Edition number 19; dateline 30 May 2008

Nottingham: a notional sports development seminar
Notwithstanding the recent unpleasantness with Messrs Sue, Grabbit and Runne, and despite being only about five minutes old, Oxford- and Manchester-based communications consultancy TLR Communications Limited have let it slip that they are considering reviving the ‘authentic sports development seminar’ and placing it in the traditional slot around Easter time. Asked “Why?”, a spokesman for the company said, “ We expect the hastily produced Sheffield-based event posited for September to stink the place out and feel very sure that our friends in sports development need and want an independently planned and professionally delivered annual seminar at which to collect, be challenged and reflect. For simplicity’s sake we expect to call it ‘Nottingham 2009’ and hope nobody claims they own the name of a city that’s been around since before the Vikings arrived. Or the year.”

Going fifth: Scotland’s very own national sports development seminar
And speaking of things conference, great news from Scotland that their fifth national sports development seminar is going ahead in a new venue and a new timeslot, managed by a new organising group. Aviemore will have the honour of hosting the 300-plus audience from across the sector with dates in mid-May 2009 now being confirmed. While some new faces have been drafted in to ensure the programme is both fresh and relevant, it is nice to hear that some of the key people are still in place, with Penny Lochhead and Stuart Younie ensuring that debate around the planning table remains “lively” and SportScotland once again acting like a proper national sports development agency and offering their support from the outset. Many – the editor and art editor of TLR amongst them –  will also have been pleased to note that First City Events, and in particular the very fragrant Joyce Lamond, will once again be bringing their unmatched organisational skills to the piece.

Cross-bordering in the name of all that is functional
While we’re in the Celtic fringe and with a nod to our front cover, we note that the Sports Council for Wales are promoting the benefits of swimming like it was going out of style. Not only is swimming “a fun and social activity”, it seems “it is also a life skill which can help everyone fully enjoy their time by the pool, at sea or down by a lake”. And its good for countering family dysfunction, improving the health of the nation and diverting young people from crime. And curing acne. But, as our favourite Welsh person, Nessa Jenkins, would say, “Fair play” to the Welsh Assembly who have really got down with the kids and said: “You can access your local leisure swimming pool for FREE during all school holidays.” Great idea, says Sidey, but the marketing needs work.

Engels with dirty faces
Consultants, development officers and even a few voluntary club administrators will be pleased to hear that Sport England has decided to return Sportsmatch to the public domain. This is the scheme that financially matches sports sponsorship and, in its new incarnation, individual donations to benefit “grassroots sport”. The announcement has caused glee at the back of the stands as the consultants among us look forward to finding complex and dubious ways round the rules to ensure that more money goes to those who already have it.

Hands raised for Clubmark
We are indebted to our friends at Merseyside Sport for letting us know that the Olympic-driven growth of handball and the Knight Kavanagh & Page-driven growth of Clubmark have serendipitously coincided with the first-ever award of the Sport England quality mark to a handball club: the stylishly titled Liverpool Hope Speke Garston Community Handball Club. The club is deservedly cheered by the accreditation and their chair, the suspiciously Danish-sounding John Jacobsen, was at pains to point out the benefits. “The importance to parents, players and new entrants to the sport of handball cannot be underestimated,” he said. “Training with a club that is nationally recognised for its high standards of quality, health and safety and integrity, with all coaches who are insured, CRB-checked and welcoming is vital to grow a successful club and to offer a safe environment in which to play sport. These are the benefits of Clubmark.” Bury-based consultancy KKP have done wonders since taking over the development of what was an ailing and increasingly discredited product and successes in even this most obscure of sports make one wonder if the rumour that Jennie Price is minded to hand over the job of kite-marking clubs to NGBs can be accurate. And finally, the work experience lad is fairly sure that if gymnastics can have GymMark and golf can have GolfMark then surely the handball equivalent would have to be called Handmark.


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