Edition number 7; dateline 30 November 2007
Sport England loses Mapp for road ahead
Rumours that the culture secretary James Purnell was at loggerheads with Derek Mapp over a new focus for Sport England were proved to be well founded when Mr Mapp handed in his resignation as chairman of Sport England. The 28 November must have been a busy day for all concerned. The minister delivered a speech to the school and sports partnerships conference, explaining how his department was going to create a world-class sporting nation. “That means three things: a world class school sport system, a world-class community sports system and a world-class elite sport system,” he said. “I like to think of it as a pyramid with school sport as the first part of that.” He then suggested that Sport England should have “a clear focus on sport development and sports participation”, announcing a review of the agency’s strategy. The aim would be to “focus the delivery of an excellent sporting infrastructure from the grass roots up. That means creating excellent national governing bodies, clubs, coaches and volunteers, supported by the investment we've already made in facilities.” However, the day also included what has been reported as “a heated exchange” between Mapp and the secretary of state regarding the detail. It seems that plans to refocus Sport England on performance rather than participation, with participation moving to become a health issue, drove the final nail into the coffin of Mapp’s fourteen-month stint in the chair. Mapp is reported to have commented: “Sport England will be in restructuring mode for another two years now, and while it’s doing that it’s not helping anyone.”
An improvement on hundreds and thousands
CABE, the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment, will be spending £15m a year for next three years at the seaside. The spending will be targeting run-down resorts and will seek to stimulate regeneration projects involving public and private sector investment. Announcing the scheme, Richard Simmons, CABE chief executive, commented, “This is a chance for British seaside resorts to recapture the flair and importance they held in the Victorian age. There are already some wonderful examples of good design and cultural investment breathing life back into our coastal towns - just think of Heatherwick's East Beach Cafe in Littlehampton, or Cleveleys in Lancashire where even coastal protection defences can be made beautiful enough to attract more visitors.”
Coaching: let’s have some
As readers of November’s World of Leisure elsewhere in this issue will know, Cabinet Office minister Ed Milliband recently came out in favour of the role of coaches in achieving effective participation and improved performance. Speaking to the public administration select committee, he suggested that ministers should be trained for their roles. “Training is important,” he said. “It’s easy for people to be contemptuous of the notion of coaches and training. I think ministers are probably undertrained.” His view was supported by former Labour minister Nick Raynsford, although Mr Raynsford did take issue with some aspects of Mr Milliband’s expressed views: “The only difference I would take with his description is his use of the three letters ‘der’ in ‘undertrained’.”
Simple science: just add cash
It’s not all bad news from Westminster, particularly if you happen to be the Science Museum. The Prime Minister popped along the District Line to South Kensington where he was able to announce a £13m capital allocation to be made over the next three years. The funding will be used to help create new galleries in London and also at the National Media Museum in Bradford and at the National Railway Museum in York, all of which come under the wing of the Science Museum. The capital funding comes on top of an inflation-proof for the museum’s core work, which will allow the museum to remain a charge-free zone for the duration.
Clissold scheduled for opening in December
One of the most notorious leisure facility projects of recent years will come to fruition on 15 December when the London Borough of Hackney finally reopens the Clissold Leisure Centre to the public. The centre has closed for four years while extensive remedial work was undertaken to the fabric of the building. Hackney is now hoping that after spending £13m on repairs and remodelling on top of the £32m cost of the original project it can draw a line under a story that has added the phrase “doing a Clissold” to the leisure lexicon. GLL are managing the facility and have been extensively involved with the process of getting the centre fit for purpose.
Licence amendments: make your pint
The DCMS is inviting responses to its consultation on amendments to the licensing regulations that were controversially overhauled a little while ago under the 2003 Licensing Act. Proposals allowing licences to be amended without charge if the amendments represent only slight changes to the business. Any amendments currently incur variation costs that can run to several hundred pounds for each change. If the changes are made following the consultation, local authorities will have the ability to decide what constitutes a minor change and charge accordingly. A survey of local authorities conducted by the DCMS shows that as of 31 March 2007 there were 176,400 licensed premises in England and Wales including 15,100 private members clubs. The consultation document can be found on the DCMS website at www.culture.gov.uk
Former board member of ILAM Scotland, Tim Dent, has left his post at consultants PMP to set up his own business. Given that he will be working in the fields of sport and leisure, calling the new company 'The Sport and Leisure Consultancy' seems like an obvious first step. Elizabeth Hammill, the American co-founder of Seven Stories, the national centre for children's books in Newcastle upon Tyne, has been presented with an honorary OBE. Brian Newman will be departing Sydney Olympic Park on 7 December following six years as CEO in the post-Olympic period. Recent tales from the riverbank include news of Briony Hibbin, stalwart of the ILAM events team before she took on the ultimately thankless task of PAing a series of ISPAL chief execs, being escorted from the building for the last time. All at The Leisure Review wish her well in pastures new.
News in brief
Staccato reports from the cultural typeface
UNVEILINGS ONE: Thomas Schutte’s sculpture, Model for a Hotel (above), is now installed on the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square, replacing Alison Lapper Pregnant, which graced the cover of The Leisure Review earlier this year. So impressive is the piece that the spire of St Martin's adopted a sympathetic scaffolding motif in homage.
UNVEILINGS TWO: A good service has now been restored at The London Transport Museum (pictured below) after being closed for a couple of years for refurbishment. It keeps bus and train aficionados happy but the real draw is the display of London Transport's (as it now isn't) archive of graphic design. It's must for all fans of maps and typefaces, plus you can buy items of furniture upholstered in the distinctive materials that used to grace the carriages in the Tube not so long ago.