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GRASSROOTS The 2012 effect on


GRASSROOTS SPORT


Tim Lamb, CEO at the Sport and


Recreation Alliance, looks at how sports national governing bodies are making the most of the Olympic halo effect to inspire the nation into regular activity


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s the media commentary and public expectation builds towards the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic


Games, no word has been bandied about more than ‘legacy’. The question on ev- erybody’s lips however, is can the Games really deliver on its motto to ‘inspire a generation into physical activity’? This country has vowed to achieve what


no other Olympic host nation has managed to achieve before – to inspire hundreds of thousands of people to take part in physi- cal activity – not just on the odd occasion but regularly, for the rest of their lives. With the Academy of Medical Royal


Colleges announcing that 48 per cent of men and 43 per cent of women in the UK are in danger of being obese by 2030, it’s becoming obvious that this target is not just an aspiration – it’s a crucial necessity if we are to rescue the health of our nation.


Encouraging behavioural change Back in 2007, the Culture, Media and Sport Committee concluded that ‘no host country has yet been able to demon- strate a direct benefit from the Olympic


Games in the form of a lasting increase in participation’. So how will London 2012 break the mould? As the chief executive of the Sport and


Recreation Alliance – an organisation that speaks on behalf of 320 national governing bodies (NGBs), 150,000 clubs and eight million regular participants of sport and recreation in the UK – I can tell you that the organisations and clubs on


the ground have genuine concerns about whether the ‘2012 effect’ can really reach down to the grassroots. Our annual sports club survey told


us that 84 per cent of grassroots clubs do not see the Olympic and Paralympic Games as an opportunity. Add to this the fact that one in four of the UK’s clubs are in deficit, with an additional one in four working hard just to break even, and you could argue that the Olympic legacy is one of the last things on the mind of grassroots sport and recreation. Yet in spite of this, you only have to


look at the vast array of projects and initiatives being launched and delivered by local councils, NGBs, clubs and local communities up and down the country to know that our nation has been working hard to set the wheels of an Olympic leg- acy in motion. However, with all the will in the world, will government funding cuts and policy changes hold us back? Since London won the bid to host the


The Games should inspire young people 50 Read Sports Management online sportsmanagement.co.uk/digital


Games nearly seven years ago, govern- ment initiatives – such as getting one million more adults regularly taking part in sport and providing free swimming to


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