On November 27 2014, The Sport Wales Advisory Group published the “Active Today for an Active Tomorrow” report. The Advisory Group, 14 professionals from the health, communications, education, leisure and commerce industries, outlined plans for the future of Welsh Sport, focusing on 2026 as a key date – the Welsh Government may bid to host the Commonwealth Games in the second half of the next decade, the report suggests. In the 53-page document, much is said. Most simply, the report predicts four potential futures for sport in Wales:
1) “Talk the Walk” In this future, the people of Wales are passive to proactive government policy. Government policy is “perfect” and sporting opportunities are plentiful. In this scenario, busy lifestyles prevent Welsh citizens from exercising. 2) “Sportopia” An ideal future. Dubbed the “holy grail for sports providers” this is a Wales where sport and exercise is loved by and all avenues are open to Welsh citizens. “Sportopia” means sport for all, where age-neutral activities are common. An effort will also be made to maintain or increase participation among current players. By showcasing the ability of specific sports, promoting the complementary role that sport plays alongside diet and nutrition, and by showing the power of social interaction and community spirit in sport, the Advisory Group believes this future can become a reality by 2026. 3) “Couch Culture” Like “Talk the Walk” Welsh people are not interested in sport and exercise. Hectic schedules, a lack of finances and competition from other leisure activities put sport and exercise down the pecking order. Government policy has no clear strategy and is not powerful enough to overturn the apathy of Welsh people. 4) “Against the Odds” In this situation, the Welsh population are active, despite very little support from public policy. In the world of “Against the Odds”, the Welsh government fails to support those who find it difficult to participate in sport. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7q3JltlK5UM Conway Davies: Ageing but Ageless society in action. In a blog post, co-author of the report Kerry Ann Sheppard said: “I want to help create a Wales that moves more and is happier and healthier. A Wales where we move every day because we want to – it’s the norm and we like it.” “So how do we make this a reality in Wales? There are two fundamental principles; policy empowers people and people have the mind-set to move.” Each year, Sport Wales distributes tens of thousands of pounds to grass-roots sports sides through Community Chest grants. In 2014, £75,024 was given to 66 different teams in Cardiff.
Twenty football clubs, five netball teams and one canoeing side, among others, were recipients of the grant this year. The amount given to each sport also varied.
Overall, football received the largest total of £18, 964. But proportionately, which sports in Cardiff gained the highest average grant?
With a large number of donations being made across a range of sports this year, Cardiff teams are complimentary of the Community Chest scheme. Andrew Blower, player/coach of Cardiff Dragons Dodgeball, said: “It [the Community Chest] has been fantastic for us. As dodgeball is a sport not many have played before, being able to subsidise a free trial session for people really helps our recruitment.” “The fact we were able to secure a long term venue when starting helped massively. As did the ability to buy custom dodgeballs for the club. We would be nowhere near where we are now without the funding.”
A club development co-ordinator for Sport Cardiff said: “The grants are for setting up new initiatives or making improvements or additions to existing provision. The grant can be for things such as equipment, coaching courses and first aid courses. We believe the scheme will help Cardiff to become a more active city in the future where most people play sport.” While many Cardiff-based teams are happy with the funding opportunities available, one community are not. Some bowlers have reacted angrily to council plans to increase green maintenance fees to £6,300 per club in 2015.
In a joint letter to the South Wales Echo, The ladies of Fairwater Bowls Club said: “We do not understand how Cardiff council can be so smug as to give so much support to the World Short Mat Bowls Championship when they are making it so difficult for the elderly citizens of their own city to take part in the traditional game of lawn bowls. “It would appear that our council is only interested in high profile events. City of Sport? Rubbish! City of discrimination? Yes!” To see a collection of Cardiff Bowls players letters featured in the South Wales Echo, click here. Mark Krawiekci, who is the 2014 men’s singles champion at Pentyrch Bowls Club, said: “Bowls in Cardiff is generally in decline but council policy seems to be close behind, or at least makes it difficult for council-based teams to keep going – which is at great odds with the Sport Wales philosophy.”
Development director for Welsh Bowls, John Price, said: “Cardiff bowls clubs are in talks with the council to find a solution, and there is no current dispute. It is an emotional topic. With councils cutting back all over Wales, it is not just bowls clubs that are facing funding cuts.” Mickey “Griff” Griffiths presents “Griff’s Locker Room”- a Radio Cardiff show dedicated to the city’s sports sides. He has been the show’s host since March 2014 and is embedded within Cardiff’s sports network. While “Griff” points out that there could be at least two government changes between now and 2026, causing great uncertainty, he predicts the future of Cardiff sport will go one way – ceteris paribus. He said: “The way it is at the moment, I think it has to be “Couch Culture”. A lot of the mind-set today in the city is work-place based. When you’re young you’re encouraged to play sport but when you’re older you stop participating in active sport – you may go to a gym instead.” “I think there should be a push for work-place sports teams and that peer pressure aspect would help combat the “Couch Culture” we currently have in Cardiff.”
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