Sports clubs are getting ready for London rush

Hundreds of Notts sports clubs and associations are being primed to prepare to manage the expected rush of enthusiasm for sport following London 2012.

The infamous ‘Sean Kerly effect’ saw thousands of young people clamouring to take up hockey in the wake of GB’s 1988 Seoul Olympics triumph – but many clubs and associations across the UK did not have the infrastructure or investment to deal with the unprecedented interest.

Nottinghamshire County Council is producing an Olympics toolkit with some key hints and guidance for clubs and associations to follow to manage the sporting legacy of London 2012.

Around 400 clubs and associations are being invited to two key events in January to find out more about the toolkit which includes key information about funding streams, maximising Olympics initiatives such as Sport Makers volunteering, the Torch Relay, The Gold Challenge and Sportivate, plus information on key contacts and support available.

The events are at:

l North Notts-based clubs – 25th January, John Fretwell Sports Centre, from 6.30pm to 9pm.

l South Notts-based clubs – 30th January, Nottingham Racecourse, from 6.30pm to 9pm.

The toolkit was highlighted to sports development officers and sports association representatives at the Nottinghamshire: 2012 and Beyond seminar held at Sport Nottinghamshire, and funded by Sport England.

Anna Quick, sports development officer (clubs and organisations), from Nottinghamshire County Council, announced the toolkit at the seminar and will play a key role in helping to ensure county clubs are ready for an onslaught of interest in different sports next summer and beyond.

She said: “No-one can second guess which particular sports will capture the imagination of the public in Nottinghamshire.

“The ‘Sean Kerly effect’ is a well documented example of sporting enthusiasm and more recently, we have had the heroics of Mansfield’s Rebecca Adlington in the 2008 Olympics.

“It is not necessarily limited to a GB sporting success either – if someone like Usain Bolt, for example, has some dazzling performances, the interest in track athletics could also peak here in Nottinghamshire.

“The aim of the toolkit, and these events in January is to start 2012 on the right track by signposting the support and advice available to help all of our clubs and associations to manage Olympics and Paralympics fever and beyond.”

Simon Starr, director of Nottinghamshire Sport, was delighted with the recent seminar which attracted more than 80 people involved in delivering sport in the county.

He said: “The Olympics are the greatest show on Earth.

“Nottinghamshire County Council is a key partner in helping spread the message and supporting clubs to prepare for the potential impact and enthusiasm of the Olympics next year.

“So it is great to have the council and other local authorities on board and to be working with the National Governing Bodies of Sport.”

The initiative has been warmly welcomed by England Athletics, the governing body which manages the delivery of athletics in Nottinghamshire and has a large number of members in the county.

Chris Mallender, Area Team Leader for England Athletics for the East and West Midlands and the South West, said: “I am impressed by the forward thinking approach being taken in Nottinghamshire to prepare clubs and associations for London 2012.”

“It is vital clubs are ready, not only to welcome new members, but also to continue to support existing members, maintain and improve the standard of what they have, and become even more professional in the running of their clubs. Focussing on whole club development is vital if clubs are going to be in a position to increase membership, recruit and develop volunteers and coaches, and drive up standards in performance.”

The toolkit will be launched in January and will be available on the Nottinghamshire County Council website: www.nottscc.gov.uk or the Sport Nottinghamshire partnership website: www.sportnottinghamshire.co.uk.