British Olympian Anna Hemmings gave an inspirational talk at the launch of the Swindon Sports Council on 5 February which saw £10,000 in grant aid presented to local sports organisations and £500 each to two promising individuals – Evie Reynolds and Kaya Gould.
The formation of the Sports’ Council comes after three years work as a sports forum to draw together people involved in all aspects of sport delivery and development in the town.
Anna, a canoeist at the Beijing Olympics, said Swindon was establishing an important link between participants and organisers of sports at a local, regional and national level. “Sports’ councils have such a huge impact on the grassroots, in terms of recognition, encouragement and funding support. The volunteers who ran local organisations when I was young and first starting out were so important in helping me achieve my goals.”
Some 50 sports clubs, colleges, schools and teachers, voluntary and business organisations form the Swindon Sports’ Council, which is autonomous of the borough council, and will meet twice a year to share information, ideas and concerns. It will also be closely involved in the development of sports’ programmes, and development of new sports’ clubs and coaching provision.
The Sports Forum received a National Lottery Awards for All grant worth just over £6,0000 in mid 2008 to deliver a range of club development initiatives – training sessions for club personnel, an accreditation system for clubs, proving their are operating in a safe and effective way and develop a website promoting the work of local sports clubs.
In addition the Sports Forum were successful in receiving a £20,000 share of the Swindon Town FC and Swindon Borough Council Community Initiatives Fund, which they have decided to distribute to local clubs and individuals. This grant funding programme is likely to continue for the next 3 to 4 years.
Councillor Nick Martin, Swindon Borough Council Cabinet Member for Property, Leisure and Recreation, said, “Swindon has a thriving sporting community and the Sports Forum, which represents dozens of sports clubs across the Borough, demonstrates this level of enthusiasm and commitment.
"From ice hockey to gymnastics, table tennis to badminton, cricket to croquet – the aim is to embrace and support as many different local clubs as possible. The Sports Forum is really going from strength to strength and I am delighted with its progress. This bears testimony to the hard work of Council officers and the Sports Forum chair Ian Jankinson, vice chair Geoff Halls and treasurer Colin Arch.
"We will build on this success to help encourage people to be more active, more often – participating in sports which not only improve fitness but are also great fun. ”
Pictured, above: Anna with tennis player Evie Reynolds and Kaya Gould who received grants to help with their training and travelling costs. Evie, 11, from Freshbrook, attends Wootton Bassett School. The Delta Tennis Centre player is one of the Wiltshire under 12s squad. Kaya, 1, from Park South, attends Churchfields and trains with the Esprit Gymnastic Club. She was becoming a champion dancer until she discovered gymnastics and is aiming for the Olympics.
Below: the Swindon Sports' Council management committee
For details call Rob Allen on 07986 264775.