Edition number 8; dateline 26 October 2007

Grants available but the deadline approaches
Row Z’s community correspondent sends news that colleagues in sport, arts and, well, community settings would do well to consider – as long as they work in England that is. Two easily accessed grant schemes, it transpires, are coming to an end and  rather than give the money back to ‘government’, distribution agencies are becoming slightly less stringent than has formerly been the case. We speak, of course, of the Local Network Fund, aimed at disadvantaged young people, and the Community Champions Fund, which upskills individual volunteers and provides the groups they represent with the hardware necessary to deliver specific projects like doing up allotments and researching local archaeology. In some parts of fair Albion only weeks remain for application but fortune awaits the swift. Check your local CVS website or just Google each fund’s title.

Community sport: the new secret service
Unfortunately our coaching correspondent has also unearthed a shamelessly Anglo-centric story. She had cause to spend an evening with a dozen tracksuited colleagues at a Sportscoach UK workshop deep in the hinterland of Manchester this week. The tutor flashed up a slide with the acronyms NGB and CSP on it. The audience looked nonplussed, we are told. And while some 80% of those present clearly unravelled the former (and for grounds maintenance and arts-based readers it stands for ‘national governing body’) only one person, a youngster with designs on a career in sports development (bless!), had any sort of clue what a county sports partnership was or did. When the tutor finally identified ‘their’ CSP as Greatersport, one of the first to be created and therefore with the greatest opportunity to ‘build the brand’, only three of the coaches even recognised the name. Of course, one could hardly call this a representative sample. However, given that some of the people in the room delivered coaching professionally and almost all them volunteered beyond coaching, we find ourselves once again wondering if ISPAL’s Val Stevenson is right to call the CSP adventure “a job creation scheme for sports development professionals”.

Cuts on the Cut
As Sideliner gracefully approaches ‘middle age’, our leader is as likely to gongoozle as to spectate at any other leisure pursuit. Gongoozlers, of course, are the people who enjoy watching narrowboats navigating the hazards presented by the British canal network. The picture of serenity conjured up by the very word ‘boating’ has latterly been shattered, however, by a slew of budget cuts, including 180 axed jobs at British Waterways, appointed guardians of the 2,200 miles of “the Cut”. According to the Daily Telegraph, an organ we at Row Z revere, “The cutbacks were necessitated by Defra having to cut £200 million from its budget because of the costs of paying farmers their single farm payments and overspending on bird flu preparations and flood defence.” Quite how these cuts marry up with John Prescott’s vision of the canals of Manchester as “major engines of urban regeneration” and Tesco’s announcement that their pursuit of green credentials has led them to ship all their bulk wine by barge has yet to be explained. When Sidey gets back from the towpath we will doubtless align this column with the inevitable campaign.

A tearful return from across La Manche
In the end we all knew that the destination of the William Webb Ellis trophy would be determined by an error and that the southern hemisphere as a unit was eyeballs-out to ensure that the goldware went home with one of them. And so it was that a piece of momentum-sapping indecision by an Australian video referee stopped England playing long enough for his Tri-nations colleagues to regroup and the grumpy old men, ably supported by a slew of wonderfully promising youngsters, just failed to make the 2007 rugby world cup the single most surprising sporting event ever to grace ITV’s screens. Because, let’s be honest, for almost every one of us jamborees like the world cup are delivered almost exclusively by the magical combination of the cathode ray tube and Jim Rosenthal. Row Z’s top three televisual moments from a couch potato’s perspective in, as Tess Daly would say, no particular order: Will Greenwood’s emergence as a talking head with attitude and his “your boys took a hell of a beating” moment; Sebastian Chabal, beloved of this column, leading his garçons in a game-winning response to the Haka; and the Jim Telfer sound-alike Guinness adverts, which showed that even marketing men can justify their existence now and again.


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