Another Legacy Gimmick Once again they have got us jumping through hoops. This time it is to find, ‘the most imaginative (grassroots sports) projects across London and show them to the world’. Tony Blair, we learn, ‘called for the community heroes behind London’s amazing grassroots sports projects to come forward to be celebrated’. Olympic Legacy awards are, we are told, to be doled out in order to highlight the, ‘vital role of community sport’. Now would this be the same community sport that has been chronically under-funded by the Blair/Brown government for the past 12 years? Would he be referring to the community sports projects that often survive only through the paternalistic goodwill of some local charity? Might he be thinking of those thousands of sports projects that received a one off payment from the Awards-For-All Lottery funded scheme and then left to flounder for the rest of their days in financial penury? Once again we are back to one off gimmicks that flatter only to deceive. What London and indeed the entire United Kingdom desperately needs is a coordinated, long term, comprehensive grassroots funding scheme that provides financial stability so that the army of grassroots volunteers can get on with what they do best; coaching youngsters into sport rather than getting bogged down endlessly juggling the accounts. As for the concept of granting awards to the best projects or project organisers, I find this highly subjective and quite divisive. Who is to say which is the most important piece in a jigsaw? Clearly every piece is equally important. A large well funded, high profile club is not necessarily the one with the greatest input into the ill-defined world of social inclusion. And how do you measure these things anyway? Social cohesion by its very nature is a complex tapestry. Why attempt to award one project over another. Recognise the importance of social cohesion and promote all those who work in the area by creating a sustainable financial structure. Interesting to note that once a short list of five sporting heroes has been magically conjured up, the Evening Standard readers get to vote, X Factor style, for the winning entrant. So with London awash with disaffected youth finding solace in gang culture, all our beloved leaders can come up with is a celebrity style award for the person or project with the greatest wow factor. Thanks but no thanks! End JPK 29/05/09              

Last Updated ( Monday, 29 October 2012 12:24 )