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2012 Cumbria School Games launch with Gymnastics Extravaganza

March 28, 2012

Today saw the launch of the Cumbria School Games with the first of three events in the county during 2012.

Hundreds of young gymnasts came together to take part in the Cumbria Key Steps Gymnastics Finals at Penrith Leisure Centre to mark the launch of the 2012 Cumbria School Games. The School Games is a new approach to competitive school sport, using the inspiration of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games to help transform competitive sport in schools and get more young people playing sport. The School Games is a key government priority for realising a meaningful sporting legacy from the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Richard Johnston, Active Cumbria's Partnership Manager said;

"The Cumbria School Games is based on the successful foundations of the Cumbria Youth Games and Cumbria Schoolympics events which have been held in the county over the past 12 years.  Active Cumbria, the Sport and Physical Activity Partnership have enjoyed planning such rewarding events and we are really looking forward to this now being part of a national programme. Active Cumbria are delighted to be working with the local organising committee, school games organisers and supporting partners to ensure an even bigger and better Games event for the young people of Cumbria."

The Cumbria local organising committee (LOC) is one of 46 that have been established across the country, who will be responsible for organising and delivering the county festivals. The committee is made up of representatives from local schools, Active Cumbria the county sports partnership, and other national and local sports providers. The Cumbria LOC which was established late last year and are in the midst of planning the delivery of all three Cumbria School Games County festivals for 2012.

David Keetley, Headteacher of Kirkby Stephen Grammar School, and Chair of the Cumbria School Games Local Organising Committee said:

"Our main role is to arrange a high quality festival of sport in Cumbria. Our ambition is to make this an annual event which will inspire and motivate both competitors and volunteers, and will incorporate a wide range of sports and other skills from the arts and media in order to make the event as pupil-focussed as possible. This is not just a one-off event, linked to the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games; this is a culmination of competition that will be fully inclusive and involve pupils from primary, secondary, special and independent schools that will become an established feature of the Cumbrian sporting and cultural landscape in future years."

This year, participation under the Cumbria School Games banner brings welcome additional sponsorship from the Cumberland Building Society. The Cumberland Building Society has supported the multisport county finals events for over 7 years, known previously as the Cumbria Youth Games and more recently the Cumbria Schoolympics.

Phillip Ward, Cumberland Building Society, Marketing Manager, said:

"Cumberland Building Society is delighted to be supporting the 2012 Cumbria School Games. The Games will provide a fantastic opportunity for Cumbrian school children to focus their interest in their chosen sport and introduce new sporting events to the sporting calendar of Cumbria. Who knows, perhaps a future British Olympian will take their first competitive steps at one of the County Festivals this year."

The Cumbria Foundation NHS Partnership Trust is also supporting the Cumbria School Games as a key partner through links with their 'life is a rollercoaster' campaign. Stephen Dalton, Chief Executive of the Trust said;

"We are very proud to be supporting this year's School Games in Cumbria.  Encouraging children to take part in physical activity at a variety of different levels is one of the most important things we can do as a community for young people's physical and mental wellbeing.  Opportunities for physical activity are an important part in ensuring young people live healthy and happy lives and the School Games are a fantastic celebration for young people participating in sporting activities in Cumbria"

The Key Step Gymnastics programme has now been running in Cumbrian primary schools for seven years. The first county final was introduced in 2007 and now in 2012 is being recognised as part of the new Cumbria Schools Games framework. Howard Todd of Cumbria Schools Gymnastics Association said:

"As organiser of the event I am grateful for the support from local sponsors at a time when funding for lower level sports participation is proving difficult to source. It is also particularly pleasing to report that a competition that originated here in Cumbria has now been adopted by British Gymnastics as the recommended programme for use in primary schools throughout the United Kingdom."

The Key Steps Gymnastics competition is for primary school teams that were successful in their respective competitions in the six districts earlier in the spring term. Around 1,800 children 6-11 years old have already been involved in local competitions leading up to today. This is a measure of the popularity of beginner gymnastics competitions in Cumbrian primary schools. It is also a measure of the hard work of the local school games organisers and community gymnastics programme county-wide. For many performers this is their first step on the competition ladder.

All over Cumbria hundreds of young athletes will have the chance to come together and take part in a further two events as part of the Cumbria School Games. The three Cumbria School Games County Festivals will involve children from all six districts in Cumbria. Approximately 1,500 young people from primary, secondary and special schools will competed in 12 different sports, including 5 inclusive sports at the three events in 2012. The largest of the three events will take place on the 27th June in Carlisle and a smaller event on the 4th July will see the County Year 7 Athletics finals take place in Copeland. The events will also be supported by more than 150 student volunteers, who will form 'The School Games Crew' helping run and promote the event.  

cumbria school games logo

There will be three level 3 events as part of Cumbria School Games 2012.

• Teams from all six districts in Cumbria will compete.
• X 1,500 young people from primary, secondary and special schools
• X 12 different sports, including 5 inclusive sports
• X 150 student volunteers who will form 'The School Games Crew' 50% of the event workforce will be Young people.
• Main Multisport Festival - 27th June Carlisle, Sheepmount, Sands Centre, Carlisle Cricket Club, Bitts Park, Rickerby Park. Opening & Closing Ceremonies at Sheepmount Stadium.
• Sub Events
o 29th March Cumbria Key Steps Gymnastics Finals Penrith
o 4th July County Yr 7 Athletics finals Whitehaven Stadium

For further information on the School Games go to