I was fortunate enough to be invited along to a community project celebrating the opening of the Olympics on Friday 27th July at Carsington Water in Derbyshire by one of their project managers Emma Beswick; Emma alongside her colleague Katy Stubbs organised the event aimed at reaching out to the local community with taster sessions in a variety of sports. Over 600 people registered but it is thought that over 1000 people attended the event and were treated to all sorts of sporting activities which were open to young and old to join in; such as archery, fun run, golf, football and cycling to name a few being provided by local businesses.
On discussing the project with Emma Beswick, Sports Development Officer for the High Peak – she explained that planning the event was fairly complex and the real challenge was to ensure numbers attending on the day were at a high level and health and safety was adhered to stringently. The Village Games team have sports officers in each borough who are responsible for bringing sport to the forefront in their geographical locations (60 villages) – aimed at getting locals involved in fitness based activities. Funded by a number of organisations the initiative runs until 2013 – due to its continued success the team are hoping to secure future funding to keep running beyond 2013.
On arriving at the make shift arena I was pleasantly surprised by the professionalism of the organisers and event; with each taster area clearly marked out and queues of enthusiastic contenders awaiting their turn. The event really did cater for all tastes and included face painting and arts and craft areas to add further fun to the occasion. There were bouncy castles and sumo suits for the children to go into competition in the ring which was great fun both for those competing and those watching. Medals were awarded for many events and it was quite clear that the majority of those in attendance had set aside the day to sit in the sun and join in the activities.
Community projects such as these are a fantastic initiative and really bring home the need for future events and further funding – encouraging families to spend quality time together and encouraging sports; making sports fun and accessible to all. Clearly the project managers for such events have a good knowledge in sports but also a strong awareness of structured project delivery – realising benefits from the outset and complex planning being key to their success. 7
Further photos of the day can be found here.
For further information on Village games you can visit their website here and feel free to contact Emma Beswick on 07909 443 043 email@example.com for advice on executing such projects. You can also follow Emma and her community project work on twitter: @villagegames_hp