Olympic Legacy Poll Revealing

Posted: Sat, 20 Oct 2012 10:05

We have become obsessed by the word 'Legacy' since the end of the Olympics and Paralympics. Here at the Think Tank we are aware of the wide range number of initiatives that make up our attempts to create that legacy and over the coming months we hope to showcase some of the best projects so that we can replicate them across the country.

However, the poll released today by the Sport & Recreation Alliance shows just how much work there is to do match the policy headlines with the experience on the ground.

I attach the polling figures and the copy of the press release to further discussion this week. Please feel free to comment and let's build up our own solutions. We proved during the Olympics a new found optimism. If we get this right we can show the same enthusiasm in the next period. But it requires us all to pull together. Cynicism up to a point is ok - but hopefully we won't allow it to corrode the great games. But it needs policy makers to recognise the reality revealed in this poll.

A survey carried out by the Sport and Recreation Alliance to capture opinion on the Olympic legacy only months on from the end of the Games reveals that three quarters of sports clubs feel the government isn't doing enough to help them inspire a generation to take up sport.

The snapshot survey results also show that:

  • 8 in 10 (82%) clubs are expecting more people to take part in sport and physical activity in the next year as a direct result of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games but less than half (42%) expect to see more funding being made available for grassroots clubs.
  • Lack of funding for sports clubs is preventing 3 in 5 clubs (59%) from growing their membership whilst increased running costs are holding back the growth of almost the same amount again (54%). Similarly, half (51%) can't grow their membership because of a lack of affordable venues/facilities.
  • 2 in 5 clubs (42%) have seen an increase in the number of people joining their club since the Games this year but a quarter (26%) of these clubs are struggling to meet this demand.
  • Sports clubs providing Olympic sports are more likely to have noticed an increase in the number of people joining with an average of 7 in 10 (69%) stating this. 43% of these clubs struggled to meet the increase in demand.
  • 63% of club respondents have links with schools: two thirds of these (65%) have links with more than one school. In the majority of cases there has been no change in these links following the Games.

When asked what the Government could be doing more of to help community sport create a legacy of participation, around half of clubs cited facilities, schools and red tape as key issues.

Respondents also described how lack of funding is preventing 3 in 5 clubs (59%) from growing their membership whilst increased running costs are holding back the growth of almost the
same amount again (54%).

Similarly, half (51%) can't grow their membership because of a lack of affordable venues/facilities.

Emma Back, volunteer at multi-sports club Winchester Fit for the Future said:

"We have insufficient sports infrastructure in our area – facilities are patchy and fragmented and none meet competition standards for swimming or for court sports.

"The community has grabbed the bull by the horns and is developing its own proposals for a community sports and leisure centre through volunteer input, but we need local institutions to take responsibility and invest for the future.

"I think people are exhausted and need support – moral, technical and financial. Overworked volunteers and coaches and club committees are of course delighted with all the post-Olympic and Paralympics interest, but are also under even more pressure because of it.

"One head coach I know looked as if she was about to have a nervous breakdown before she finally went on holiday at the end of September, as it was so difficult and stressful trying to accommodate all the newly interested children wanting to take part in her club's training."

Kirsty Garrett, a volunteer at Sutton Churches Tennis Club said:

"This year we ran 12 free tennis courses for young people but getting the information into schools was shocking. I can use council links and friends as a way in but whether or not that actually reaches parents and children is a different thing.

"Generally, it doesn't go any further than a head teacher or PE coordinator's desk which means I end up running free courses that are not as full – as the children don't even know they are happening.

"There must be more links between schools and clubs. We have done everything we can to get the word into schools but it is very hard."

Jill Coathup, a volunteer at Worcester Gymnastics Club in the West Midlands said that whilst her club had experienced an increase in demand they were experiencing problems with volunteers, funding and red tape. She said:

"CRB's are a problem in that you have to have a check for virtually every different environment which you walk into, which is crazy and could be sorted.

"Funding is so difficult to obtain, and if you do not know the buzz words to use you have no chance of receiving it. Applying for grants is also very time consuming, something most of us don't have as we are busy trying to run the club."

Andy Reed, chair of the Sport and Recreation Alliance said: "These poll results, so soon after such an amazingly successful Olympic and Paralympic Games, are a reminder that we must not let this opportunity to inspire more people to take up sport slip through our fingers.

"The key message we can take from this poll is that many sports clubs – who are playing a vital role in this endeavour to succeed on the legacy promise – are crying out for better school links, greater access to quality and affordable facilities and the removal of pointless red tape. All of these things are acting as a barrier to increasing club membership.

"The last thing that we want to be is negative, but we do think it's time for politicians to be more creative and pro-active about how we deal with these issues.

"We are living in challenging times but that's all the more reason to think hard and smart about how we deliver sport and physical activity across the UK in the long-term, over the next twenty years."

Tags: London 2012, Legacy, Sportand Recreation Alliance


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