Governing bodies prepared for participation boost

Published on Tuesday, 14 August 2012 16:03
Posted by Scott Buckler

Despite concerns about a lack of investment in grassroots sport, sports governing bodies are well-prepared for a post-Olympic games boost in participation, according to their umbrella body, the Sport and Recreation Alliance

The 'Wimbledon effect', as the phenomenon has become known, is expected by a number of sports following high profile successes at the London Games. And whilst some new recruits may ultimately find that their chosen sport is not for them, governing bodies have been putting in place plans to retain as many of the new participants as possible.

The sports sector is urging members of the public to act on impulse, with clubs and governing bodies ready to welcome people who want to try a sport out for the first time.

"We're calling on people to pick up their phones, explore websites and book taster sessions at clubs while the inspiration is still fresh in their minds"

Schemes like the British Canoe Union's Go Canoeing are aimed at new participants and those returning to the sport after an absence and signpost potential paddlers to places where they can get in a canoe, receive training or find new trails.

British Gymnastics is another organisation leading the charge to harness the power behind its medal success. Its I am BG campaign aims to direct supporters, clubs and members into activities which will cement their relationship with the governing body.

Andy Reed OBE, chair of the Sport and Recreation Alliance, believes that governing bodies are well-placed to make the most from the inspiration which the Games can deliver.

"A lot of the talk at governing body level before the Games has been about a lack of new funds for the legacy of participation which organisers promised from the Olympics. But instead of waiting for things to happen, many NGBs have spent the last few years hatching their own plans to deliver big participation increases from London 2012.

"Now it's games-time, a lot of those plans are well into execution phase and ready to hoover up new participants. We're calling on people to pick up their phones, explore websites and book taster sessions at clubs while the inspiration is still fresh in their minds. This really is a case of 'there's no time like the present'!

"The danger is that the moment of inspiration passes in a flash and the feeling that people have to try something new disappears before they get a chance to do something about it. So sports have been working to make things as easy as possible for people when that moment comes to find a place or a person where they can find out more.

"No games has ever delivered a legacy of sustained participation before - in fact no major sporting event has. So governing bodies have taken matters into their own hands to make sure that they can take advantage of 'the Olympic bounce'.

"We're already hearing stories about clubs and websites fielding huge increases in inquiries and thanks to the foresight of the governing bodies who are also delivering inspiration through elite athlete success, those calls at community club level are being answered too."

Source: ©SRA

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