Lord Sebastian Coe has welcomed news that Nottinghamshire County Council is poised to become the first local authority in the UK to respond to his London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic legacy plea – with compelling investment plans to help produce future sports stars and secure future Ashes Tests in the county.
It is anticipated councillors will announce their intention to launch a £1m Olympic and Paralympic Legacy Fund to support sports development across Nottinghamshire at a special invitation-only reception tonight involving county cricketers including Captain Chris Read and local stars of Team GB, whose success has contributed to a recent thirst for sporting participation across the county.
There are further plans to propose separate funding of £900,000 to Nottinghamshire County Cricket Club to part fund a new scoreboard and replay screen – to guarantee £30m of economic benefit to the county and ensure Trent Bridge hosts two Ashes tests over the next four years.
Seb Coe, Chair, London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, said: “After an amazing summer of sport that inspired people across the UK we must now harness that interest and enthusiasm. This work, commitment and investment by Nottinghamshire County Council is a fantastic example of how a legacy for London 2012 can be created at a local level.”
The £1m Olympic and Paralympic Legacy pot would feature two streams of funding – Kick Start grants of £500-£10,000 and Game Changer grants of £10,000 to £50,000 to help local sports organisations promote sport and nurture talent to find the sports stars of the future.
Nottinghamshire County Cricket Club has also pledged to work with the county council to deliver an exciting youth work scheme for young people in the county, which will tackle social exclusion and youth crime.
The plans – which will be discussed by the county council’s Policy Committee on October 17 –are set to be announced in more detail at the invitation-only Sporting Legacy reception which starts tonight at 6.30pm at Trent Bridge.
The likes of Nottinghamshire County Council-funded athletes Sam Oldham, Richard Whitehead, Ollie Hynd and Sophie Wells – who inspired the world at London 2012 – will also have their achievements recognised and celebrated at the reception.
Coun John Cottee, Culture Committee Chairman at Nottinghamshire County Council said: “As a county council, we have listened and responded to Lord Coe’s plea for the nation to capitalise on an unforgettable summer of sport and we believe that the announcements we are making tonight can have a lasting legacy for a golden future of sport in Nottinghamshire.”
Triple Paralympic medalist Ollie Hynd, who clinched gold, silver and bronze at London 2012, and received Shining Stars funding worth £2,012 for training and travel purposes this year from Nottinghamshire County Council, said: "It is fantastic news that Nottinghamshire County Council is announcing this major Olympic and Paralympic Legacy Fund and has taken the initiative so soon after the conclusion of London 2012 to build on this summer's success.
"I have benefited directly from financial support in the past from the county council through its Shining Stars fund. Grants such as this are vital to help athletes be able to concentrate on their sport and I am confident that this money can help find the sports stars of tomorrow."
Nottinghamshire County Cricket Club Chief Executive Lisa Pursehouse said: “We are delighted that Nottinghamshire County Council has recognised the benefits that Ashes Tests will bring to our county in 2013 and 2015 and applaud their vision for harnessing the power of sport to boost the regional economy.
"This funding package will strengthen our partnership for the benefit of local communities and we are especially pleased to be in a position to extend our Positive Futures programme which has already engaged so many young people at risk of social exclusion."
Olympic and Paralympic Legacy:
In terms of the legacy, there are an estimated 1,500 sports clubs within Nottinghamshire with membership numbers ranging from 20 to 1,500 across a wide range of sports. Around 600 clubs are currently registered on the County Council’s sports club database and have contributed to research conducted by the council about sporting investment needs.
Nottinghamshire County Council Leader Coun Kay Cutts said: “We are delighted to be able to offer this funding opportunity following London 2012. This is particularly good news for young people in the county – investment in sport is not only good for fitness and health, but is vital to help build confidence, self esteem and personal development at such an important time for them.”
Coun Cottee added: “Community based sports clubs play a crucial role in providing positive and health promoting activities for their members, many of whom are children and young people.
“Our findings found some compelling evidence that funding is much needed. Our proposal responds to the legacy challenge created by the 2012 Games, and would help to maintain the momentum of increased sports participation that has been generated by them.
“The scheme will be designed to support local sports clubs to retain and grow membership and will focus on supporting clubs to buy much needed equipment and/or to support small/medium sized capital facility improvements.”
Nottinghamshire County Cricket Club:
Nottinghamshire County Council and other local authorities have previously provided loans to help support the development of the cricket club and in 2011, the county council backed a bid to the ECB (England Cricket Board) to host a package of eight international cricket matches at Trent Bridge for 2013-2016.
It was a successful bid – the most prestigious awarded outside of London – with Trent Bridge, The Oval and Lords set to be the only three venues to host two Ashes Tests in that time period. The award is subject to the club building a new £1.8m electronic scoreboard and replay screen in time for the 2013 Ashes Test.
The county council proposes to fund half that amount, and Coun Cottee said: “It is estimated this package of international cricket matches will deliver over £30m of economic benefit to Nottinghamshire between 2013-2016.
“Securing the status of Trent Bridge as a premier international and world famous cricket ground will help to maintain and enhance the national and international reputation of Nottinghamshire, and enable Nottinghamshire to build upon its considerable sporting legacy in the light of London 2012.”
The cricket club plans to introduce a three-year, fully funded, "Positive Futures" social inclusion programme in Hawtonville, Newark worth £270,000 over three years, modelled on the successful Cotgrave Positive Futures programme, which has tackled youth crime and social exclusion in the last four years, and other ways to promote the Positive Futures community scheme across the county.