industry all his working life but Campbell’s background is in sales. A keen cyclist and ice hockey player, he explains the move into a new sector: “I have years of experience selling software, and sports and health and fitness is what I do in my spare time, so I put the two together in a Google search and came up with Gladstone.”

Olympic Park poetry building on Eton Manor foundations
The poet laureate, Carol Ann Duffy, performed the first reading of a specially commissioned poem, Eton Manor, to members of a sports club founded more than 100 years ago that now lies beneath what is now the Olympic Park. Duffy was asked to write a poem as part of the Olympic Delivery Authority’s Art in the Park programme to capture the spirit of the venue’s previous existence as the Eton Manor Boy’s Club and the poem that resulted was read for the first time to a specially invited audience of Eton Manor Association members at Eton Manor Rugby Football Club. The final stanza speaks of legacy, although what the founders of Eton Manor Boy’s Club would have made of it we can only speculate: “This is legacy –/young lives respected, cherished, valued, helped/ to sprint, swim, bowl, box, play, excel, belong;/ believe community is self in multitude-/ the way past still dedicates to us/ its distant, present light.”

Refurb for volunteer-run centre
Tadcaster Community Swimming Pool, which is run by Tadcaster Swimming Pool Trust, has undertaken a refurbishment of its facilities in a bid to develop its membership based. Run largely by volunteers with a small core of paid staff, the centre has two swimming pools and a fitness suite. It boasts some 800 active members, ranging in age from 11 to 82. Fitness manager at the trust, Darren Brown, “We had noticed that attendance figures for our fitness suite had started to drop off and the old equipment was starting to show its age, so we decided to give the entire centre a good wash and brush up. This included all new fitness stations, additional lighting in the changing rooms and new shower cubicles, as well as repainting the barn area that houses our main reception, social area and gym.”

Bateman honoured by Cartoon Museum
The Cartoon Museum in London is to host an exhibition of the works of H. M. Bateman, widely acknowledged as the first modern master of twentieth-century British cartooning. Best remembered as the creator of ‘The Man Who…’ drawings of social faux pas and a master of the story without words, he was also an acute observer of British society from the Edwardian era through to the 1930s. The exhibition, titled The Man Who Went Mad on Paper, shows over 120 original cartoons including his witty observations of suburban, sporting, working and theatrical types. During the First World War he created the landmark sequence The Boy Who Breathed on the Glass in the British Museum, which is being lent by the British Museum itself. Also included in the exhibition is his tour de force The One-Note Man, which inspired a scene in Alfred Hitchcock’s 1934 film The Man Who Knew Too Much.


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BIG SPLASH MAKES A BIG SPLASH: Although nearly three million people take the plunge every week, making swimming the biggest participation sport in the UK, British Swimming and the BBC are working together to inspire more of the nation into the pool through a celebration of swimming called the Big Splash. The campaign is aimed at children and adults who may be thinking about learning to swim or perhaps just need a little encouragement to swim more often. Leisure centres and pools are supporting the campaign with activities and offers such as free taster session and discounted swims and lessons. The scheme is designed to encourage more regular swimming and provides pool operators with the opportunity to convert casual swimmers into members and over 1,200 pools and leisure centres are already signed up.
the world of leisure
The national news from a cultural perspective

Wednesday 4 April
Hmmm. It seems that Amazon pays no UK corporation tax on annual sales of £7 billion. It also seems that the late and largely unlamented Edward VIII was among the pioneers of surfing, having had lessons in Waikiki in 1920. Edinburgh zoo’s pandas confirm suspicions that they are just too fat and lazy to escape the demands of evolution; they have failed to get it on during the three-day fertility window and will sit on their arses eating until next year. In Blackpool freak weather conditions (ie wind and rain; how freakish is that?) mar the first official passenger journeys of the new tram system. Greg Searle makes the GB Olympic rowing team at the age of 40, while the first day of the track cycling world championships in Melbourne sees the GB boys beat Australia in the 4,000m pursuit with a world record. Some of the players in the Women’s Super League, the English football competition that kicks off next week, will be wearing their Twitter account names on their sleeves to generate some traffic. And still in the realm of women in sport, the chairman of Augusta National says that there are no plans to permit women to be members of the golf club that host the Masters, although he does at least look embarrassed as he says it.

Thursday 5 April
The power of poetry to excite and enrage is evidenced by reaction to Gunter Grass’s poem that takes issue with Israel’s nuclear arsenal. The UN is to protect the site of the Titanic wreck from “tourists”. The British Library has bought the draft score of Britten’s The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra and the Gargosian Gallery in London is to exhibit nine Henry Moore sculptures indoors, something of a rarity for Moore’s work. Rangers’ administrators say the club’s debts may reach £134 million and in Melbourne the women’s pursuit team matches the men’s team in all respects: beating the Aussies with a world record. Jim Marshall, eponymous creator of the famous amplifier, dies at the age of 88.

Friday 6 April
Damon Albarn says Blur’s Olympic gig in Hyde Park will be the band’s last outing. Equity launches a campaign to persuade gay actors that being open about their sexuality need not adversely affect their careers. Kipper sales are up. On the Melbourne boards Victoria Pendleton gets up off the floor to win her sixth world title.

Saturday 7 April
The Boat Race is livened up by the addition of a lone swimmer in the Thames. The chancellor is shocked – shocked – to learn how little the super-rich pay in taxes and is facing a campaign
from arts organisations to reverse the cap on the tax relief available on charitable donations, a change that is claimed to be threatening tens of millions of pounds in donations to cultural organisations. The Globe’s invitation to an Israeli theatre company to perform in London has created protests and counter-protests among theatrical types, and the Courtauld Institute in London is set to become a world centre for the study of Buddhist art following a gift from a Hong Kong philanthropist, Robert YC Ho. In Melbourne Laura Trott follows her rainbow jersey in the team pursuit with the world title for the omnium, cycling’s equivalent of the heptathlon, and in Sri Lanka England’s cricketers finally win a Test match.


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