» 17.10.2012   |  

Devon Olympian backs Local 2012 Legacy

Cllr Jerry Brook announces Devon 2012 Legacy
Devon County Council has today confirmed its commitment to making the most of this summer’s Olympic and Paralympic Games by pledging £310,000 to a 2012 Legacy plan for grassroots sport in the county. The announcement was made at a joint launch event with the County Sports Partnership, Active Devon, with whom the Council will be joining forces to implement the plan.

East Devon Olympian and Team GB Athlete Jo Pavey said “It’s always good to see investment in grassroots sport and in this instance, utilising the excitement and focus of London 2012 to create a lasting legacy for the people of Devon.  I am really excited about today’s announcement which will benefit so many people across our County and enable them to get involved in sport in whatever role they choose and at their own level.”

In the announcement Councillor Roger Croad, Cabinet Member for Environmental and Community Services acknowledged the significant contribution that physical activity can make to the health and wellbeing of people and communities.

Cllr Croad said “We know the powerful influence which sport can have in people’s lives and the positive contribution it can make to local communities. The benefits of people choosing active lifestyles are not confined to physical and mental wellbeing but extend to much wider social and community benefits. London 2012 brought the whole country together and, working with Active Devon, we now have a golden opportunity to bring the legacy to life in Devon.”

Active Devon Chief Executive Matt Evans added “We are delighted by Devon County Council’s announcement today which represents really good news for grassroots sport in Devon. It will put investment in place until at least 2015 and enable us to help more communities to deliver sports activities. 

“We will use approaches like those we have developed in the successful Active Villages programme to help communities to help themselves. We will extend the development of sporting opportunities for disabled people and support delivery of events for young people. And really importantly we will help to train and develop the volunteers who are so crucial to sport in our communities.”

In the last two years, the Active Villages programme has reached 85 parish communities offering nearly 8000 Devonians activities in 35 different sports. As the Torch Relay made its way through the county Active Devon was instrumental in bringing local bodies together to embark on the Devon School Games Festival programme which has already seen 5,500 young people taking part, 500 as volunteers. And by the time the closing ceremony of the Paralympics took place over 430 local volunteers had been trained as coaches through a successful coach bursary programme.  These are just a few examples of work Active Devon is involved in locally to not only provide opportunities for people to take part in sport but to build the capacity to deliver them.

The Autumn Ability Games in Barnstaple, part of the Devon School Games, was chosen as a fitting event at which to launch the Legacy Plan as more than 200 young disabled people were competing on the day in a Paralympic-style celebration of sport.  The launch event also included a celebration to pay tribute to Devon’s athletes, event volunteers and officials and acknowledge the contribution they all made to this year’s Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Devon County Council Chairman Councillor Jerry Brook honoured the contribution they had made to the Games and spoke of Devon’s civic pride in their achievements.

He said: “It has been tremendous to celebrate the achievements of our Olympians and Paralympians and alongside that to also recognise our unpaid heroes of sport – the volunteers and officials who all helped create a truly memorable Games.  Whilst in London the Olympic Park is being handed over for use by the community there, we truly believe that today marks a handing over of the baton as we strive to build a local legacy in Devon.”

Torch Bearer and Games Maker 20 year old Charlotte Broadhead was also present at the ceremony and said “I have been supported over the years to develop my skills as a young volunteer and coach and was delighted to be nominated as a Torch Bearer for my achievements. It gave me the self-confidence to go on to be a Games Maker. Having the resources in place to help train and develop sports coaches and volunteers is integral to creating a lasting and sustainable legacy”.

London 2012 Gymnastics equipment used by Team GB during the Games provided the backdrop to the announcement.  Forward thinking Falcons Gymnastics Academy Coach Mike Beagley, negotiated a deal for £50,000 worth of the Olympic Park equipment as soon as Gymnova was announced as official Gymnastics Equipment Supplier.  The Falcons Community Sports Centre played host to the announcement and entertained guests with a display of the equipment in use.

Barnstaple County Councillor Brian Greenslade said:  “This is splendid news and achieves just what we were hoping for a positive spin off from the Olympic Games. 

“When the Olympic torch came through North Devon we built a lot of activities around this once-in-a-lifetime event to capture the moment for the community. I have also been very involved with getting a sizeable contribution from the sale proceeds of Exeter Airport to help the Falcons Gym Club relocate. Now this Olympic legacy will further enhance the status and contribution Falcons makes to our community."