Edition number 92; dateline 20 September 2016

Tate begins the post-Serota era
The Tate's board of trustees has begun the process of finding a new director after announcing that Nicholas Serota is to step down from the post next year. He will take up the part-time role of chairman of the Arts Council on 1 February 2017 but continue in post at Tate for a little while after starting his Arts Council role. Tate’s chairman, Lord Browne, said: “We have been privileged to have in Nicholas Serota one of the world's greatest museum directors and a leader for the visual arts on a global stage. Under his leadership Tate has become a pre-eminent cultural organisation nationally and internationally and one of the most visited in the world. He has championed British art and artists throughout the world while at the same time ensuring that Tate has become a much loved, open and accessible institution for the public. He leaves Tate in a strong position on which to build for the future. We wish him well as he takes on new responsibilities which will be for the benefit of all the arts.”
• The Leisure Review visits the new Tate Modern

More water: a government plan for obesity
The government’s solution to childhood obesity seems to have been rather more dilute than many health experts had hoped. Published in the middle of August, the document, titled Childhood Obesity: A Plan for Action, outlines how childhood obesity will be reduced over the next 10 years. The main elements of the strategy will be “encouraging: industry to cut the amount of sugar in food and drinks [and] primary school children to eat more healthily and stay active” but it has fallen some way short of the radical action for which many health campaigners had hoped. While the plan includes a “soft drinks industry levy” and industry targets to reduce sugar content in products by 20%, Public Health England had also been urging a ban on price-cutting food promotions in supermarkets and restrictions on advertising unhealthy food to children. However, much of the government’s plan relies on voluntary agreements and initiatives, such asking schools to increase physical activity for pupils. Professor Graham MacGregor, chair of Action on Sugar and Consensus Action on Salt and Health, described the document as “an insulting response to the UK crisis in obesity and type 2 diabetes”. The British Medical Association lamented “what looks like a weak plan rather than the robust strategy it promised”, while the Association of Play Industries said it was “bitterly disappointed” that no policy action had been taken to improve opportunities and facilities for children to play and be physically active in their local communities.
• Childhood Obesity: A Plan for Action is available online via www.gov.uk/government/publications/

Constable to Salisbury via Aspire
Salisbury Cathedral from the Meadows 1831, one of Constable’s most celebrated paintings, has gone on display at the Salisbury Museum as part of Aspire, a national network of museums and galleries established to promote the study of John Constable and his works. The Salisbury Museum has developed a new exhibition, titled Constable in Context: Salisbury Cathedral from the Meadows in Perspective, that will make the painting the centrepiece of a range of images of Salisbury Cathedral through the ages. Aspire is a five-year partnership between Tate Britain, National Galleries of Scotland, National Museum Wales, the Salisbury Museum, and Colchester and Ipswich Museums Service, supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Art Fund, which will enable this work to go on almost constant view at these venues. Each partner will display the work in the context of their collection, alongside an inspiring programme of activities enabling audiences of all ages to enjoy and learn more about the work of John Constable.

Plaudits and exits for V&A
The Victoria and Albert Museum in London has been named the Art Fund’s museum of the year. Chair of the judges, Stephen Deuchar, said, “It was already one of the best-loved museums in the country. This year it has indisputably become one of the best museums in the world.” The V&A receives £100,000 as winner of the competition. This might have slightly softened the blow that came at the start of September with the announcement that the museum’s director, Martin Roth, is to resign and return to his native Germany. Roth’s decision was at least in part fuelled by the result of the UK’s Europe referendum, which he had previously described as feeling like a personal defeat. Speaking an interview with German broadcaster DW, Roth said, “Europe always gave hope for a peaceful future, based on sharing, solidarity and tolerance. Dropping out means creating cultural barriers and that worries me.”

First cultural trial at ICC
In August Ahmad al-Mahdi became the first person to be tried at the international criminal court (ICC) on a charge of destroying cultural heritage. Mahdi is accused of destroying religious monuments in the ancient city of Timbuktu and will also be recorded as the first defendant at an ICC war crimes trial to plead guilty to the charges made against him.

Sites down, charges up, says swimming survey
More swimming pools closed than opened over the last year, according to the 2016 State of the UK Swimming Industry Report. The number of swimming sites in the UK decreased by 1% in the 12 months to March 2016, making a total of 3,229 pools. The research upon which the report is based found that that 84% of the UK population lives within 2 miles of a public or privately owned swimming pool with some public access. Fees to swim for those choosing to “pay and play” were found to have increased by 3%. The report is published by the Leisure Database Company.

Pilots and partnerships for STA
STA is piloting a new baby and pre-school swimming programme developed on behalf of Center Parcs. The programme is aimed at 3 months to 4 year-olds and has been designed specifically for short-break guests wanting to take part in a structured swimming programme. Led by STA-trained staff, children will be taught key water skills through play and a series of games, all of which can be enjoyed as part of a family group. The scheme is being introduced at Center Parcs Sherwood Forest and Whinfell Forest this September. STA has also launched a new Level 3 diploma in aquatic teaching – baby and pre-school in partnership with Birthlight.


Briefer yet...


West Lindsey District Council has commissioned the Sport, Leisure and Culture Consultancy  to provide support for the procurement of a long-term partner to operate its leisure facilities.

The Future of Sport Conference will be held at the University of Worcester on Thursday 27 October. The theme of the event is sponsorship and crowdfunding.

STA has been appointed an official reseller of YMCA Awards’ e-learning portfolio, which will enable members to access a new suite of interactive online CPD courses and eBooks at a discounted price.

Quest has announced a new award for sports development, titled Quest Sport for Development, which has been developed in association with research and technology company Substance.

Still time to register for Saltex, which is being held 2-3 November at the NEC Birmingham.

LeisureDB has published the Social Media Fitness Index Q2 2016 Report, which reveals that low-cost private brands are continuing to excel on social media. Xercise4Less have topped the overall ranking this quarter ahead of second placed Pure Gym.

British Military Fitness has announced a new partnership with the Exercise Movement and Dance Partnership (EMDP) for 2016. They will be working together to get more people to take up group exercise via outdoor fitness sessions taken into workplaces in London.

Gladstone has released Gladstone360, a new software application is mobile-responsive and fully customisable. According to Tom Withers, Gladstone’s MD, this is “genuinely game-changing”.





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Newcastle City Council have granted planning permission to the £5 million scheme to refurbish and renew the Newcastle City Pool and Turkish Baths. The new venue is scheduled to open in early 2018.

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