Dr Gordon Mellor of the University of Bedfordshire came in to the Library yesterday morning to talk about the work of his newly formed Department of Physical Education and Sport Studies. Over coffee we had a good chat about the ways in which the hoped-for legacy of enhanced sports participation in the wake of the London Olympics could be brought about. Clearly, there have to be many different approaches to the question of how to engage the diverse communities in the UK for there to be any chance of real success, and the experience of the London 2012 games is not enough on its own to make things happen, though it may well create an environment in which practical ideas can be addressed. There are already lots of local initiatives throughout the country which have been attempting to foster sports participation in their areas and it would be good to hear about some of these and find out about the lessons learned and what common denominators there are – if any. From the HE perspective, Bedfordshire’s Sport and Community Leadership BA Honours programme is an interesting attempt to address the issue by providing both an academic framework and practical experience for those wishing to pursue a career of this sort. Based on areas of study such as community and society; sport leadership and community cohesion; sport equity and sustainability, the course aims to turn out graduates with skills in developing active lifestyles at community level - particularly among disabled people, the elderly and those ethnic minority groups who have been resistant to messages about sports participation in the past.
On the Olympics website, we have a discussion about grass roots participation and government policy on community sport, accompanied by a bibliography of British Library resources http://www.bl.uk/sportandsociety/legacy/articles/grassroots.html
(© 2010 The British Library)
The picture above is part of the BL’s Evanion Collection and shows what purports to be a facility for local sporting activity in 1881, though there seem to be rather more spectators than participants! You can click on it to open a larger window in Images Online on the BL website.