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One year on: The Olympic legacy in Cumbria

July 26, 2013

In celebration of the of the one year on from the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games the legacy can be felt all over Cumbria through various programmes and initiatives. Active Cumbria, The Sport and Physical Activity Partnership are one of 49 County Sports Partnership’s across the country working with Sport England to increase participation in sport.

More people in Cumbria playing sport

Sport England revealed last month that 15.3 million people are now playing sport at least once a week, with “good progress among young people”.

The Active People Survey 7 results also show that this is true in Cumbria.  At a local level, 31% of the adult population were playing sport at least once to week when the Olympic bid was won in 2005 this has steadily increased to 34.1% as the latest Active People Survey results show. Barrow and South Lakeland’s participation figures show a positive increase in the number of people doing sport with a 6% increase in Barrow and a 5.6% increase in South Lakeland since 2005.

More young people playing sport

Cyclist Jason Kenny has today celebrated his double gold medal win at London 2012 once again on the anniversary of the Olympic Games by celebrating the success of the legacy programme Sportivate. Sportivate has helped more than a quarter of a million young people to get involved in sport.  Jason said;

“I stumbled into cycling and fell in love with the sport instantly. Not everybody has had the opportunities that I have had but this is what is so great about Sportivate - it offers young people the chance to try new sports with the support of fantastic coaches. I would encourage all young people to get out there and find a sport they enjoy.”

New figures published by Sport England, show that more than 250,000 teenagers and young adults have benefitted from free or discounted six-to-eight week sports courses in 70 different sports through Sportivate. Backed by National Lottery funding, the Olympic legacy programme Sportivate aims to give young people who currently aren’t playing sport in their own time the chance to find a sport they like.  Sport England is investing £10 million a year of National Lottery funding in Sportivate between April 2013 and March 2017.

Sportivate is delivered by Active Cumbria working in partnership with local delivery partners in the county. In Cumbria, 3,807 young people aged 14-25 have been engaged in the legacy programme and took part in Sportivate sessions with nearly 22,000 ongoing attendances across the county.

The programme has been such a huge success for sport in Cumbria that last year one Cumbrian project was named ‘Best in the Northwest’. The CanDance project created inclusive dance opportunities for young disabled people to get more active. The project has gone on to be nominated for a National Lottery Award.  Lynn Fade, Project Organiser said:

"We wanted to make dance available to young people who face the most barriers to participation. Dance is the perfect activity because it's non-competitive, sociable, and other people can see the result of your efforts. Everyone involved in the CanDance project has really worked hard and enjoyed themselves."

The Cumberland FA’s ‘Ability Counts’ project is another opportunity support by the Sportivate programme creating regular disability football provision in Cumbria.  Jess Lawson, Disability Football Development Officer at Cumberland FA said:

“The sustained participation from this initial Sportivate project has surpassed all expectations. The Sportivate sessions supported the development of three Ability Counts Teams who went on to participate in the Carlisle United Ability Counts League and helped towards the development of two Just Play Centres in Cumbria.”

Rejuvenated sporting competition in schools

The Sainsbury’s School Games is an exciting, fully inclusive competition for school children in England. It was developed using the inspiration of London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games to help rejuvenate sporting competition in schools. Many thousands of young people took part in School Games Festivals in the North West during 2012 with even more opportunities for young people to compete again this year.

In Cumbria, there were four county finals involving nearly 1500 participants. Each district was represented by a team from schools who qualified through Intra and Inter school competitions led by local School Games Organisers. A small army of 150 young leaders and volunteers were involved in making each county final event a success by taking on various roles from officiating and judging to tweeting and branding. The skills of young people were utilized to maximum effect with young reporters producing live coverage from the event working with media partners CFM Radio. David Keetley, Chair of the Local Organising Committee said;

“These events were a resounding success. The smiles on the children’s faces, the fantastic support and excellent comments from the invited guests showed why it is so important to stage this event for young people as part of the Olympic legacy.”

Supporting future Cumbrian Olympic athletes

The number of Cumbrian Olympic hopefuls receiving local grant funding this year has been increased due to demand. Seven Performance Fund grants from the Cumbria Talented Athlete Fund have been awarded to athletes across the county who are performing at the top levels of their sport.

The Cumbria Talented Athlete Fund was created as part of the sporting legacy of London 2012 in Cumbria to support local talented athletes. The fund is supported by Cumbria County Council and Active Cumbria. So far the Fund had supported 146 athletes in total from two elements of the fund.  22 awarded grants of £500 from the ‘Performance’ element of the fund equating to £11,000. The fund has also given 124 award grants of £250 from the ‘Potential’ element of the fund for up and coming athletes, equating to £31,000. In total, £42,000 worth of grants have been given to date.

The recipients who have been supported this year from the ‘Performance’ element of the fund are:

  • Nick Miller of Carlisle  a talented athlete in Hammer.
  • Tom Farrell of Carlisle a talented athlete in Athletics.
  • Lisa Suttle of Keswick a talented athlete in Sprint Canoe
  • Bethan Lishman of Cockermouth is a talented athlete in Hammer.
  • Simon Lawson of Maryport is a talented athlete in Wheelchair Racing.
  • Colette Doran of Carlisle  a talented athlete in Athletics/Javelin.
  • Lee Doran of Carlisle a talented athlete in Javelin.

After an exceptional run of achievements in his sport of Hammer, Nick Miller is currently ranked 11th in the world at under 23 level and number 2 in his year. Nick is aiming for the qualifying mark of 72.50m for the Commonwealth Games and aiming to win at the Under 23 European Championship in 2014 with sights also set on a Team GB place for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. Nick used his funding on transport to enable him to access training more often and new kit including a new competition hammer and wires. Nick said;

“The financial support I have received from the fund has enabled me to continue a strict training regime. Without independent transport I would not be able to do this do to the kit I need to carry with me.”

Simon Lawson has had a great 2013. Amongst all of Simon’s achievements including winning Bupa Great Manchester 10k the highlight of a great season so far was in the Swiss Marathon in June, where he set his my personal best marathon time of 1hour 34minutes and 3 seconds (1:34:03)  and achieving the A standard time and world championship qualifying time which stood at 1:35:00. After taking part in the Middleborough 10k Simon will be looking at his training and preparation for the Great North Run on the 8th September. Simon said;

“The grant has really helped me a lot this year. I've traveled to Portugal and Switzerland racing so far this season which is expensive, plus all my equipment I have to buy adds up. My new race chair cost £3500 so the financial support from the fund is a huge help! Big thanks to the Cumbria Talented Athlete Fund!”

Colette Doran has had a great season so far in Javelin. During the winter period she had a session with the national squad training with Essa Utriainen of Finland in Loughborough. Colette's British Record is 39m25 and so far this season she has threw 39m24 just 1cm off her record. As the nation celebrates one year on from the London 2012 Games Colette will be competing at the Deaflympics in Sofia. Colette said;

“The grant I received has been a great help, it's helped me to travel all over the UK to competitions and attend training camps in Loughborough without the grant I would not of been able to do that.”

Bethan Lishman is also competing at the Deaf Olympics in Sofia, Bulgaria and has the honour of travelling with the Great Britain athletics team as their captain. The Talented Athlete grant helped Bethan purchased a new hammer and throwing shoes it also contributed to extra coaching sessions with her coach in Wigan.

Richard Johnston, Senior Manager at Active Cumbria said, “I’m delighted to be able to offer Cumbria Talented Athlete Fund grants for the fourth year. The funding provided by Cumbria County Council and Active Cumbria really make a difference to the elite sports performers we have in Cumbria. It will hopefully help them take the next step in their sporting careers and catapult them to Olympic or Paralympic success in 2016.

The fund has been a huge success in Cumbria, we have a really good mix of athletes applying from a whole range of sports last year and we are keen to do the same again. We would love the fund to continue beyond 2013 but this would require more organisations or businesses coming forward and offering their support”.

Investment into Cumbrian sports facilities

Sport England’s Inspired facilities Olympic and Paralympic legacy funding has been felt all over Cumbria.  25 facilities in Cumbria have benefitted from 1.4 million of funding towards over £3.6 million of facility developments in the county. The fund is part of Sport England’s Places People Play Olympic and Paralympic legacy programme and all improved facilities carry the London 2012 Inspire mark – celebrating the link to the Games. Some of the investment has gone to:

  • Allerdale – Aspatria RUFC - £50k towards new floodlights
  • Barrow – Furness Academy - £150k towards a new athletics track
  • Carlisle – Carlisle RUFC - £50k towards new floodlights
  • Copeland – Copeland Borough Council - £150k towards extension of Copeland Pool
  • Eden – Greystoke Parish Council - £50k towards swimming pool improvements
  • South Lakeland – Kendal Ski Club - £50k towards an all-weather gallery

 Sport England are passionate about the value a playing field can have to a local sporting community and as part of the Olympic legacy have invested £15 million of National Lottery funding into improving community sports fields through the ‘Protecting Playing Fields’ programme. Protecting Playing Fields has funded £282k of investment into creating, developing and improving playing fields in Cumbria meaning more people are able to play sport at a good quality location. Some of the investment has gone to:

  • Wigton Cricket Club - £50k towards outfield drainage
  • Barrow Island RLFC - £50k towards playing pitch improvements
  • Whitehaven Amateurs FC - £45k towards improvements to junior pitches
  • Kirkby Lonsdale RUFC - £50k towards pitch improvements

More people in Cumbria making sport happen

Over 50,000 people have been inspired to make sport happen in their local communities because of the inspiration of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games through Sport England’s volunteer legacy programme, Sport Makers. Lord Coe has hailed the commitment of Sport Makers, for the valuable contribution they have made to dedicating hours and hours of volunteering in sport.  More than 38,000 people have logged a least 10 hours. In Cumbria 463 Sport Makers have logged over 6,000 hours of making sport happen in the county.

Sonya Foster, a Sport Maker in Barrow and avid Run Leader has logged over 200 hours of making sport happen with her local running community. Her valuable volunteering was recognized and she was named North West’s Sport Maker of the Year in 2012. Sonya is a fantastic example of the legacy in action and how her inspiration from the Games now means more people in Barrow are taking part in sport.

More community events have been supported

The Community Games programme has provided support, resources and funding to events across the country thanks to Lottery funding provided to the Legacy Trust fund. The Community Games programme has been a resounding success in Cumbria with over 70 community events registered and supported.  More than £9,100 in grants have been awarded to help community events thrive post 2012 and to continue the Olympic spirit. More than 750 volunteers make these events happen and reach over 10,230 participants. Minister for civil society Nick Hurd said:

"The 2012 Games showed people what is possible when they come together and get involved.

A strong country is built on solid communities, which is why we have awarded Community Games support through the Social Action Fund, helping more people improve where they live and discover what a rewarding experience volunteering is."

Just last month the Community Games programme wanted to highlight the great work that individuals go to in local communities to enjoy sport and cultural activities as part of the legacy’s Community Games programme. Active Cumbria, who deliver the programme locally nominated a special Community games volunteer and as part of the Community Games relay reliving the 70 day Olympic Torch route to the Olympic stadium. Each day the Community Games relay ‘Shines a Light’ on inspirational volunteers in each region, Matthew Kirkby from Carlisle’s Newfield Estate was chosen to be awarded in Cumbria.

Matthew has received a commemorative jersey and has been invited to a special VIP day in London to take part in the official opening of Olympic venue The Copper Box (which played host to handball during the Games), with a ceremony taking place at Queen Elizabeth Park on July 27 mirroring the day that the torch officially arrived at Olympic Park in 2012.


One year on: #LegacyCumbria

More people in Cumbria playing sport
steady increase to 34.1% since we won the Olympic bid in 2005

More young people in Cumbria playing sport
3,807 young people 14-25 participated in legacy programme Sportivate
22,000 ongoing attendances across the county

Rejuvenated sporting competition in Cumbrian schools
4 county final events involving nearly 1500 participants in 2013 Sainsbury's School Games

Supporting future Cumbrian Olympic athletes
The Fund has supported 146 athletes
Giving out£42,000 worth of grants

Investment into Cumbrian sports facilities
25 facilities have benefitted from £1.4 million of funding
Protecting Playing Fields has funded £282k of investment

More people in Cumbria making sport happen
463 Sport Makers logged over 6,000 hrs of making local sport happen

More community events have been supported
70 community events have benefitted from more than £9,000 in grants